The Latest: Falcons WR Ridley injures ankle against Bucs

The Latest on the NFL’s Week 6 (all times EDT):

2:25 p.m.

Falcons rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who leads the team with six touchdown catches, has an ankle injury and is questionable to return against Tampa Bay.

Justin Hardy took over as the Falcons’ No. 3 receiver, behind Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, following Ridley’s second-quarter injury.

The Falcons’ defense, already racked by injuries, suffered another hit when defensive tackle Jack Crawford left the game with neck and head injuries. Crawford was the fill-in starter for Grady Jarrett, who missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle.

— Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta.

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2:10 p.m.

The Tampa Bay defense is having another rough day.

Already giving up more points per game than any team in the NFL, the Buccaneers have surrendered touchdowns on Atlanta’s first three possessions to give the one-win Falcons a 21-6 lead midway through the second quarter.

Atlanta has put together scoring drives of 75, 86 and 58 yards, which is sure to turn up the heat even more on Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith. The former Falcons coach is calling plays from the press box at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Bucs defense has now given up nine touchdowns and two field goals on the last 14 possessions by their opponents. They have forced only two punts, and one other possession ended with a kneeldown at the end of the game.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta.

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1:55 p.m.

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper left the game against the Seattle Seahawks with 13:40 remaining in the second quarter after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from strong safety Bradley McDougald.

Cooper failed to pull in a low pass from quarterback Derek Carr at the Raiders’ 18-yard line and, after the ball fell from his fingertips, was hit in the right side of his head by McDougald, who appeared to lead with the crown of his helmet.

McDougald was not penalized for the play, and Cooper, who lay on the field for nearly two minutes, was immediately taken to the locker room.

— Zac Boyer reporting from London.

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1:45 p.m.

Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman’s 19-game interception drought is over. Norman got his first interception since 2016 courtesy of former Carolina Panthers teammate Cam Newton.

Norman picked off Newton on a third-and-17 play early in the second quarter with Washington already up 14-0. Newton floated the ball into the air hoping to get it to Devin Funchess, but Norman and another Redskins defensive back were much closer.

It was Norman’s first interception since Dec. 24, 2016, against the Chicago Bears.

— Stephen Whyno reporting from Landover, Maryland.

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1:12 p.m.

Panthers safety Eric Reid again took a knee during the national anthem as Carolina visited Washington.

Reid, who was signed as a free agent by the Panthers on Sept. 27, resumed his tradition of kneeling during the anthem before his season debut with Carolina last week.

In Miami, Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during the anthem, and defensive end Robert Quinn stood with a raised fist, as they’ve done at earlier games this season.

— Stephen Whyno reporting from Landover, Maryland, and Steven Wine reporting from Miami.

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1:10 p.m.

A snow game in October? No time for cold feet.

Bundle up.

The Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will definitely be playing it cool Sunday with the temperature in the Mile High City at kickoff expected to be around 25 degrees. The forecast is calling for flurries into the afternoon.

The field was covered by a tarp hours before the game on a day that reminded everyone in town that ski season is right around the corner.

As far as coldest games in Denver history, it doesn’t come close to making the list. The most frigid game in the city was Dec. 10, 1972, against San Diego when it was 9 degrees. Last season, Denver hosted Kansas City on Dec. 31 when it was 17 degrees.

The Rams can take some cold comfort in this: It’s 65 degrees back in Los Angeles.

— Pat Graham reporting from chilly Denver.

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1 p.m.

New York Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, dealing with an illness, is with the team for its game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Jets tweeted out a photo of Rodgers standing next to coach Todd Bowles on the field at MetLife Stadium on Sunday and announced that “Coach Rodgers is in the house!”

It was not certain if Rodgers would be in his usual role of running the Jets’ defense during the game, or if Bowles would do so as he did last week in New York’s 34-16 win over Denver.

The 49-year-old Rodgers is dealing with what Bowles has called a “serious” illness. Rodgers had a medical appointment on Oct. 4 and was not with the team for practice the following day, when a somber Bowles revealed that Rogers was dealing with an illness.

Rodgers has not been at practice since. Bowles said Rodgers would find out the results of tests sometime in the next few days.

— Dennis Waszak Jr. reporting from East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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Seattle faces the Oakland Raiders in Wembley Stadium on Sunday for the NFL’s first London game of the season, and the Seahawks’ first regular-season appearance overseas.

Pete Carroll will be looking to break a tie with Mike Holmgren (90) as the winningest coach in Seahawks franchise history, and Russell Wilson is 25-6 after a loss for Seattle (2-3) — for the best record for a quarterback since the merger.

The Raiders (1-4) have struggled in Jon Gruden’s return to coaching, especially on defense since trading star pass rusher Khalil Mack just before the start of the season. Oakland’s defense is ranked 30th, has the fewest QB pressures (29), is tied for the fewest sacks (six) and the third-fewest takeaways (five).

The biggest matchup of the day is the prime-time meeting involving Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (3-2) hosting the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) and their young quarterback sensation Patrick Mahomes.

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Titans releasing veteran G Kline

Titans releasing veteran G Kline

The Tennessee Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one

Titans releasing veteran G Kline

The Tennessee Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one year after signing him to a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the 29-year-old veteran declined to take a pay cut. Releasing him leaves a $3.5 million dead cap hit this season.

Kline started all 16 games last season and 46 of the Titans’ 48 games from 2016-18. He spent his first three seasons with the New England Patriots.

–Field Level Media

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Browns RB Hunt suspended eight games

Browns RB Hunt suspended eight games

Cleveland

Browns RB Hunt suspended eight games

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was suspended for the first eight games of the 2018 season.

Hunt was on the commissioner’s exempt list since Nov. 30 during the NFL’s investigation into a physical altercation captured by an Ohio hotel surveillance system in which Hunt shoved to the ground and kicked a woman.

Hunt’s agent, Dan Saffron, said there will be no appeal in a released statement in response to the announcement of the discipline.

“PFS Agency stands behind our client, Kareem Hunt, in his decision to accept the suspension handed down by the NFL today,” Saffron said.

The NFL said in a statement Hunt’s ban is the result of two separate incidents.

“Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns was notified today that he has been suspended without pay for the Browns’ first eight regular season games for violations of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in connection with physical altercations at his residence in Cleveland last February and at a resort in Ohio last June. Hunt was placed on the Commissioner Exempt list on November 30 and was released by his former club, the Kansas City Chiefs, that same day. The findings followed a detailed investigation by the NFL, which included reviewing available law enforcement records, video and electronic communications, interviews with numerous witnesses, and multiple interviews with Hunt.

“Hunt has advised the league office that he accepts responsibility for his conduct and the discipline that has been imposed. He has committed to take advantage of available resources to help him grow personally and as a member of the Cleveland community, and to live up to his obligations as an NFL player. The eight-game suspension will take effect as of the final roster reduction on August 31. Hunt will be eligible to play in the Browns’ ninth regular season game.”

When the video surfaced, Hunt was released by the Chiefs. The Browns signed Hunt to a one-year contract in February after general manager John Dorsey — who drafted Hunt as GM of the Chiefs — and owner Jimmy Haslam reviewed the situation and discussed appropriate steps toward contrition with Hunt.

“We had done our research,” Dorsey said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We thought at the appropriate time with all the information we did have, how truly remorseful he was and … knowing when he comes here there are no guarantees, he’s going to earn your respect with his actions. Right now, I feel very comfortable with the signing.

“Deep down, if you really sit down and engage with him, he has a really good heart. The act he did last year — it was egregious. We all know that. … He’s showing through his actions, not his words, how remorseful he is.”

Hunt is not permitted to be with the Browns during the suspension, but can participate in training camp and preseason games.

ESPN reported Hunt will forfeit $303,529 of his $645,000 base salary. He is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in March 2019.

“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said in Indianapolis, “between now and when that second chance comes. Right now, our job is to support Kareem and help him grow as a person.”

–Field Level Media

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Pats to release DE Clayborn, clear $4M in cap space

Pats to release DE Clayborn, clear $4M in cap space

Pats to release DE Clayborn, clear $4M in cap space

New England is releasing defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a move that clears about $4 million in cap space for the defending champion Patriots.

Clayborn, 30, broke the news Friday morning on Twitter and thanked the Patriots for granting his release.

“I’m ready for this next chapter,” he said.

Clayborn was due to count $5.94 million against the cap and New England will have $2 million in dead money with this move.

Clayborn, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Patriots last March, tallied 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games in 2018.

Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2011, Clayborn played four seasons with the Buccaneers and three with the Atlanta Falcons before joining New England.

In 95 career games, he has 32.5 sacks, 178 tackles and eight forced fumbles.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Bengals signing G Miller for 3 years, $16.5M

Reports: Bengals signing G Miller for 3 years, $16.5M

The

Reports: Bengals signing G Miller for 3 years, $16.5M

The Cincinnati Bengals are signing free agent guard John Miller to a three-year, $16.5 million contract, according to multiple reports Friday.

Miller, 25, was Buffalo’s third-round pick in 2015 and started 47 games at right guard for the Bills over the past four seasons.

Miller ranked fourth on the Bills with 883 offensive snaps in 15 starts last season.

Miller visited Thursday with the Bengals. He will be reunited on the offensive line with former Buffalo teammate Cordy Glenn, a tackle who joined Cincinnati in a trade last March.

–Field Level Media

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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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