Arizona Cardinals. Last season head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who loves to play with four wide receivers, learned that in the NFL, you need at least one, and preferably two, quality tight ends. In Arizona’s case, those quality options must factor as run-blockers, too, since the ground game was largely why Kingsbury eventually eschewed some of his four-receiver sets in favor of more traditional personnel packages. And considering that DeAndre Hopkins and especially Larry Fitzgerald so often operate near the middle of the field, the Cardinals don’t necessarily need a versatile stud tight end. A serviceable receiver with sharp blocking tools (like what the Ravens have in Nick Boyle, for example) could do the trick. Incumbent tight end Maxx Williams is really more of a No. 2.
More important than rounding out the offense is improving a defense that last season gave up the most yards in the league. The quickest fix for a defense is almost always to add pass rushers. The Cardinals already have a great one in Chandler Jones, and they added a good one in free agent defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. But after that, things drop off. Getting the right pass rusher will require an early-round pick, but one route the Cards may want to consider is drafting a mid-round linebacker and moving incumbent backup linebacker Haason Reddick into a full-time pass-rushing role. Reddick played off the edge at Temple and has struggled with play recognition as an NFL linebacker, especially against the run.
Another fast way to improve the defense is to add either a versatile safety or a pure man-to-man corner. Both methods create more options for coverage disguises and blitz packages. Arizona has space available here, too, as Jalen Thompson should be challenged for his starting job, as should nickel corner Robert Alford, who showed hints of decline in 2018 with the Falcons and missed all of 2019 with a fractured tibia.
Top-100 Targets (Arizona owns picks 8 and 72): If there’s a scenario where Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah or Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons falls to 8 (due to three QBs and three OTs going in the top seven), that would be ideal. Otherwise they’ll likely have to reach for a speed rusher like LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson (who might be a force down the line but enters the league quite raw). When they come up again in Round 3, the defensive backs should be enticing. One of the Utah safeties—raw but rangy Julian Blackmon and polished, versatile Terrell Burgess—could upgrade the secondary. Undersized CB Javaris Davis of Auburn, who can play inside and possibly the boundary, could be on the board. If they prefer a big corner to complement Byron Murphy long-term, Cameron Dantzler of Mississippi State and Florida State’s Stanford Samuels would fit.
Los Angeles Rams. The Rams’ approach to roster-building is very NBA-like. They allocate huge dollars for superstars at the top and then fill in the rest. It has mostly worked out well, but the challenge with the model is it’s difficult to keep second-level stars like linebacker Cory Littleton, defensive lineman Michael Brockers, edge man Dante Fowler and slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman—all of whom got away in free agency. (Update: Actually Brockers is back.) The Rams also said goodbye to veterans Eric Weddle (retired) and Clay Matthews (released). And poof, just like that, most of their defense has changed.
Free agent signings A’Shawn Robinson and Leonard Floyd can at least fill the gaps of Brockers and Fowler. Littleton’s replacement is also, theoretically, on the roster (athletic ex-Raven Kenny Young, acquired in last season’s Marcus Peters trade), but considering Young didn’t get on the field defensively for the 2019 Rams, GM Les Snead will certainly want to find more options at this position. Linebackers are critical in new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley’s scheme, which is built on subtly disguised matchup zone concepts. Safety is another important position, which is why it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams snag one early and stay committed to playing with three safeties and one linebacker like they did under Wade Phillips. Last year’s second-round pick, safety Taylor Rapp, showed very encouraging flashes when aligned as a dime linebacker. If the Rams do go safety, ideally it’d be a rangy centerfielder since strong safety John Johnson is at his best when used as a versatile piece near the box.
It’s almost a given that L.A.’s draft capital will be spent predominantly on defense. It’ll be interesting to see how much (if any) goes into the offense. The team’s biggest problem last season was the inconsistency along the interior O-line. However, the Rams added left guard Austin Corbett midseason and might have reason for optimism in center Brian Allen, who was starting to turn a corner before tearing his MCL in Week 10. And with right tackle Rob Havenstein back, the Rams now have a utility piece in 2019 third-rounder Bobby Evans, who had some bright moments filling in. Given that the Rams can be optimistic about their O-line bouncing back, and given that most of their skill position players are set, it’s possible they could spend all of their draft picks this year on defense. The only thing that could prevent that is wide receiver Cooper Kupp is scheduled for free agency in 2021. Knowing they likely can’t afford him, Robert Woods AND Brandin Cooks, the Rams may want to tap into this year’s deep receiver draft class.
Top-100 Targets (Rams own picks 52, 84 and 104): Sitting outside the top 50, they’ll have trouble finding surefire contributors for 2020. Oregon’s Troy Dye and Colorado’s Davion Taylor are the best coverage linebackers among the second tier at that position, but both have shortcomings as run defenders. The safety class is interesting; California’s Ashtyn Davis and Utah’s Julian Blackmon are both rangy and have potential as centerfielders, but can you trust either on the back end as a rookie? (And will Davis even escape the top 50?)
San Francisco 49ers. When you reach the Super Bowl, your “needs” are usually more about handling logistics than correcting prior weaknesses. For example, the Niners need a guard because their 2019 starter, Mike Person, was released. Tom Compton was signed to fill that void but a more talented prospect to challenge for the job—or at least develop behind Compton—would be appropriate. They also need a wide receiver since successful rental starter Emmanuel Sanders is now in New Orleans. (Recent pickup Travis Benjamin is a “20 snaps a game” speed specialist type.) Kyle Shanahan values wideouts who have the change-of-direction quickness to run routes precisely and to separate.
On defense, the loss of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner is obviously significant, and Buckner’s dark horse replacement candidate, 2018 seventh-round pick Jullian Taylor, is coming off a late December ACL tear. Even if Taylor is back by September, it’s unreasonable to assume he will automatically play with the same outstanding leverage and short-area quickness that he showed in 2019. With unheralded nose shade tackle D.J. Jones also in a contract year, the Niners might invest multiple picks at defensive tackle.
Other players in contract years include cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K’Waun Williams and Emmanuel Moseley (RFA in 2021), as well as strong safety Jaquiski Tartt. Or, to put it more succinctly: the secondary. Re-signing versatile DB Jimmie Ward was very wise; the next move is finding young guys for Ward to play with in the coming years. San Francisco’s secondary aligns in a lot of subtly blurry looks, but once the ball is snapped, the scheme is pretty straightforward. That’s because the Niners want to play fast. Whoever they draft in the early rounds will almost certainly have above average speed.
Top-100 Targets (San Francisco owns picks 13 and 31): Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy is a perfect schematic fit, though they can’t go wrong with Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb at 13, with LSU’s Justin Jefferson a solid option if the top two are gone. They’re a prime candidate to trade down with one of their first-round picks considering they have no selections between 31 and 156. If they stay at 31, they’ll have a good shot at a disruptive DT (TCU’s Ross Blacklock or Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike), or a long, fast cornerback (Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, Clemson’s A.J. Terrell or LSU’s Kristian Fulton).
Seattle Seahawks. Seattle’s offense has become steadier since Pete Carroll and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer firmly committed to the ground game two years ago. A run-first approach better lends itself to the downfield deep shots that Russell Wilson throws so well, and it still leaves room for Wilson to go into sandlot mode, where he’s most magical. A strong offensive line is critical for keeping this intact. Ex-Jet Brandon Shell is a decent option at right tackle but would be a No. 3 tackle on many teams. And the same sort of mantra applies to ex-Steelers guard B.J. Finney, whom the Seahawks signed for two years, $8 million ($4.5 million guaranteed). Finney will compete with 2017 second-rounder Ethan Pocic for playing time, but if the Seahawks came across a prospect they love, they should pounce—especially given that they’ve put six offensive linemen on the field more than any team in each of the last two years.
Before that, though, more firepower must be added to a pass rush that bordered on anemic at times last season. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton did a nice job camouflaging this with select pressure packages, but Seattle’s preferred style is still to play fundamentally sound zone coverage, which only works if edge rushers can disrupt the quarterback. Bruce Irvin is back after four years in Oakland/Atlanta/Carolina, but ideally you want him in a situational role. Opposite Irvin, last year’s first-round pick, L.J. Collier, is somewhat of a mystery after injuries stunted his initial development as a rookie.
Seattle must also search for a cornerback, preferably one who can play the slot, which would bring back the nickel sub-package that Norton and Carroll often eschewed in favor of playing in base 4-3 personnel. Keeping three linebackers on the field when the offense goes with three receivers all but compels a defense to play zone coverage. Zone coverage is the Seahawks’ foundation, yes, but this D in recent years has been at its best when it steadily mixes in snaps of man-to-man.
Top-100 Targets (Seattle owns picks 27, 59, 64 and 101): John Schneider, of course, trades down every year, but if they stay at 27 there’s a good chance one of the edge rushers, Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos or Iowa’s A.J. Epenesa, will be on the board. Neither is a true edge burner, but Gross-Matos is excellent on twists and stunts and Epenesa can reduce inside on passing downs. The “Seattle-style” long corners available late Day 1 and early Day 2 are Alabama’s Trevon Diggs and Virginia’s Bryce Hall (and Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene is close, with arms that fall a quarter-inch short of the 32-inch barrier). The late second round will have zone-blocking options for the offensive line, when prospects like Louisiana’s Robert Hunt, LSU’s Saahdiq Charles and Temple’s Matt Hennessy should be available.
Since I'm guessing people are getting bored with nothing going on on here, I'm going to start the Draft Review Process now so we have something to look forward to and to rant about daily while stuck in our homes. The following are the threads that I'll start each day, others are more than welcome to do there own.
2020 NFL Chatters Draft Review Posting Schedule
Apr 4: Overview of Draft Process
Apr 5: Team Needs: NFC West
Apr 6: Team Needs: NFC South
Apr 7: Team Needs: NFC North
Apr 8: Team Needs: NFC East
Apr 9: Team Needs: AFC West
Apr 10: Team Needs: AFC South
Apr 11: Team Needs: AFC North
Apr 12: Team Needs: AFC East
Apr 13: Quarterbacks
Apr 14: Running Backs
Apr 15: Tight Ends
Apr 16: Wide Receivers
Apr 17: Offensive Linemen
Apr 18: Defensive Linemen
Apr 19: Linebackers
Apr 20: Defensive Backs
Apr 21: Special Teams
Apr 22: Mock Draft
Apr 23: 1st Round of the Draft
Apr 24: 1st Round Review / 2nd and 3rd Rounds
Apr 25: 2nd / 3rd Round Reviews / 4th through 7th Rounds
Apr 26: Draft Roll Up / Team Reviews
Additional Posts without a set publishing date at this point
- Biggest Draft Busts in NFL History
- Boom or Bust for this draft
- Why NHguy Hates America (In Garbage Time)
The 2020 NFL Draft will start on the date for which it was originally scheduled. This is notable considering the coronavirus pandemic has either shut down or pushed back almost every other event on the global sports calendar.
Per usual, the NFL Draft in 2020 will start on a Thursday (April 23) in prime time and run through Saturday (April 25). For the second year in a row, ABC is an option as a TV channel on which one can watch all seven rounds of the NFL Draft. ESPN and NFL Network also will broadcast the 2020 NFL Draft in its entirety. The start time for Round 1 of the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 23 is 8 p.m. ET. The start time for Rounds 2-3 of the 2020 NFL Draft, scheduled to take place Friday, is 7 p.m. ET. The start time for Day 3 of the 2019 NFL Draft, which includes Rounds 4-7, is 12 p.m. ET.
The 2020 NFL Draft also can be streamed live on the ESPN app or the NFL app (among other streaming options) across multiple devices. In Canada, the entire 2020 NFL Draft can be streamed on DAZN.
In terms of normality, that's about it for the 2020 NFL Draft. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, but the COVID-19 outbreak forced the NFL to cancel all public events in the new home of the Raiders. Instead, teams will make their selections from remote locations after more than a month of remote scouting. In that sense, the 2020 NFL Draft will be an unprecedented event.
Below is all you need to know about the 2020 NFL Draft, including TV channels and start times for all three days, plus the order of all 255 picks, SN's latest mock draft, a big board of the top 100 prospects and more.
When is the NFL Draft in 2020?
Over the span of three days, a total of 255 NFL Draft picks will be made by 32 teams.
What time does the NFL Draft start?The start time for the 2020 NFL Draft is 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 23. That night, the entire first round of the 2020 NFL Draft will play out, but only the first round.
The start time for the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft is 7 p.m. ET on Friday. Round 3 of the NFL Draft will also play out Friday night. The start time for Saturday's coverage of the NFL Draft, which includes Rounds 4-7, is noon ET.
1ThursdayApril 238 p.m. ET
2-3FridayApril 247 p.m. ET
4-7SaturdayApril 25Noon ETIn the first round of the NFL Draft, each team gets 10 minutes to make its pick. In the second and third rounds, each team gets seven minutes to make its pick. In the fourth, fifth, sixth rounds, each team gets five minutes to make its pick. In the seventh round, each team gets four minutes to make its pick. If a team lets its time expire without making its pick, it can make a pick later, but it runs the risk of letting the next team on the clock take the player it was considering.
That process and timing means the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night will last roughly three hours. Rounds 2-3 on Friday night will last roughly four hours, and Rounds 4-7 on Saturday will last roughly six hours.
NFL Draft TV scheduleRoundDayDateStart timeTV channels
1ThursdayApril 238 p.m. ETABC, ESPN, NFL Network
2-3FridayApril 247 p.m. ETABC, ESPN, NFL Network
4-7SaturdayApril 25Noon ETABC, ESPN, NFL NetworkThe entirety of the 2020 NFL Draft will broadcast live on three different TV networks — ABC, ESPN and NFL Network. ESPN Deportes also will present a Spanish edition of ESPN’s broadcast.
Anybody with access to broadcast TV (even without cable) can watch the NFL Draft on ABC. All the major cable networks carry both ESPN (Xfinity channel 49) and NFL Network (Xfinity channel 265). The specific ESPN and NFL Network channels for Spectrum, Cox and Optimum cable customers vary based on viewing area.
How to live stream the NFL DraftNFL Draft live steams can be found on multiple platforms and can be viewed on multiple devices. As for live TV streaming services, YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV and AT&T TV Now all carry at least one of the channels broadcasting the 2020 NFL Draft. AT&T Watch TV, however, does not carry ABC, ESPN or NFL Network.
For those with connected TV devices (Xbox, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, PS4 and Roku), the NFL Draft can be streamed live with the NFL App, the ABC App or the ESPN App by authentication with participating TV providers.
Similar options are available for those who wish to live stream the NFL Draft via mobile devices and tablets — the NFL App, the NFL Network App, the ABC App and the ESPN App. On computers and laptops, a live stream of the NFL Draft will be available by authentication with participating TV providers at NFL.com/Watch, ESPN.com/Watch and ABC.go.com.
PlatformNFL Draft?Cable/satellite login needed?
Hulu + Live TVYesNo
AT&T TV NowYesNo
AT&T Watch TVNo-
Xbox (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
PS4 (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
Amazon Fire TV (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
Android TV (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
Apple TV (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
Roku (NFL/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
Mobile devices/tablets (NFL/NFLN/ABC/ESPN Apps)YesYes
Computers (NFL.com/watch, ESPN.com/Watch, ABC.go.com)YesYesIn Canada, the NFL Draft can be streamed live on DAZN, which includes NFL Network coverage and offers a free trial period for new subscribers.
NFL Draft 2020 order of picksA handful of trades involving 2020 NFL Draft picks has shaken up the order for all seven rounds, leaving teams like the Dolphins an embarrassment of riches with 14 selections (including six in the first three rounds) and teams like the Saints with only five.
There are 255 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft now that 32 compensatory picks have been added to Rounds 3-7.
First round: Pick Number / Team
1 Cincinnati Bengals
2 Washington Redskins
3 Detroit Lions
4 New York Giants
5 Miami Dolphins
6 Los Angeles Chargers
7 Carolina Panthers
8 Arizona Cardinals
9 Jacksonville Jaguars
10 Cleveland Browns
11 New York Jets
12 Las Vegas Raiders
13 San Francisco 49ers from Colts
14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15 Denver Broncos
16 Atlanta Falcons
17 Dallas Cowboys
18 Miami Dolphins from Steelers
19 Las Vegas Raiders from Bears
20 Jacksonville Jaguars from Rams
21 Philadelphia Eagles
22 Minnesota Vikings from Bills
23 New England Patriots
24 New Orleans Saints
25 Minnesota Vikings
26 Miami Dolphins from Texans
27 Seattle Seahawks
28 Baltimore Ravens
29 Tennessee Titans
30 Green Bay Packers
31 San Francisco 49ers
32 Kansas City Chiefs
Hey everyone, NHguy here. Sorry that I haven't been around to talk about the lack of sports with everyone. Work has been crazy with this stupid pandemic going on. I am an essential employee at a medical facility. I've been putting in a shitload of overtime in helping prepare the company for when things get bad and things shift to mostly video conferencing between doctors and patients. Be safe everyone, even you Dolphins and Jets fans.
The New England Patriots' team plane chartered a cargo of 1.2 million N95 masks bound for the U.S. from Shenzhen, China, this week as the country continues to work to acquire the necessary materials and equipment to help combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal detailed the complicated diplomatic negotiation required to transport the masks -- essential in the fight against the new coronavirus -- that involved the governor of Massachusetts, the U.S. State Department, China's counsel general in New York and the Patriots' Robert and Jonathan Kraft working to get the plane permission to land in China.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker believed he had brokered a deal last month to acquire more than 1 million masks from a collection of Chinese manufacturers, per The Journal. The issue then rested on how to ship the goods out of China, which is how the Patriots got involved. Patriots president Jonathan Kraft is a longtime friend of Baker's, and offered use of the team's Boeing 767, a passenger plane typically used to transport the team to NFL games.
The humanitarian mission was cleared with the condition that no member of the crew would leave the aircraft while it was grounded in China for 2 hours and 57 minutes as the cargo was loaded onto the plane before it headed back to Massachusetts.
"I've never seen so much red tape in so many ways and obstacles that we had to overcome," Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the Journal. "In today's world, those of us who are fortunate to make a difference have a significant responsibility to do so with all the assets we have available to us."
The Kraft family agreed to pay $2 million -- approximately half the cost of the goods, per the Journal -- and with the agreement of Gov. Baker, 300,000 masks were pledged to the state of New York, as well.
See guys, he wasn't getting jerked off in the massage parlor, he was coordinating for masks.
The Carolina Panthers released quarterback Cam Newton, the team's No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft, on Tuesday.
Newton, who continues to rehab from foot surgery, had a physical in Atlanta on Monday that was coordinated by the Panthers and his agency, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Newton passed the physical and is healthy, with both his shoulder and foot "checking out well," a source told Schefter. "He is hungrier than ever and eager for the next opportunity."
"Cam has meant a lot to this organization and the Carolinas," general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. "Everyone saw his performances on the field. I had the privilege of seeing how hard he worked off the field, and his commitment to this team when no one was watching. He's the ultimate competitor and it physically hurts him to lose. He willed this team to victory on many occasions and will always be considered one of the greatest players in the history of this franchise. His contributions to this team, this community and the game of football will leave a lasting impact on our organization."
His release ends the team's nine-year relationship with the 2015 NFL MVP. A week ago, the Panthers announced that they had given him permission to seek a trade. Newton disputed that, however, writing on Twitter that the Panthers "forced me into this.''
Within a few hours of that tweet, news surfaced the Panthers were completing a deal to sign former New Orleans Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million deal.
After the Panthers completed the Bridgewater deal, it became necessary for them to release Newton to clear the $21.1 million that he was scheduled to count against the salary cap in 2020.
Releasing Newton saves the team $19.1 million in cap space with only $2 million in dead money.
The Panthers also traded quarterback Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins and signed P.J. Walker out of the XFL on Monday.
Bridgewater's deal is cap-friendly, particularly on the front end. He'll count $14 million against the 2020 cap, $23 million in 2021 and $26 million in 2022. The team would take on only $5 million in dead money if Bridgewater is cut or traded in his third year.
Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey took to social media to say goodbye to Newton.
That the Panthers couldn't find any suitors for Newton, 30, is unsurprising. He had surgery in December, and teams can't bring him in for a physical or workout because the NFL has ceased such activity during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Right now, he's worth nothing until such time as people can work him out and give him a physical -- their own doctors give him a physical and then work him out,'' Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian told ESPN. "It's unfortunate. He's got to prove he's healthy for a number of reasons, and right now he can't do that, for a number of reasons.''
Newton has been posting videos on social media the past few weeks showing his progress in rehab. His latest Instagram post on Monday night mentioned he was "unemployed.''
His post after the Panthers said Newton was given permission to seek a trade summed up how he felt: "Stop with the word play. I never asked for it. There is no dodging this one. I love the Panthers to death and will always love you guys. Please do not try and play me, or manipulate the narrative and act like I wanted this; you forced me into this!''
Polian doesn't expect anything to happen fast with another team, unless a one-year, team-friendly deal -- like Indianapolis gave former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers --can be reached.
"I wouldn't be willing to give up anything until I knew he was healthy,'' Polian said.
Newton was the NFL MVP in 2015 when he led the Panthers to the Super Bowl, a 24-10 loss to Denver. The Panthers have been to the playoffs only once since then, a wild-card loss to the Saints in 2017.
Newton, who holds most of Carolina's career passing records, missed 14 games last season with the Lisfranc injury and the final two games of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury that also required surgery.
Most likely teams
- Chargers: Competition for Tyrod Taylor
- Jacksonville: Is Minchew really the answer?
- Washington: Haskins sucks.
- New England: Will be the trendy pick, but unlikely because they would have to do some salary cap jujitsu to fit him in.
The article purports to take the reader behind the scenes of the Buccaneers’ pursuit of Tom Brady. Its true purpose seems to be avoiding any potential accusation that the Buccaneers tampered with Brady.
The item from Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times opens with this line: “It was last Wednesday evening, the first day of the new league year, when the Bucs called Tom Brady.” The next few paragraphs delve into the details of the call, creating the impression that this was the first time G.M. Jason Licht or coach Bruce Arians spoke to Brady about playing for the Buccaneers.
There’s a very good reason for this approach. Even though the rules permitted teams to speak to agents as of Monday at 12:00 p.m. ET, the rules prohibited a team from speaking directly to the player until 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. By recounting a conversation that happened, per Stroud, on “Wednesday evening,” the Buccaneers weren’t even close to the line. But consider this: Wouldn’t Licht and Arians have gotten Brady on the phone at 4:01 p.m. ET on Wednesday, if they had never spoken to him about playing in Tampa?
The facts and circumstances suggest that the story told to Stroud about the Wednesday evening phone call was less about providing insight into how the deal actually went down and more about throwing dirt on a trail that easily could lead to a tampering investigation.
By Wednesday evening, Brady already had picked the Bucs. Brady picked Tampa Bay on Tuesday. On Tuesday evening, we explained why he picked the Bucs over the Chargers.
By Wednesday evening, the question wasn’t whether Brady would pick the Bucs but why hadn’t the transaction been announced? As of 9:46 p.m. ET on Wednesday evening, for example, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted that the two sides “were still trying to finalize contract language.” Which would make no sense if Brady didn’t even make his decision until Wednesday evening.
So the notion that Licht and Arians spoke to Brady for the first time on Wednesday evening seems off, to say the least. The deal was as a practical matter done well before then, during the window when the team were allowed to talk only to Brady’s agent and not to Brady directly.
Which makes the story feel like an effort to keep anyone from now suggesting that the Buccaneers spoke to Brady before 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Common sense suggests that those commutations occurred.
At the Scouting Combine, for example, Arians didn’t hesitate to tell reporters that he’d be calling Brady, weeks before the rules permitted Arians to make any public remarks regarding his interest in Brady. If Arians was willing to dance on the wrong side of the line then, it’s fair to wonder whether he danced on the wrong side of the line later.
Then there’s the reality that the Patriots did nothing to suggest that they were taking notes regarding potential words and actions that cross the line. Instead, the Patriots seemed to be willing to let Brady do whatever he had to do to explore his options, even if those things happened before they were technically allowed to happen. As a practical matter, New England’s nonchalance created an atmosphere in which teams would have been even less worried about committing a tampering violation as to Brady.
Throw in the real-word COVID-19 confusion of the past couple of weeks, the vague sense that Brady’s GOAT status creates a de facto tampering dispensation, the reality that no one was going to tell the GOAT “no” if he wanted to talk prematurely, and the league’s general lack of interest in enforcing a policy that routinely is violated in one way or another by every team (primarily through Combine-week meetings with agents of impending free agents), and it becomes very easy to envision Arians adapting his on-field “no risk-it, no biscuit” mantra to the effort to land Brady, throwing caution to the wind and ignoring rules that rarely are enforced in order to secure the services of a quarterback who could let Arians walk off into the sunset with a silver trophy in one hand and a glass of something brown and potent in the other.
Now that they’ve landed Brady, it’s important to ensure that the league won’t decide to start poking around regarding potential irregularities, from communications with agent Don Yee before Monday at noon ET to communications with Brady before Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. ET. And the NFL’s anti-tampering policy allows the league to pursue a tampering case even if the Patriots don’t file tampering charges.
When, for example, the NFL stripped the Chiefs of a third-round pick in 2016 and a sixth-round pick in 2017 (and imposed $285,000 in fines) for speaking directly to former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin during the 2015 negotiating window, the league initiated the investigation on its own.
The Buccaneers have even more reason to be concerned about what the league may do as to the pursuit of Brady. Consider this portion of the policy, regarding willful violations: “In any case in which a preponderance of the evidence establishes that it is more likely than not that a club deliberately set out to violate the Anti-Tampering Policy, or made a calculated decision to risk the possible penalties for such violation as an acceptable cost of acquiring a player or non-player club employee (i.e., as a ‘cost of doing business’), or attempted to conceal evidence of the offense whether before, during, or after its commission, the club and any involved person will be subject to appropriate discipline under such aggravating circumstances.”
No risk-it. No biscuit. The Bucs got their biscuit, and the effort to craft a narrative that they didn’t speak directly to Brady until more than a day after he decided to sign a contract to become a Buccaneer seems to reflect their best effort to engage in after-the-fact risk-it management.
~ via Mike Florio
Darius Slay finally got his wish. The Detroit Lions traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles. Slay had been a bit disgruntled with Detroit ever since they traded away Quandre Diggs, and with the signing of Desmond Trufant, Slay was deemed expendable.
Detroit received Philadelphia's 3rd and 5th round picks in exchange for Slay. The Eagles then immediately signed Slay to a 3-year deal, paying him $50 million total, with $30 million guaranteed. That works out to $16.6 million per year.
Desmond Trufant, meanwhile, will be making $10.5 million in Detroit, giving Detroit more salary cap space. Based on their offseason moves so far, Detroit is completely overhauling the defense that was ranked #31 in total yards allowed, #32 in pass yards allowed, #20 in rushing yards allowed, and #26 in scoring.
In addition to the moves already made, it is widely expected that if Detroit stays at #3 in the draft, that they will continue to rebuild the defense by taking a defensive player, whether it's Chase Young, Jeffrey Okudah, or Isaiah Simmons, with their pick.
The Texans have traded wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a late-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson and a second-round pick, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Texans will take on all of Johnson's salary, according to Schefter. Johnson, who signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension in 2018, has cap hits of $10.2 million in 2020 and $7.9 million in 2021.
Hopkins is owed $14 million in 2020, $15 million in 2021 and $13.9 million in 2022.
Additionally, the Cardinals also receive a fourth-round pick in this year's draft while the Texans get a second-round pick this year and a fourth-round selection in 2021, sources told Schefter.
Johnson took to Twitter to share his excitement on having a new home.
Hopkins is coming off his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season and leaves one young quarterback on the rise, Deshaun Watson for an even younger one in Kyler Murray.
Houston was in need of a lead running back after Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller hit free agency. Hyde had the best season of his career after he was acquired on cutdown day from the Kansas City Chiefs. Miller tore his ACL in the Texans' third preseason game.
The Texans also have running back Duke Johnson on the roster. The pass-catching specialist was acquired during training camp in 2019 from the Cleveland Browns for a third-round pick.
Last season David Johnson had the lowest production of his career with 130 touches, 715 all-purpose yards, six total touchdowns, 345 rushing yards and 370 receiving yards.
On Monday, the Cardinals placed the transition tag on running back Kenyan Drake, giving the team the right to match any offer Drake receives in free agency.
Cards get Hopkins in megadealAdam Schefter reveals that the Texans are trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for David Johnson.
Johnson's production has been on a steady decline since his breakout 2016 season. He finished that season with a knee injury in Week 17 and then suffered a wrist fracture in the third quarter of Week 1 in 2017 that kept him out of the rest of the season. He never regained the form from 2016 after that.
Johnson also dealt with a back injury early in the 2019 season and later had an ankle issue that kept him out of most of a Week 7 game against the New York Giants and the next week in New Orleans. Arizona traded for Drake the week of the Saints game.
The trade impacted the teams' Super Bowl odds. At Caesars Sportsbook, the Cardinals went from 70-1 to 50-1 to win the Super Bowl, while the Texans moved from 35-1 to 50-1.
ESPN Staff Writer
NFL players voted to approve a proposed new collective bargaining agreement with the league's owners, ensuring NFL labor peace through at least 2030. The vote was tight, with 1,019 "yes" votes and 959 "no" votes.
The new CBA will expand the NFL's playoff field by two teams starting with the 2020 season and allow owners the option to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 games as early as 2021.
But those are only the big-headline items. More than just a deal to increase the number of games played each season, this is a document that will establish and govern the rules under which the game is played, contracts are negotiated and rules are administered for the next 11 years, through the 2030 season.
We thought you might have some questions about what's in it. Thanks to a copy of the memo the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) sent to its members, we have some answers:
You said 11 years? I thought this was a 10-year deal.
Yeah, important point there, and it depends on how you look at it. The proposed new deal runs through 2030, which means it runs for 10 years after the current deal was set to expire. There are significant changes to certain rules and league structures that will go into effect in 2020 if the deal is approved by the players, however.
So you could call it an 11-year deal that tears up the final year of the previous CBA and runs for the next 11 years. Or you could call it a 10-year deal that begins in 2021 but alters some rules for the final year of the current deal. Either way, it will run through the 2030 season.
All right. And the 17-game season?
Owners will have a window from 2021 to 2023 to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 games, should they choose to do so (and it's expected they will).
At this point, the two sides haven't had substantive discussions about how the 17-game season actually will work -- i.e., which team gets the extra home game and whether there will be more bye weeks -- which is why many think 2022 is the soonest it could happen. But it's very likely to happen.