Gano’s 63-yarder for Panthers beats Giants

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Graham Gano connected on a career-long 63-yard field goal with 1 second remaining to lift the Carolina Panthers to a wild 33-31 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.

Gano’s winning kick, tied for second longest in league history, came after the Giants erased a 14-point deficit. Eli Manning hooked up with Saquon Barkley on a 15-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline — the rookie made a long dive into the end zone — to put the Giants in front 31-30 with 1:08 remaining.

Gano’s previous career long was 59 yards. He was 4 for 4 on field goal attempts and has made 35 in a row at home dating back to 2016.

It’s the second year in a row the Giants (1-4) have been beaten by a monster field goal at the end. In the third game last season, Jake Elliott of the Eagles kicked a 61-yarder for a 27-24 win.

Cam Newton threw for 237 yards and had two touchdowns and two interceptions. Christian McCaffrey had 93 yards from scrimmage and an 18-yard touchdown catch for the Panthers (3-1).

Manning finished 22 of 36 for 326 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, both by Panthers 37-year-old safety Mike Adams. Odell Beckham Jr., had a big game as a receiver and passer. Beckham had eight catches for 131 yards and a touchdown and also threw a 57-yarder to Barkley for New York’s first touchdown.

BROWNS 12, RAVENS 9, OT

CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Greg Joseph’s 37-yard field goal — a knuckleball that barely cleared the crossbar — with 2 seconds left in overtime.

After rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield drove the Browns (2-2-1) into position, Joseph, signed after Week 2 following Zane Gonzalez’s release, lined his kick through the uprights to give Cleveland its first AFC North win in 19 tries.

As Browns fans celebrated just the team’s second win in two seasons, Joseph was mobbed by his teammates following Cleveland’s third OT game in five weeks.

The Ravens (3-2) had plenty of chances, but Joe Flacco threw a costly interception in the first half and the Browns blocked one of Justin Tucker’s field goal tries.

Mayfield passed for 342 yards and threw a 19-yard TD pass in his first start at home. He completed a key third-down pass for 39 yards to Derrick Willies on Cleveland’s winning drive.

CHIEFS 30, JAGUARS 14

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs’ beleaguered defense forced Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles into five turnovers, including a pick-6 by defensive tackle Chris Jones, and Kansas City merely had to supplement with the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.

Patrick Mahomes threw for 313 yards and ran for a touchdown, though he also threw his first two picks of the season. Kareem Hunt added 87 yards and a touchdown on the ground as the Chiefs (5-0) marched all over the league’s top-ranked defense at soggy Arrowhead Stadium.

Tyreek Hill, frequently matched up with the Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey in an entertaining one-on-one affair, had four catches for 61 yards in a game that grew testy on both sides.

Jones was ejected in the second half after he dropped an elbow on a Jaguars lineman while both were on the ground following an extra point attempt. Pass rusher Dee Ford joined him in the locker room later in the half when he was whistled for his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Hunt was flagged for head-butting linebacker Telvin Smith Jr. earlier in the game.

Jacksonville (3-2) trailed 20-0 at halftime.

LIONS 31, PACKERS 23

DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes and LeGarrette Blount ran for two scores. Detroit (2-3) earned a win it desperately needed under first-year coach Matt Patricia, going into its bye week.

Green Bay (2-2-1) could not overcome uncharacteristic mistakes by veteran kicker Mason Crosby and two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who lost two fumbles for just the third time in his 14-year career.

Crosby missed a career-high four field goals in one game and botched an extra point to boot.

Blount had a pair of 1-yard TD runs in the first quarter and Stafford’s 8-yard pass to Marvin Jones late in the second quarter put Detroit up 24-0.

Aaron Rodgers, missing injured receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, threw short TDs to rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Lance Kendricks in the third to pull the Packers within 10 points.

Stafford answered with a 5-yard TD pass to Kenny Golladay.

JETS 34, BRONCOS 16

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Isaiah Crowell ran for a franchise-record 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown, and Sam Darnold threw two TD passes to Robby Anderson, including a 76-yarder.

Darnold also had a TD toss to Terrelle Pryor that sealed the game late in the fourth quarter for the Jets (2-3). The rookie quarterback finished 10 of 22 for 198 yards and the three scores with an interception to help New York to its first win since the season opener.

Crowell needed just 15 carries to break the team record of 210 yards rushing set by Thomas Jones in 2009 against Buffalo. New York finished with 323 yards rushing and 512 overall yards.

The Jets’ defense came up big, too, while playing without coordinator Kacy Rodgers, who is dealing with what coach Todd Bowles has called a “serious” illness. Bowles ran the defense against the Broncos and the Jets kept the pressure on Keenum all game, sacking him four times, two by Leonard Williams.

They nearly had one more big play when Marcus Maye intercepted Keenum’s final pass and returned it 104 yards before being taken down by Courtland Sutton at the 1 to end the game.

Keenum finished 35 of 51 for 377 yards with touchdown passes to Sutton and Demaryius Thomas for the Broncos (2-3).

BENGALS 27, DOLPHINS 17

CINCINNATI (AP) — Michael Johnson returned an interception for the tying score, and Sam Hubbard went 19 yards with a fumble for the clinching touchdown, rallying the Bengals from a 17-point deficit.

With Joe Mixon back from knee surgery, the defense making more game-turning plays in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati (4-1) pulled off its biggest comeback of the season and extended its best start since its 2015 playoff season.

The Dolphins (3-2) had plenty of blame to go around for their second-half meltdown, helping the Bengals score those 27 consecutive points with mistakes.

Andy Dalton threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mixon to start the comeback, completing a drive extended by T.J. McDonald’s personal foul on a third-down incompletion. Mixon returned after missing two games following knee surgery and ran for 93 yards in addition to catching three passes.

The Dolphins started the season 2-0, but have gotten flattened by New England and shocked by the Bengals in the past two weeks.

STEELERS 41, FALCONS 17

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown connected on two second-half touchdowns and the Steelers pulled away from the Falcons.

Roethlisberger finished 19 of 29 for 250 yards and three scores, including a 9-yard strike to Brown in the third quarter and a 47-yard dart to the All-Pro wide receiver early in the fourth as Pittsburgh (2-2-1) put together its most complete performance of the season.

Brown caught six passes for 101 yards. His two touchdowns gave him 64 in his career, moving him past Hall of Famer John Stallworth and into second place on the franchise’s all-time TD reception list.

James Conner ran for 110 yards and two scores and added 75 yards receiving for Pittsburgh, which improved to 7-0-1 all-time against the Falcons (1-4) at home.

Matt Ryan passed for 285 yards and a touchdown but was also sacked six times and spent the final minutes of Atlanta’s third straight loss on the sideline. Pittsburgh cornerback Joe Haden kept Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones in check. Shadowing Jones — who entered the game leading the NFL in yards receiving — Haden held Jones to five receptions for 62 yards, all in the fourth quarter with Atlanta well behind.

TITANS 13, BILLS 12

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Stephen Hauschka hit a 46-yard field goal as time expired. Buffalo’s defense forced three turnovers, and LeSean McCoy broke from a September slump with a season-best 85 yards rushing. McCoy sparked the decisive drive with a 13-yard catch on third-and-3. And backup running back Chris Ivory had a 9-yard run in getting the Bills across midfield.

Rookie quarterback Josh Allen scored on a 14-yard touchdown run but was held in check as a passer. He finished 10 of 19 for 82 yards and an interception.

Buffalo (2-3) bounced back from a 22-0 loss at Green Bay last weekend.

The Titans struggled on offense in failing to build off a 26-23 overtime win over the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles. After winning each of its past three by three points, Tennessee (3-2) found itself on the losing end of a tightly played game in which the kickers accounted for six field goals and the teams combined for 444 yards offense.

Ryan Succup scored all of Tennessee’s 12 points by hitting four field goals, including a 50-yarder that put the Titans up 12-10 with 4:43 remaining.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia, WR White

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia, WR White

The

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia, WR White

The Arizona Cardinals continue to revamp their offensive line, coming to terms with free agent offensive lineman Max Garcia, according to multiple media reports.

Arizona is also expected to sign former Chicago Bears first-round wideout Kevin White, according to NFL Network.

Garcia was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2015 draft and played in 57 games for the team, starting 41. Garcia is primarily a left guard but has played some on the right side. He is coming off an ACL tear suffered in mid-November.

The Cardinals, beset with injuries and poor play in the trenches last year, have already traded for former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and come to terms with former Seattle Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy.

White, 26, was drafted seventh overall in 2015 but has played in just 14 games (five starts) through four seasons due to a variety of injuries. After surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg wiped out his rookie season, he broke the fibula in the same leg in 2016 and then fractured his left shoulder blade in 2017, finishing all three years on injured reserve.

Last year, White had four catches for 92 yards in nine games (no starts), including a 54-yarder on a Hail Mary attempt that came up just short of the goal line. He was a healthy scratch in several games during the final few weeks of the season.

–Field Level Media

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Saints re-sign Bridgewater, add DT Brown

Saints re-sign Bridgewater, add DT Brown

Quarterback

Saints re-sign Bridgewater, add DT Brown

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has agreed to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints rather than join the Miami Dolphins, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Bridgewater acknowledged the decision on Twitter, posting a photo of himself in his Saints uniform with the caption, “Run it back Turbo.”

According to multiple reports, Bridgewater will sign a one-year deal worth $7.25 million, with incentives that can push the value as high as $12.5 million.

Bridgewater, 26, visited with the Dolphins on Wednesday evening but did not come away with a contract.

NFL Network reported after Monday’s free agent negotiating window opened that Bridgewater would return to New Orleans, but multiple reports on Wednesday said the decision was not final, and that the Miami native could opt for his hometown Dolphins if they offered more money. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday that speculation linking Saints head coach Sean Payton to the Dallas Cowboys’ job in 2020 was factoring into Bridgewater’s decision.

After flirting with Miami, Bridgewater will remain the Saints’ backup and potential heir apparent to 40-year-old Drew Brees, whose contract was restructured Thursday to create more cap room. Brees is under contract through 2019, though he has said he would like to play further into his 40s.

Bridgewater went 14 for 23 for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception in limited action last season, but he impressed in the preseason for the New York Jets, prompting the Saints to trade a third-round pick for him in August. The former first-round pick has started just one game since suffering a devastating knee injury just before the 2016 season opener.

The Saints also signed former New England Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown to a three-year contract on Thursday.

According to multiple reports, the deal is worth $5 million annually.

Brown, 25, was the Patriots’ first-round pick in 2015 and started 51 of 60 games over four seasons while shining in run defense, but his fifth-year option was declined. He had no sacks and just one QB hit last year while making a career-low 39 tackles, but he has 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hits and 186 tackles in his career.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

The Kansas City Chiefs continued to rework their defense as they signed defensive end Alex Okafor, the team announced on Thursday.

Contract terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports said the deal was for three years and $24 million.

A six-year veteran who played the last two seasons in New Orleans, Okafor arrives on the heels of the Chiefs also adding safety Tyrann Mathieu, whose deal was officially signed Thursday.

Kansas City opened up cap space recently with the release of linebacker Justin Houston and defensive back Eric Berry. The Chiefs also traded franchise-tagged pass rusher Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers, citing a poor fit in new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense.

Okafor, 28, had four sacks, nine QB hits and 36 tackles last season for the Saints, who advanced to the NFC championship game. He started all 16 games in 2018, the first time in his career he has played a full season.

In 68 career NFL games with the Arizona Cardinals and Saints, the former 2013 fourth-round pick out of Texas has 22 sacks, 48 QB hits, 156 tackles and nine passes defensed. He had career highs of eight sacks and 13 QB hits in 2014 with the Arizona Cardinals.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Giants add WR Tate, DE Golden

Reports: Giants add WR Tate, DE Golden

Reports: Giants add WR Tate, DE Golden

The New York Giants found some wide receiver help Thursday when they agreed to a four-year, $37.5 million deal with Golden Tate, $23 million of which is fully guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

Tate acknowledged the signing on Twitter, tweeting an image of the “I love New York” logo and making it his new profile picture.

Tate will pick up at least some of the slack after wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns this week. A nine-year veteran, Tate, 30, caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Tate was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia before the trade deadline in October for a third-round pick in the upcoming draft.

The former second-round pick in 2010 by the Seattle Seahawks has caught 611 passes for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Seahawks, Lions and Eagles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2014 season, his first with the Lions, when he caught a career-best 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four TDs.

Tate told reporters after the season that if he didn’t stay with Philadelphia, he hoped to latch on with a contender.

“My years are limited,” Tate said at the time. “I don’t have time to go someone who’s trying to rebuild. I need to go somewhere where they believe they can win now.”

Meanwhile, the Giants also added outside linebacker Markus Golden on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Golden’s agent, Joseph Clayborne, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson his client wanted a one-year deal in a good situation to prove his value.

“We are going to reunite with his former D Coordinator and get back to where we should be as one of the top pass rushers in the league,” Clayborne told Anderson.

Golden, who turned 28 on Wednesday, played three seasons under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who held the same position with the Arizona Cardinals from 2015-17.

A second-round pick in 2015, Golden had just 2.5 sacks and six quarterback hits last season in 11 games while returning from a torn ACL, but he racked up 12.5 sacks and 22 QB hits in 16 games in 2016.

The Giants are also expected to re-sign defensive backs Tony Lippett and Antonio Hamilton, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Both players were primarily special team performers in 2018.

-Field Level Media

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Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

The Cowboys and

Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

The Cowboys and Tavon Austin agreed on a one-year deal to keep the speedy wide receiver in Dallas, the team announced Thursday.

Austin played in just seven games due to injury last season, catching eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He could be in line for more targets now that Cole Beasley left the Cowboys for Buffalo.

Austin also ran the ball six times for 55 yards.

Austin has 14 career touchdowns in six NFL seasons, the first five of which came with the Rams.

The Cowboys also signed free agent defensive lineman Christian Covington to a one-year deal to bolster a line that will be without Randy Gregory and David Irving next season. Covington posted 7.5 sacks in 50 games with the Houston Texans over the past four seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Fleetwood, Bradley grab early lead at Players Championship

Fleetwood, Bradley grab early lead at Players Championship

Fleetwood, Bradley grab early lead at Players Championship

Keegan Bradley and England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot 7-under-par 65s on Thursday to share the lead after the first round of The Players Championship in Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.

While the scores were uncommonly low at TPC Sawgrass as the winds stayed fairly calm, Fleetwood turned in one of only six bogey-free rounds on the day. The majority of the low scores came during the morning wave.

“Very happy, I’ll take that and move on and go have my lunch,” Fleetwood said after the round. “I played really, really well. It was nice to just hit a lot of good golf shots. I was really good off the tee, and I put myself in good positions all throughout the day.”

Brian Harman and South Korea’s Byeong Hun An are tied for second at 6 under with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy another shot back at 5 under along with Vaughn Taylor and Ryan Moore.

There are 10 players within three shots of the lead, with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini part of a group at 4 under that also includes Brendan Steele, J.T. Poston, Kyle Stanley and Kevin Kisner.

Fleetwood and Bradley both began their rounds on the back nine.

While Fleetwood did most of his damage with a 6-under 30 over his final nine holes on the front nine, Bradley shot out of the gates with birdies on two of his first three holes. He traded a bogey and a birdie before knocking his second shot on the par-5 16th hole to within 10 feet and converting the eagle putt.

Bradley birdied the 18th hole and then added two more birdies over his final nine holes. Perhaps the biggest shot of the day was his third on the par-5 second after shanking his approach into the trees. Bradley overcame a gnarly lie to punch his ball onto the green and went on to save par.

“It’s one of those rounds that just felt easy,” Bradley told the Golf Channel. “I rarely ever have rounds like that. It was just a fun day that everything went right.”

Fleetwood reeled off three consecutive birdies to close out his opening round, and said the putts simply started to fall in on his back nine.

“If you would have asked me this morning a 65, I would have quite happily sat in the locker room and not moved,” said Fleetwood.

Tiger Woods is five shots off the lead after battling his way to a 2-under 70. Woods struggled with misses both left and right off the tee throughout the round, but also rolled in six birdies against four bogeys.

Woods birdied the 16th and 17th holes to put himself in position for just his second opening round in the 60s at TPC Sawgrass, but pulled his 4-foot par put on the 18th hole left of the cup.

Woods played in the afternoon round, when players had to deal with bumpier greens and stronger winds.

“It was tricky out there today,” he told the Golf Channel. “I was hoping that we would get the brunt of the wind early and then it would die down. It died down a little bit, it wasn’t so bad, but the greens got a little bit on the bumpier side towards the end. Became a little more challenging to make the putts.”

Other notable names include top-ranked Dustin Johnson (3 under), No. 2 in the world Justin Rose (2 over), Nos. 3 and 4 Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas (1 under) and Phil Mickelson (2 over.)

Woods said he came out of the round feeling good after skipping last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a neck injury.

“Neck’s fine … yeah, neck’s good,” he said. “Just wish that putt would have gone in on the last hole.”

Notes: Moore hit only the ninth hole-in-one on the famed par-3 17th hole in the history of The Players. It came just minutes after Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo hit the flagstick with his tee shot and nearly rolled back into the water before going on to make par. Moore’s ace came from 121 yards. None of the previous players to hit a hole-in-one on the 17th hole have gone on to win The Players. … Harris English made just the second albatross in the history of the event on the par-5 11th when he holed out from 236 yards. … Wyndham Clark was the last player in the field after Pat Perez withdrew due to an Achilles injury.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots sign five players, including WR Ellington

Patriots sign five players, including WR Ellington

Patriots sign five players, including WR Ellington

The New England Patriots added pieces to their roster on Thursday, signing five players.

Defensive tackle Mike Pennel signed a two-year deal, his agent confirmed. Tight end Matt LaCosse, who visited the Patriots on Thursday, also signed a two-year contract, this one worth as much as $4.8 million, ESPN’s Mike Reiss said.

Wide receivers Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris also are joining the team, according to multiple outlets. Ellington’s deal is for one year, and no terms were reported or announced for either receiver.

Safety Terrence Brooks, also a special teams standout, is moving to New England from the New York Jets on a two-year deal, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Pennel, 27, is a five-year NFL veteran who spent the past two seasons with the Jets, before they declined his 2019 option in February. In 32 games (10 starts) in that span, he made 62 tackles and had three quarterback hits. He can help to fill the vacancy created when Malcom Brown departed for New Orleans.

The 26-year-old LaCosse is entering his fourth season. With Denver last year, he played in 15 games, making 24 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos declined to tender LaCosse, who was a restricted free agent, earlier this week.

Ellington split time last season between the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. In seven games (three starts), the 27-year-old had 31 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown.

Harris, 26, played for the Washington Redskins for three seasons before they declined his restricted free agent tender this week. In that time, he appeared in 28 games (seven starts), catching 40 passes for 432 yards and a touchdown. He also filled in as a punt returner in 2018.

Brooks, 27, has played for the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and the Jets during his five-year career. In 65 total games, he has 43 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

–Field Level Media

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NFL transactions: Bridgewater re-signs with Saints

NFL transactions: Bridgewater re-signs with Saints

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

NFL transactions: Bridgewater re-signs with Saints

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater agreed to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints rather than join the Miami Dolphins, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Bridgewater, who acknowledged the decision on Twitter, reportedly will receive a one-year deal worth $7.25 million, with incentives that can push the value as high as $12.5 million. He visited the Dolphins on Wednesday.

The Saints also restructured Drew Brees’ contract to free up $10.8 million in cap space and signed former New England Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown. According to multiple reports, Brown’s deal is worth $5 million annually.

–The New York Giants agreed to a four-year, $37.5 million deal, $23 million of which is fully guaranteed, with wideout Golden Tate, according to multiple reports.

Tate, who acknowledged the signing on Twitter, will pick up at least some of the slack after wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns this week. Tate, 30, caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles last season.

The Giants also added outside linebacker Markus Golden on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports, reuniting him with former coordinator James Bettcher. Golden had 12.5 sacks under Bettcher with the Arizona Cardinals in 2016.

–Trey Flowers put pen to paper to join the Detroit Lions on a $90 million contract, officially becoming the fifth-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

The former Patriots defensive end, who aligned at six different positions for at least 15 snaps last season in New England, was a coveted chess piece for Matt Patricia’s defense in Detroit. Patricia used to coach Flowers in New England. Flowers racked up 21 sacks and 59 QB hits over the past three seasons. He received a $28 million signing bonus.

The Lions also signed safety Andrew Adams to a one-year deal after the Bucs declined to tender a contract to the restricted free agent.

–The Seattle Seahawks re-signed linebacker K.J. Wright and guard D.J. Fluker while adding guard Mike Iupati.

Wright’s deal is for two years and $15.5 million, according to NFL Network. Fluker’s deal is for two years and $9 million per NFL.com, while Iupati’s deal is for one year.

–The Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback AJ McCarron.

The Raiders gave Nelson a $3.6 million bonus on Dec. 28, which was earlier than required, for cap purposes. Head coach Jon Gruden said at the time regarding Nelson, “Yeah, he’ll be back.”

Nelson earned just under $11 million for one year, with the team saving $3.5 million with his release. The Raiders will save $5 million by releasing McCarron, who was acquired for a fifth-round pick from Buffalo in September.

–The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a restructured contract with defensive end Everson Griffen, general manager Rick Spielman confirmed, hours before his $10.9 million salary for 2019 would have become guaranteed.

According to NFL Network, Griffen instead will make $8 million in 2019, with the potential to opt out of his deal if he hits certain performance marks.

–The Kansas City Chiefs signed former Saints defensive end Alex Okafor.

Contract terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports said the deal was for three years and $24 million.

–Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signed a one-year deal worth a reported $3.5 million with the Chicago Bears.

NFL Network reported Clinton-Dix turned down more money to play in Chicago with fellow Alabama safety Eddie Jackson.

–The Carolina Panthers released left tackle Matt Kalil with a post-June 1 designation.

The Charlotte Observer first reported the move. Using the delayed designation saves the Panthers more than $7 million under the salary cap this year.

–The San Francisco 49ers signed former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett to a one-year contract. Multiple outlets report the deal is worth $3.6 million.

Verrett, 27, has played in just five games over the past three seasons and just 25 through five years, but he reached the Pro Bowl in 2015 with the then-San Diego Chargers.

The 49ers also signed former Eagles wideout Jordan Matthews (one-year deal) and former Panthers linebacker David Mayo (two years) and released linebacker Brock Coyle, who announced his retirement due to a compression fracture in his back sustained last season. The team will also re-sign safety Antone Exum on a one-year deal worth $895,000, per multiple reports.

–The Jets officially signed and introduced running back Le’Veon Bell, a few hours after releasing incumbent starter Isaiah Crowell. They also re-signed nose tackle Steve McLendon and officially confirmed the re-signings of offensive lineman Jonotthan Harrison and cornerback Darryl Roberts.

The New York Daily News reported McLendon’s deal is for one year and $2.5 million, with an additional $1 million in incentives.

The Jets also signed cornerback Brian Poole to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, per multiple reports. The Atlanta Falcons surprisingly did not tender the restricted free agent after he broke up 20 passes in 47 games (21 starts) over the past three seasons.

–The Patriots signed defensive tackle Mike Pennel (two-year deal), tight end Matt LaCosse (two years, $4.8 million), wide receivers Bruce Ellington (one year) and Maurice Harris (not reported) and safety Terrence Brooks (two years), according to several reports.

Pennel and Brooks are former Jets.

–The Cincinnati Bengals signed former Giants cornerback B.W. Webb to a three-year contract. The deal reportedly is worth $13 million.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Jaguars wide receiver Donte Moncrief to a two-year deal and re-signed wideout Eli Rogers and defensive tackle Dan McCullers.

–The Dallas Cowboys re-signed wideout Tavon Austin and added former Texans defensive lineman Christian Covington, both on one-year deals.

–The Falcons signed tight end Luke Stocker on a two-year contract and running back Kenjon Barner on a one-year deal.

–The Arizona Cardinals are expected to sign former Bears first-round wideout Kevin White, per NFL Network, and former Denver Broncos guard Max Garcia, per his agent.

–The Cleveland Browns signed former Bears offensive lineman Eric Kush, who started seven games last season.

–The Philadelphia Eagles signed former Steelers linebacker L.J. Fort to a three-year deal worth a reported, $5.6 million.

–Field Level Media

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Mickelson: Family not part of college admissions scheme

Mickelson: Family not part of college admissions scheme

Golfer

Mickelson: Family not part of college admissions scheme

Golfer Phil Mickelson said he paid the ringleader of a college admissions bribery scheme for college preparation for his children but nothing more.

Speaking Thursday after the opening round of The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra, Fla., Mickelson said he and his wife, Amy, hired William Singer’s for-profit tutoring company. But, he added, he never made a financial donation to Singer’s nonprofit group, Key World Foundation, in expectation of Singer’s help of getting his children into a college they weren’t qualified to attend.

Singer admitted to using the foundation to illegally funnel bribes received from parents.

“We, along with thousands of other families, hired he and his company to help guide us through the college application process,” Mickelson told reporters. “We’re as shocked as everyone the last few days.”

The Mickelsons have three children. Their 19-year-old daughter, Amanda, attends Brown University. Their younger daughter and son are in high school.

On Tuesday, Singer pleaded guilty to numerous charges that had to do with his work in helping the children of well-to-do parents gain admission to top universities either by arranging to fix their scores on tests such as the SAT, or by building a profile of the students as recruited athletes and connecting them with coaches. Members of athletic staffs at several Division I universities, recruited by Singer, have been indicted in connection with the case.

Singer published a testimonial letter from the Mickelsons on his company’s website, which the golfer said his wife wrote as a thank you for assistance in the college-prep efforts for the children.

“We’re not a part of this,” Mickelson said of the scheme. “Most every family that hired his company was not a part of it. I think that’s why we’re all so surprised.”

He said his children have both the academic and athletic prowess to be considered by leading colleges on their own.

Amanda Mickelson was the captain of the lacrosse and tennis teams at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, Calif. She also was on the basketball team.

“Our kids, schools are like fighting to get them,” Mickelson said. “I say that as a proud dad. Their grades and outside activities and worldly beliefs are things that have colleges recruiting them. [Singer and his company] helped us through the whole process because it can be confusing.”

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Raiders release WR Nelson

Reports: Raiders release WR Nelson

The Oakland Raiders released wide

Reports: Raiders release WR Nelson

The Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Jordy Nelson on Thursday, according to multiple reports, less than three months after paying him a $3.6 million roster bonus for 2019.

The Raiders gave Nelson — who joined the team on a two-year, $14.2 million deal last spring — his bonus on Dec. 28, which was earlier than required, for cap purposes. Head coach Jon Gruden said at the time regarding Nelson, “Yeah, he’ll be back.”

Instead, Nelson has been released, after earning just under $11 million for one year. The team will save just over $3.5 million against the cap in 2019, with $1.8 million in dead money.

Oakland traded for star wideout Antonio Brown over the weekend, then signed former Los Angeles Chargers deep threat Tyrell Williams in free agency.

Nelson, who turns 34 in May, has now been released in consecutive offseasons, after the Green Bay Packers let him go last spring. He had 63 catches for 739 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games (14 starts) last season.

Nelson had 97 grabs for 1,257 yards and a league-high 14 scores in 2016 while coming off a torn ACL, but he posted just 53 catches for 482 yards in 2017, marking a career-low 9.1 yards per catch. In 10 career seasons, he has 613 catches for 8,587 yards and 72 touchdowns.

The Raiders also officially announced the re-signing of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and the addition of former Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner. Both deals were reported earlier this week.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders release WR Nelson, QB McCarron

Raiders release WR Nelson, QB McCarron

The Oakland Raiders released

Raiders release WR Nelson, QB McCarron

The Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Jordy Nelson on Thursday, less than three months after paying him a $3.6 million roster bonus for 2019.

The Raiders gave Nelson — who joined the team on a two-year, $14.2 million deal last spring — his bonus on Dec. 28, which was earlier than required, for cap purposes. Head coach Jon Gruden said at the time regarding Nelson, “Yeah, he’ll be back.”

Instead, Nelson has been released, after earning just under $11 million for one year. The team will save just over $3.5 million against the cap in 2019, with $1.8 million in dead money.

Oakland traded for star wideout Antonio Brown over the weekend, then signed former Los Angeles Chargers deep threat Tyrell Williams in free agency.

Nelson, who turns 34 in May, has now been released in consecutive offseasons, after the Green Bay Packers let him go last spring. He had 63 catches for 739 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games (14 starts) last season.

Nelson had 97 grabs for 1,257 yards and a league-high 14 scores in 2016 while coming off a torn ACL, but he posted just 53 catches for 482 yards in 2017, marking a career-low 9.1 yards per catch. In 10 career seasons, he has 613 catches for 8,587 yards and 72 touchdowns.

The Raiders also announced the release of quarterback AJ McCarron, six months after acquiring him from the Buffalo Bills for a fifth-round pick.

McCarron, 28, was set to count $5 million against the cap in 2019, all of which Oakland will save with his release.

A former fourth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals who went 2-1 as a fill-in starter in 2015, McCarron attempted three passes in two games last year, completing one for 8 yards. He is 87 of 136 for 928 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions in his career.

Oakland also officially announced the re-signing of defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and the addition of former Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner. Both deals were reported earlier this week.

–Field Level Media

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Giants add Tate for reported four years, $37.5M

Giants add Tate for reported four years, $37.5M

Giants add Tate for reported four years, $37.5M

The New York Giants found some wide receiver help Thursday when they agreed to a four-year, $37.5 million deal with Golden Tate, $23 million of which is fully guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

Tate acknowledged the signing on Twitter, tweeting an image of the “I love New York” logo and making it his new profile picture.

Tate will pick up at least some of the slack after wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns this week. A nine-year veteran, Tate, 30, caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Tate was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia before the trade deadline in October for a third-round draft pick in the upcoming draft.

The former second-round pick in 2010 by the Seattle Seahawks has caught 611 passes for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Seahawks, Lions and Eagles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2014 season, his first with the Lions, when he caught a career-best 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four TDs.

Tate told reporters after the season that if he didn’t stay with Philadelphia, he hoped to latch on with a contender.

“My years are limited,” Tate said at the time. “I don’t have time to go someone who’s trying to rebuild. I need to go somewhere where they believe they can win now.”

-Field Level Media

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Panthers cut OT Kalil

Panthers cut OT Kalil

The Carolina Panthers released left tackle Matt Kalil on Thursday with

Panthers cut OT Kalil

The Carolina Panthers released left tackle Matt Kalil on Thursday with a post-June 1 designation.

The Charlotte Observer first reported the move. Using the delayed designation saves the Panthers more than $7 million under the salary cap this year.

Taylor Moton is expected to start at left tackle in 2019.

Kalil had three years remaining on his contract.

Kalil missed the entire 2018 season with a right knee injury, landing on injured reserve before the season opener.

The 29-year-old was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings (2012) before joining the Panthers, with since-retired brother Ryan Kalil at center, in 2017.

–Field Level Media

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Bears sign SS Clinton-Dix to one-year deal

Bears sign SS Clinton-Dix to one-year deal

Strong safety Ha Ha

Bears sign SS Clinton-Dix to one-year deal

Strong safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix signed a one-year deal worth a reported $3.5 million with the Chicago Bears.

NFL Network reported Clinton-Dix turned down more money to play in Chicago with fellow Alabama safety Eddie Jackson, who made the Pro Bowl last season at free safety.

Clinton-Dix was traded to the Washington Redskins in October and spent his previous four-plus NFL seasons with the Bears’ archrival, the Green Bay Packers. Bears safety Adrian Amos signed with the Packers on Wednesday and was introduced at Lambeau Field on Thursday.

Clinton-Dix didn’t miss a game while with the Packers, posting 390 tackles, 14 interceptions and 25 passes defensed.

The Redskins signed safety Landon Collins to a six-year, $84 million deal at the outset of free agency this week.

Clinton-Dix was a first-round pick of the Packers in 2014.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings retain DE Griffen after restructure

Vikings retain DE Griffen after restructure

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to

Vikings retain DE Griffen after restructure

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to a restructured contract with defensive end Everson Griffen, general manager Rick Spielman confirmed Thursday, hours before his $10.9 million salary for 2019 would have become guaranteed

According to NFL Network, Griffen will instead make $8 million in 2019, with the potential to opt out of his deal if he hits certain performance marks.

Griffen had signed a four-year, $58 million extension in July of 2017 that ran through 2022. The Vikings could have released him outright before his salary became guaranteed on Thursday, which would have saved $10.5 million off the cap with just $1.2 million in dead money.

The 31-year-old finished with 5.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hits last season in 11 games (10 starts), missing five games due to mental health issues. Griffen was involved in a series of incidents in September that concerned teammates, team personnel and family members, and he left the team for a month before returning in late October.

Griffen totaled 43.5 sacks and 101 QB hits from 2014-2017 while missing just two games, earning three Pro Bowl nods from 2015-17. A fourth-round pick in 2010, he has 66.5 sacks and 152 QB hits in 132 career games (73 starts) across nine seasons with the Vikings.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

Reports: Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

Reports: Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

The Kansas City Chiefs continued to rework their defense as they agreed Thursday to a three-year, $24 million deal with defensive end Alex Okafor, according to multiple reports.

A six-year veteran who played the last two seasons in New Orleans, Okafor arrives on the heels of the Chiefs also adding safety Tyrann Mathieu, whose deal was officially signed Thursday.

Kansas City opened up cap space recently with the release of linebacker Justin Houston and defensive back Eric Berry. The Chiefs also traded franchise-tagged pass rusher Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers, citing a poor fit in new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense.

Okafor, 28, had four sacks, nine QB hits and 36 tackles last season for the Saints, who advanced to the NFC Championship Game. He started all 16 games in 2018, the first time in his career he has played a full season.

In 68 career NFL games with the Arizona Cardinals and Saints, the former 2013 fourth-round pick out of Texas has 22 sacks, 48 QB hits, 156 tackles and nine passes defensed. He had career highs of eight sacks and 13 QB hits in 2014 with the Arizona Cardinals.

–Field Level Media

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Ravens C Skura tops list of NFL’s performance bonuses

Ravens C Skura tops list of NFL's performance bonuses

Baltimore

Ravens C Skura tops list of NFL’s performance bonuses

Baltimore Ravens center Matt Skura earned the highest distribution from the NFL’s performance-based pay for the 2018 season, the league announced Thursday.

NFL players will receive $140.88 million from the performance-based pool, which is a benefit in the collective bargaining agreement that compensates players based upon playing time and salary levels.

The NFL Players Association also dedicated $48 million in benefits for a veteran performance-based compensation pool for players with one or more accrued seasons. A total of $188.88 million will be disbursed under the combined pools.

Skura, a second-year pro in 2018 after being an undrafted free agent, earned $533,558 in performance-based pay after playing in every offensive snap and 17 percent of Baltimore’s special teams plays. That bonus money nearly doubled his 2018 salary of $555,000.

The rest of the top five were: Los Angeles Rams guard Austin Blythe ($513,616), Rams linebacker Cory Littleton ($502,243), Miami Dolphins guard Jesse Davis ($495,824) and Tennessee Titans linebacker Jayon Brown ($489,664).

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Steelers re-sign DL McCullers

Reports: Steelers re-sign DL McCullers

Reports: Steelers re-sign DL McCullers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have re-signed reserve defensive tackle Daniel McCullers to a two-year deal, according to multiple reports.

The deal is worth $2.75 million, NFL Network reported Thursday.

McCullers played in 15 games last season, starting one, and registered a sack and five tackles. He has played in 57 games — starting three — in his five years in Pittsburgh.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Seahawks re-sign LB Wright, add OL Iupati

Reports: Seahawks re-sign LB Wright, add OL Iupati

The

Reports: Seahawks re-sign LB Wright, add OL Iupati

The Seattle Seahawks have re-signed linebacker K.J. Wright and added offensive lineman Mike Iupati, according to reports.

Wright’s deal is for two years and $15.5 million, according to NFL Network. The move keeps the Seahawks’ linebacking corps intact for the 2019 season.

Iupati’s deal is for one year.

Wright, 29, has spent all eight years with Seattle after the team selected him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. He missed 11 games last season with a knee injury. Wright had four consecutive seasons with 100-plus tackles before that, and he has career totals of 11.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles.

Iupati played the past four seasons in Arizona after spending the first five seasons of his career with the San Francisco 49ers. The 31-year-old tackle is a four-time Pro Bowler and made All-Pro in 2012. He has started all 114 games in his career.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

Reports: Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

The Cowboys

Reports: Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

The Cowboys and Tavon Austin have agreed on a one-year deal to keep the speedy wide receiver in Dallas, according to reports.

Austin played in just seven games due to injury last season, catching eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He could be in line for more targets now that Cole Beasley left the Cowboys for Buffalo.

Austin also ran the ball six times for 55 yards.

Austin has 14 career touchdowns in six NFL seasons, the first five of which came with the Rams.

The Cowboys also signed free agent defensive lineman Christian Covington to a one-year deal to bolster a line that will be without Randy Gregory and David Irving next season. Covington posted 7.5 sacks in 50 games with the Houston Texans over the past four seasons.

–Field Level Media

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