The Latest: Rams’ Cooper Kupp hurts knee, will have MRI

The Latest on Week 10 in the NFL (all times EST):

10:25 p.m.

Rams receiver Cooper Kupp suffered a potentially serious knee injury on Sunday — a blow to a team that has stayed remarkably healthy on the way to a 9-1 start.

Kupp went down in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles’ win over Seattle clutching his left knee, which sidelined him for two games earlier this season when he was hurt on a horse-collar tackle at Denver.

Coach Sean McVay said Kupp would have an MRI on Monday.

“I don’t think it’s good,” McVay said. “It’s his knee. We’ll get the MRI, but it doesn’t look good right now.”

Kupp led the Rams last season with 869 yards as a rookie.


8:25 p.m.

Former President George W. Bush performed the coin flip in Philadelphia before the Eagles played the Dallas Cowboys.

Bush, who grew up in Texas, flipped tails — and the Cowboys won the toss.

Bush was at midfield with former first lady Laura Bush and shook hands with several players including Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz.

The Bushes were in Philadelphia to receive the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal for their commitment to veterans. Former Vice President Joe Biden presented the award to the couple at the Philadelphia history museum on Sunday, which is also Veterans Day.


7:30 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams have hung on for a 36-31 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The game was decided when Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson overthrew Tyler Lockett along the sideline on fourth-and-10 from the Rams 35 yard line with 18 seconds remaining.

The Rams improved to 9-1 and bounced back from a 45-35 loss to New Orleans last weekend. Seattle has lost two straight and dropped to 4-5.

Los Angeles now prepares for a much anticipated prime-time showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at Mexico City on Nov. 19. Seattle faces a short week in preparing to host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.


7:10 p.m.

Newly acquired Rams defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has bounced back from a pair of penalties to force a turnover in helping Los Angeles build a 36-24 lead over NFC West rival Seattle.

Fowler forced a fumble while sacking Russell Wilson and then recovered it at Seattle’s 9. Brandin Cooks scored on the next play. The Rams have sacked Wilson four times, led by Aaron Donald’s 2 1/2.

The Rams acquired Fowler at the NFL trading deadline on Oct. 30 from Jacksonville for two draft picks, including a 2019 third-round selection.


6:50 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers are pulling away from the Miami Dolphins.

Davante Adams and Aaron Jones have accounted for two touchdowns each. Green Bay broke it open in the third quarter. After Jones scored on a 10-yard run, Green Bay’s Bashaud Breeland picked off Brock Osweiler deep in Miami territory.

Three plays later Aaron Rodgers hit Adams for a 25-yard touchdown pass for a 28-12 lead with 7:24 left. That was the score going into the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins have settled for kicker Jason Sanders hitting four field goals on five drives inside Green Bay’s 30.


6:40 p.m.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is closing in on extending his streak to nine games with at least two touchdown passes and a passer rating of 95 or higher.

Rivers is already just the third player to do that in eight straight games to start a season. Only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who did it in 13 straight to open the 2011 season, and Tom Brady, 10 straight in 2007, have longer streaks.

Rivers is currently 17 of 25 for 219 yards passing with two TDs and an interception and a 105.2 passer rating with the Chargers up 20-6 on the Oakland Raiders with four minutes remaining.


6:05 p.m.

Green Bay running back Aaron Jones has 101 yards and a touchdown on eight carries at halftime with the Packers leading the Miami Dolphins 14-9.

It’s the first time that a Green Bay running back has gone over the 100-yard mark this season. Aaron Rodgers also has a touchdown pass to Davante Adams.

The Dolphins have been moving the ball in spite of missing three starting offensive linemen. But they turned the ball over a bad shotgun snap on their first series, and have been held to three field goals.


5:50 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley has become the fourth NFL player to score a touchdown in each of his team’s first 10 games of a season.

Gurley scored on a 17-yard run to put the Ram up 17-14 with under three minutes left in the second quarter against Seattle. His 10-game streak matches former Rams player Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, who did it in 1951.

Baltimore’s Lenny Moore, in 1951, and Buffalo’s O.J. Simpson, in 1975, share the record in having scored in each of their teams’ first 14 games of the season.

The touchdown was Gurley’s league-leading 17th of the season. And he’s scored in 13 consecutive regular-season games since being held out of the end zone in a 32-16 win at Arizona last Dec. 3.


5:35 p.m.

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald set a career-high with his 12th sack of the season and second of the game against Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

Donald entered the day second on the NFL list with 10 sacks this season, 11 1/2 behind Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter.

The fifth-year player passed his previous high of 11 sacks set in both 2015 and last season, and increased his career total to 61.


5:15 p.m.

Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore has topped 500 yards rushing for a 14th consecutive season to set an NFL record.

Gore entered the game against Green Bay tied with Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Walter Payton, who had topped 500 yards in 13 straight seasons. Gore topped the milestone with a 9-yard run with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.

The 14-year veteran ranks fourth and leads active players with 14,464 yards rushing.

Green Bay leads Miami 14-6 early in the second quarter. For the Packers, running back Aaron Jones has 96 yards on four carries, including a career-long 67-yarder.


5 p.m.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has passed Hall of Famer Terrell Owens to move into second place on the career yards-receiving list.

The 15th-year player had six catches for 50 yards to up his total to 15,952 — moving 18 ahead of Owens — in a 26-14 loss at Kansas City.

Jerry Rice holds the record with 22,895 yards.


4:50 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams held a moment of silence before their game against Seattle for the 12 victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks last week.

The Rams’ training complex in less than five miles from the Borderline Bar and Grill. The team is donating proceeds from its stadium raffle and a jersey auction to a relief effort, and left tackle Andrew Whitworth has pledged his game check.


4:45 p.m.

The Green Bay Packers have cashed in on a turnover on the Miami Dolphins’ game-opening drive.

Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 6:07 left in the first quarter to give Green Bay a 7-0 lead. Running back Aaron Jones accounted for 54 total yards on the drive. The Packers capitalized after Dolphins’ quarterback Brock Osweiler mishandled a shotgun snap that was recovered by Reggie Gilbert at the Green Bay 30.


4:20 p.m.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had very little to show for gaining 501 yards offense in a 16-3 loss to Washington.

The Buccaneers became just the second team since 1940 to top 400 yards and score 3 or fewer points, according to Pro Football Reference. They join the then-St. Louis Rams, who had 424 yards offense in a 24-3 loss to Green Bay in 2011.

Four turnovers, including two interceptions thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick, didn’t help. Neither did kicker Chandler Catanzaro missing field-goal attempts from 30 and 48 yards, both wide right.


3:50 p.m.

The New England Patriots have pulled quarterback Tom Brady while trailing the Titans 34-10 in the fourth quarter.

The Titans sacked Brady a season-high three times, and former New England cornerback Logan Ryan broke up a Brady pass to Julian Edelman on fourth down with 10:48 left to end a Patriots’ scoring threat.

Edelman went to the locker room after that pass was broken up. He is questionable to return with an injured ankle.

Brian Hoyer replaced Brady after Derrick Henry’s 10-yard run out of the wildcat put the Titans up 34-10 with 7:13 left.

The Patriots also were playing without left tackle Trent Brown, who left in the third quarter with an injured back. Tight end Dwayne Allen is questionable to return with an injured knee.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee.

3:10 p.m.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has plenty to talk about now while enjoying his best game of the season.

Three quarters into Buffalo’s game at the New York Jets, McCoy has already topped 100 yards rushing for the first time since gaining 156 on a snow-covered field in a 13-7 overtime win over Indianapolis on Dec. 10.

He has also scored two touchdowns rushing for the first time since scoring twice in a 30-27 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 22, 2017.

The touchdowns were the first of the season for McCoy. And the come two days after the 10th-year player broke nearly two weeks of silence by telling reporters he was frustrated with his lack of production.

McCoy entered the game with 267 yards rushing this season, and had 103 midway through the third quarter.

McCoy also surpassed 500 career points, and vaulted into 26th place on the career yards rushing list by moving ahead of Marshawn Lynch (10,379), Eddie George (10,441) and Tiki Barber (10,449).


2:50 p.m.

Cleveland Browns rookie Nick Chubb broke a club record and maybe Atlanta’s back with a 92-yard TD run.

The running back took a handoff at Cleveland’s 8, cut right and avoided a few tacklers before streaking to the end zone to give Cleveland a 28-10 lead midway through the third quarter.

Chubb’s 92-yard run is the longest in team history, topping the 90-yard run by Bobby Mitchell in 1959 against Washington.

It was Chubb’s second touchdown of the game. He also caught a 13-yard pass from Baker Mayfield in the second quarter.


2:45 p.m.

The Tennessee Titans are following up their big win in Dallas with a strong first half against the Patriots.

Tennessee scored a season-high 28 points to beat the Cowboys on Monday night, and they now lead New England 24-10 at halftime.

The Titans scored a season-high 17 points in the first quarter with touchdown passes by Marcus Mariota on each of their first two possessions. Mariota is 11 of 16 for 152 yards.

The Titans have been getting plenty of pressure on Tom Brady. Former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan sacked Brady on the final play of the first half, the Titans’ second sack of the first half.

James Develin has run for a TD, and Stephen Gostkowski connected on one of his two 52-yard field goal attempt for New England.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee.


2:40 p.m.

Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is donating a game check to the families of the victims of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.

Whitworth will give his check from Los Angeles’ game against Seattle to the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Conejo Valley Victims Fund. The fund was set up to help the families of the 12 people killed by a gunman in Thousand Oaks, the home of the Rams’ training complex.

Whitworth is in the second season of a three-year, $36 million deal with the Rams. He has played a major role in the Rams’ transformation into an elite NFC team under Sean McVay.

Whitworth, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Michael Brockers and other players are also auctioning off their game jerseys to benefit the victims’ fund and American Red Cross Southern California Wildfire Relief.

Two wildfires are also burning in the same general area of the western Los Angeles suburbs.

2:30 p.m.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has moved ahead of Brett Favre for second place on the career regular-season touchdown list with a sensational first half at Cincinnati.

He’s thrown three TD passes as the Saints have raced ahead 35-7, reaching the end zone on all five possessions. Brees has 509 career TD passes, one more than Favre.

Peyton Manning holds the record with 539.

The Saints have piled up 311 yards, and they have 21 first downs on 40 plays. Brees is 18 of 20 for 214 yards.


2:15 p.m.

Baker Mayfield enjoyed a perfect half.

Cleveland’s rookie quarterback completed 12 of 12 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against Atlanta. Mayfield connected on a 28-yard TD with Rashard Higgins and threw a 13-yard scoring pass to Nick Chubb.

Mayfield finished the half with a 158.3 quarterback rating, the highest possible score. The Browns did have one interception in the half, but it was thrown by running back Dontrell Hilliard, who attempted to hit a well-covered Mayfield on a trick play.


2:10 p.m.

Patrick Mahomes has broken the Kansas City Chiefs record for touchdown passes in a season.

The first-year starter threw his 31st of the season — and second of the game to Tyreek Hill — to pass Len Dawson. The Hall of Famer threw 30 in 1964.

The record-setter came on third-and-goal from the Arizona 14. Hill celebrated by leaping into the stands, just as he did on his first TD catch, then playing with the TV cameras.

That last bit earned Hill an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Kansas City


2 p.m.

Atlanta receiver Julio Jones has reached 10,000 yards receiving faster than any player in NFL history.

Jones reached the plateau in his 104th career game, catching a 30-yard pass in the second quarter from Matt Ryan. Calvin Johnson held the previous mark, getting to 10,000 yards in his 115th game. Torry Holt and Antonio Brown got there in 116 games.

Jones caught a short pass over the middle and broke a couple tackles on his first reception of the game. He came in with 933 yards receiving this season.

Moments later, Jones caught a 1-yard TD pass from Ryan to give the Falcons a 10-7 lead.


1:50 p.m.

The Buffalo Bills have scored twice in the first quarter against the New York Jets to match their combined total from their previous four games.

LeSean McCoy opened the scoring with a 28-yard run, 5 more than he totaled in his previous two games. And then tight end Jason Croom recovered teammate Zay Jones’ fumble in the end zone to put the Bills ahead 14-0.

Buffalo’s 14 points are the most they’ve scored in seven games, since a 27-6 victory at Minnesota on Sept. 23. And the Bills are doing this with Matt Barkley making his debut at quarterback less than two weeks after signing with Buffalo.


1:40 p.m.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has thrown two touchdown passes against Cincinnati to up his regular-season total to 508 and match Brett Favre for second on the NFL career list.

Brees first TD was a 7-yarder to Michael Thomas midway through the first quarter. Mark Ingram II then turned a screen pass into a 28-yard touchdown

Peyton Manning holds the record with 539.


1:25 p.m.

Six teams reached the end zone on the opening possession of their games Sunday to get Week 10 off to a high-scoring start.

Kansas City, which lost the coin toss for the first time all season, went 75 yards in 56 seconds. Three plays were needed, with Patrick Mahomes connecting with Tyreek Hill for 38 yards, then for a 37-yard touchdown.

Tennessee’s Darius Jennings returned the opening kickoff 58 yards, then the Titans needed seven plays to go 40 yards, capped by Marcus Mariota 4-yard TD pass to Jonnu Smith against New England.

Chicago’s Tarik Cohen had a 3-yard TD run to cap an eight-play, 75-yard drive vs. Detroit. But Cody Parkey missed the extra point.

Indianapolis covered 75 yards in seven plays and Andrew Luck found Eric Ebron for a 53-yard scoring pass against Jacksonville.

Buffalo used a mere two plays against the Jets, with newcomer Matt Barkley throwing 47 yards to Robert Foster before LeSean McCoy broke from a lengthy slump for his first touchdown this season, on a 28-yard run.

And Drew Brees threw his 507th career touchdown pass, leaving him one behind Brett Favre for second place on the career list, capping a 15-play, 75-yard drive that consumed 8 minutes, 30 seconds. It ended with Michael Thomas’ diving 7-yard catch.


1:15 p.m.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes needed only 56 seconds to throw his first touchdown pass against Arizona, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the single-season franchise record.

Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill down the sideline for 38 yards on the game’s first play. Then, after an incompletion, Mahomes found Hill again for a 37-yard touchdown reception.

It was the 30th thrown by Mahomes this season. Dawson threw 30 during the 1964 season.

— Dave Skretta reporting from Kansas City.


1:10 p.m.

The Indianapolis Colts honored kicker Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s new career scoring leader, with a brief highlight show during pregame introduction before their game against Jacksonville.

Vinatieri received a roaring ovation from the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd when he was announced as the final starter. The 45-year-old waved to the crowd and slapped hands with a group of fans gathered around the American flag on the field.

Vinatieri broke Morten Andersen’s record two weeks ago at Oakland, but the Colts had a bye last week and Sunday marked the first time Indy could celebrate the record-breaking moment on its home turf.


1 p.m.

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was the last of the Titans defense introduced before kickoff for Tennessee’s game against New England.

Casey took the field carrying an American flag, and first shaking hands with a soldier as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service being held on Veteran’s Day. A soldier accompanied each Titans starter onto the field for a few steps.

Country artist Little Big Town performed the national anthem, which featured a flyover by military helicopters.


11:30 a.m.

Drew Brees and Tom Brady enter Week 10 of the NFL’s schedule neck and neck in closing in on matching Brett Favre for second place on the career regular-season list.

Brees has 506 touchdowns passing, two behind Favre, as the New Orleans Saints play at Cincinnati. And Brady has 505 with his New England Patriots playing at Tennessee. Both are a little more than 30 behind Peyton Manning’s record of 539.

Brady does have chance to pass Manning on the career touchdowns passing list, including playoffs. Manning has 579, only three more than Brady.

On the other end of the quarterback matchup spectrum Sunday, the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will feature a battle of the backups rather than far more intriguing AFC East showdown of two rookie first-round picks.

Matt Barkley is starting in place of Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained throwing elbow. For New York, Josh McCown is starting in place Sam Darnold, who is sidelined by a strained right foot. Darnold was drafted third overall, four spots ahead of Allen.


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Jaguars rookie S Woods retires

Jaguars rookie S Woods retires

Jacksonville rookie safety Zedrick Woods filed

Jaguars rookie S Woods retires

Jacksonville rookie safety Zedrick Woods filed retirement papers with the NFL, The Athletic reported Monday.

Woods, who signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent, was dealing with a turf toe injury, according to his agent, Ron Butler.

“It was kind of shocking to me just because I knew how much he was grateful for the opportunity to get a chance to play in Jacksonville and not being too far from home,” Butler told The Athletic of the decision by Woods, who is from Lake City, Fla., about 65 miles west from Jacksonville.

Woods, who turns 22 next month, played college football at Ole Miss and had six interceptions in 47 career games. He surprised NFL teams by running the 40-yard-dash in 4.29 seconds at the NFL Combine.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks DT Reed draws six-game suspension

Seahawks DT Reed draws six-game suspension

Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed

Seahawks DT Reed draws six-game suspension

Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed has been suspended for the six first games of the NFL season without pay for violating the personal conduct policy, the league announced Monday.

Reed was disciplined for an incident in Bellevue, Wash., on April 27, 2017, according to multiple reports. A woman filed a complaint of assault against Reed. Prosecutors investigated and declined to press charges.

The NFL Network reported that Reed’s appeal of the suspension was denied on Friday.

“We are aware of the situation involving Jarran Reed and have followed league and law enforcement protocol since the alleged incident in April of 2017,” the team said in a statement Monday.

Reed posted his own statement on Twitter.

“I apologize to those close to me including my family, the entire Seattle Seahawks organization and fans of the team for putting myself in a position where I could be disciplined by the NFL,” Reed wrote. “While I totally disagree with the decision of the NFL, I still must accept it and take responsibility for the situation. I have learned from this and will do everything I can to make my friends, family, teammates, fans and the Seahawks proud of me moving forward.”

Reed will forfeit approximately $394,000 of his nearly $1.17 million salary in 2019.

The 26-year-old Reed will be eligible to return to the active roster of the Seahawks on Oct. 14, one day after a game against the Cleveland Browns.

Reed had a career-best 10.5 sacks in 16 games last season after having just three in 30 games over his first two NFL seasons.

Reed underwent sports hernia surgery in late April but recovered in time to participate in minicamp drills during the second week of June.

–Field Level Media

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Lions’ $90M man Flowers on PUP

Lions' $90M man Flowers on PUP


Lions’ $90M man Flowers on PUP

New Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers will start training camp on the shelf with a shoulder injury, per multiple reports.

Flowers, an end and linebacker in the 3-4 defense, signed as a big-ticket prize in free agency in March. He left the New England Patriots, where he began his career as a protege of current Lions head coach Matt Patricia.

Flowers underwent what was described as a minor shoulder procedure at the end of the 2018 postseason. But starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list could be an ominous, unexpected signal of Flowers’ health. The Detroit Free Press was the first outlet to identify the nature of Flowers’ current injury.

Detroit opens training camp on Thursday.

The Lions spent almost all of last season without their prized pass rusher, Ziggy Ansah, who was playing on the one-year franchise tender but battled shoulder issues all year.

Flowers came in to replace Ansah, signing a five-year, $90 million deal to unite with Patricia. Flowers had 57 tackles for the Patriots last season and a career-best 7 1/2 sacks. He has 164 career tackles and 21 sacks in 46 games (37 starts) over four seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Lowry vaults to No. 17 in world rankings

Lowry vaults to No. 17 in world rankings

Winning his first

Lowry vaults to No. 17 in world rankings

Winning his first major at The Open Championship came with a slew of perks for Ireland’s Shane Lowry, including a 16-spot jump to No. 17 in the official world golf rankings Monday.

Lowry began 2019 ranked No. 75. He has steadily risen throughout the year thanks to at win in Abu Dhabi in January and a string of three consecutive top-10 finishes in stroke play events that included the PGA Championship in May. Lowry entered last week ranked 33rd, but earned 100 ranking points for his triumph at Royal Portrush.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood jumped seven spots to No. 13 with his second-place finish at The Open, while Tony Finau moved up five places to No. 12 with his solo third – Finau’s best career finish in a major.

England’s Lee Westwood was unable to mount a Sunday charge, but he did rise 26 spots to No. 52 by tying for fourth with Brooks Koepka, who strengthened his grip on No. 1. It is the highest ranking for Westwood in the two-year revolving points system.

The top five remained unchanged, with No. 2 Dustin Johnson, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, England’s Justin Rose and Tiger Woods following Koepka. McIlroy and Woods missed the cut at The Open. Italy’s Francesco Molinari leapfrogged Bryson DeChambeau for No. 6, followed by Spain’s Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Jets signing former Texans TE Griffin

Report: Jets signing former Texans TE Griffin

The New York

Report: Jets signing former Texans TE Griffin

The New York Jets are signing former Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin to fill in for the recently suspended Chris Herndon, NFL Network reported Monday.

Earlier this month, the NFL suspended Herndon for the first four games of the 2019 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He pleaded guilty in January to a 2018 DWI charge.

Griffin, 29, caught 136 passes for 1,491 yards and seven touchdowns in 77 games (36 starts) with the Texans from 2013-18.

He made a career-high 11 starts in 2018 and caught 24 passes for 305 yards.

Griffin’s six-year run in Houston ended abruptly in May when he was cut by the Texans after getting arrested in Nashville, Tenn., during the NFL draft. Charges of vandalism for breaking a hotel window and public intoxication were later dismissed.

–Field Level Media

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Pittsburgh Steelers training camp primer

Pittsburgh Steelers training camp primer

New faces: CB Steven Nelson,

Pittsburgh Steelers training camp primer

New faces: CB Steven Nelson, LB Mark Barron, LB Devin Bush, WR Donte Moncrief, WR Diontae Johnson, CB Justin Layne, RB Benny Snell

They’re gone: WR Antonio Brown, RB Le’Veon Bell, OT Marcus Gilbert, TE Jesse James, S Morgan Burnett, LB Jon Bostic

2019 snapshot: There’s no getting around it: The Steelers said goodbye to perhaps the best wide receiver (Brown) and the best running back (Bell) of the past five years. That’s difficult to swallow, but was there anything Pittsburgh could have done differently this offseason?

Bell’s departure was inevitable long ago. Letting him walk also wasn’t the worst idea given the dangers of paying running backs big money. Perhaps Brown’s situation could have been resolved, but the disgruntled wideout appeared determined to barge his way out of Pittsburgh, with no regard for collateral damage. How ugly would it be if he were still on the Steelers’ roster?

Pittsburgh never had the leverage to bring back a big return, but it did get two picks for Brown, one of whom (Johnson) should contribute early. The Steelers found another option at receiver in free agency (Moncrief) and worked to upgrade at linebacker and cornerback in both free agency and the draft. After signing Barron and Nelson, they traded up for Bush, who should step right into Ryan Shazier’s old spot in the middle of the defense. Layne brings lots of talent but has time to develop from the bench.

Pittsburgh also got quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s extension done as he approached a contract year, an inevitable but important move that ensures the Super Bowl window will remain open another few years.

Worth the investment?

At 9.5 wins via, the Steelers are still expected to be in the mix in the AFC North. How realistic is that future proposition based on the subtractions from the roster? Getting to 8-8 seems a reasonable ask, but 10 wins would be a major achievement for Mike Tomlin’s crew.

Bottom Line: No team in the league lost two more talented players, and Brown and Bell defined Pittsburgh’s offseason, but much of it was out of the Steelers’ hands.

–Field Level Media

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Cleveland Browns training camp primer

Cleveland Browns training camp primer

New faces: WR Odell Beckham Jr., DT Sheldon

Cleveland Browns training camp primer

New faces: WR Odell Beckham Jr., DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Olivier Vernon, RB Kareem Hunt, CB Greedy Williams, S Morgan Burnett, S Eric Murray

They’re gone: G Kevin Zeitler, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, QB Tyrod Taylor, LB Jamie Collins, WR Breshad Perriman, TE Darren Fells, OT Desmond Harrison

2019 snapshot: John Dorsey sure isn’t shy about swinging for the fences. With an already impressive roster, the Browns’ GM heaped on more talent this offseason, albeit taking some risks in the process.

How risky those moves prove to be might depend on Dorsey’s first decision, which was to hire Freddie Kitchens as head coach. The former RBs coach and interim offensive coordinator was a somewhat surprising choice, but he provides continuity for second-year QB Baker Mayfield. Now, can Kitchens manage all of Cleveland’s personalities?

Beckham’s talent far outweighs the headaches he creates, and his acquisition could be the single most impactful of the offseason. The compensation (pick Nos. 17 and 95, plus Peppers) was a bargain, and if Beckham and college teammate Jarvis Landry feed off each other, the move will look even better.

Dorsey also added disruption up front by inking Richardson (three years, $37 million) and trading for Vernon, and he nabbed one of the draft’s top cornerbacks in Williams despite losing draft capital in the deal for Beckham.

Trading Zeitler (for Vernon) could hurt the offensive line, but 2018 second-rounder Austin Corbett should be ready to step in at right guard. Trusting Greg Robinson to hold up for a whole season at left tackle is bold, though he performed well in the second half of 2018. Hunt’s addition also was risky, but the payoff could be huge if the Pro Bowl selection can stay on the field.

Worth the investment?

Everyone with a dollar is ready to buy the Browns, but at what cost? They’re no longer a value bet and books are starting to swing the pendulum to reflect the amount of buy-in they’re seeing in Cleveland.

Mayfield remains a decent get in the MVP race, however, at 25-1. Sounds rich, we know, considering his treading into Drew Brees-Matt Ryan territory if the Browns get off to a hot start. That also means he’s presently at value at Break it down in the simplest of terms: Quarterbacks win MVP in this league, and if the Browns write the miracle playoff run some think is possible, it’ll be Mayfield playing the role Patrick Mahomes did for the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs.

Bottom Line: It’s hard to argue with adding so much talent. If Kitchens proves to be the right hire, this is a grand slam.

–Field Level Media

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Cincinnati Bengals training camp primer

Cincinnati Bengals training camp primer

New faces: OT Jonah Williams, OG John Miller, CB B.W. Webb, DT

Cincinnati Bengals training camp primer

New faces: OT Jonah Williams, OG John Miller, CB B.W. Webb, DT Kerry Wynn, TE Drew Sample, LB Germaine Pratt

They’re gone: TE Tyler Kroft, LB Vontaze Burfict, DE Michael Johnson, LB Vincent Rey, OT Cedric Ogbuehi

2019 snapshot: One of the league’s most conservative teams, the Bengals went off the rails — by their standards — in not only firing head coach Marvin Lewis but hiring a young, offensive mind from outside the organization in Zac Taylor. Lewis’ tenure probably should have ended much earlier, but the team deserves credit for passing on familiar-but-lackluster options and swinging big with Taylor instead.

Other than the coaching change, the Bengals were predictably unflashy. They re-signed a trio of average-at-best players (OT Bobby Hart, LB Preston Brown, TE C.J. Uzomah) to surprisingly lucrative three-year deals (each more than $16 million), then gave similar contracts to Miller and Webb, both of whom were below-average starters with their former teams.

Cincinnati managed to keep a few talented players on short one-year contracts in TE Tyler Eifert ($4 million) and CB Darqueze Dennard ($4.5 million) and released Burfict, which was overdue.

A meat-and-potatoes draft added some nice pieces — including the potential long-term left tackle in Williams — but taking a blocking tight end (Sample) in Round 2 after re-signing two players at the position was awfully rich. Pratt (third round) could break into a mediocre linebacking corps, but he remains raw. It’s also worth wondering if the Bengals should have drafted a quarterback such as Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock, as they might not get a similar chance again soon.

Worth the investment?

Losing rookie tackle Williams to a season-ending injury is a major hit for the MVP chances of running back Joe Mixon and quarterback Andy Dalton, who were well down the board to begin with. In a division defined by defense, not having a blindside protector for Dalton is a big variable to factor into any futures.

That includes the W/L number, which checks in at a modest 6.

Bottom Line: Cincinnati finally made a much-needed coaching overhaul, but the roster doesn’t look much better elsewhere. Plenty of work remains, and getting to 6-10 will not be easy.

–Field Level Media

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Baltimore Ravens training camp primer

Baltimore Ravens training camp primer

New faces: S Earl Thomas

Baltimore Ravens training camp primer

New faces: S Earl Thomas III, RB Mark Ingram II, WR Marquise Brown, OLB Jaylon Ferguson, WR Miles Boykin, OLB Pernell McPhee, OLB Shane Ray, CB Justin Bethel, WR Seth Roberts

They’re gone: LB C.J. Mosley, S Eric Weddle, OLB Terrell Suggs, QB Joe Flacco, OLB Za’Darius Smith, WR John Brown, DT Brent Urban, WR Michael Crabtree, RB Alex Collins

2019 snapshot: Even for a team used to letting talent walk in favor of compensatory picks, the Ravens had to be a little alarmed by how many big names departed this offseason. Obviously Flacco’s departure was inevitable — and he fetched a fourth-round pick despite the Ravens having no leverage — and Weddle was released.

But Baltimore likely didn’t expect Mosely, Suggs and Smith all to leave in free agency. Mosely’s departure was particularly concerning as (along with Weddle) a defensive leader and communicator, and no apparent replacement was added at inside linebacker.

New GM Eric DeCosta countered with the terrific signing of Thomas, who is still near his physical prime at age 30 but also brings the leadership, versatility and ability to disguise that Weddle offered. On the edge, DeCosta didn’t overpay for replacements, instead trying cheap one-year fliers on Ray and McPhee and drafting Ferguson, the NCAA’s all-time sack leader, in Round 3.

On offense, Baltimore made a concerted effort to build around QB Lamar Jackson, promoting Greg Roman to offensive coordinator, re-signing sturdy blocking TE Nick Boyle and adding speed (Brown and Boykin) at wideout. Mark Ingram (three years, $15 million) cost a bit much, but he should be very productive with Jackson drawing so much attention. More competition at center would have been nice, but the O-line remains solid.

Worth the investment?

At 100/1, Lamar Jackson is not a heavy favorite to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award. But considering his short resume as a pro and peers in the same range – including Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack – more than a few dollars are like to land on No. 8 this summer.

Bottom Line: Some of the Ravens’ plans were likely shaken by free agency, but they still managed to build around Jackson, which was priority No. 1.

–Field Level Media

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Detroit Lions training camp primer

Detroit Lions training camp primer

New faces: DE Trey Flowers, CB Justin

Detroit Lions training camp primer

New faces: DE Trey Flowers, CB Justin Coleman, TE Jesse James, WR Danny Amendola, RB C.J. Anderson, TE T.J. Hockenson, LB Jahlani Tavai, CB Rashaan Melvin, WR Jermaine Kearse, G Oday Aboushi, S Will Harris

They’re gone: DE Ezekiel Ansah, G T.J. Lang, S Glover Quin, RB LeGarrette Blount, CB Nevin Lawson, DT Kerry Hyder, FB Nick Bellore, TE Luke Willson, TE Levine Toilolo, TE Michael Roberts

2019 snapshot: The Lions didn’t hold back in free agency, handing massive contracts to Flowers (five years, $90 million) and Coleman (four years, $36 million) plus an ample deal for James (four years, $22.6 million) and a one-year flier on Amendola ($4.5 million). Each could prove to be upgrades, but it’s hard to imagine any outperforming his contract, so there isn’t much upside.

The rest of Detroit’s offseason was about reshaping the offense, as coordinator Jim Bob Cooter was allowed to walk, with Darrell Bevell arriving to replace him. Matt Patricia and Bevell have been adamant about building through the running game, an uncommon approach in today’s NFL, but Hockenson will certainly help the cause. He should contribute from Day 1 as a receiver and blocker, giving Detroit schematic flexibility and options in the run game and off play-action. Anderson should join Kerryon Johnson to form a quality backfield duo.

Even if offensive issues are solved, the defense still has holes. Tavai is the sort of multi-faceted linebacker Patricia loves, but the Lions don’t have any true edge pass rusher (Flowers is best off working inside). Another outside cornerback must step up, especially if Darius Slay’s holdout for a new contract continues. Damon Harrison is also holding out for a new deal, and the Lions’ run defense was a mess before he arrived last year.

Worth the investment?

–The Lions were big spenders in the offseason, but will they be able to cash out in the win column? Oddsmakers aren’t so sure. The consensus over-under win total is 7 after going 6-10 a year ago.

Bottom Line: The Lions added talent and have a clear plan, but a run-first offense and free agent spending sprees rarely breed success in today’s NFL.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Camp holdout still possible for Cowboys’ Elliott

Report: Camp holdout still possible for Cowboys' Elliott

Report: Camp holdout still possible for Cowboys’ Elliott

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has not ruled out a holdout during training camp as the sides explore the possibility of a new contract, NFL Network reported.

“From what I’m told, as recently as yesterday, all options are still on the table,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on “Good Morning Football.” The fourth-year running back “still has not yet firmly decided whether or not he is going to hold out. If he does not hold out, that means contract talks are going in the right direction or at least he trusts the Cowboys to get a deal done.”

Elliott, who was the fourth overall selection by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft, still has two years remaining on his rookie contract. He will make $3.85 million in the upcoming season, with an option in 2020 for $9.01 million.

The Ohio State product rushed for an NFL-leading 1,434 yards in 2018, and his 95.6 yards per game also led the league. He had six rushing touchdowns and three receiving.

Elliott, 24, has started all 40 games he has played in over the past three seasons, He has rushed for 4,048 yards on 868 carries with 28 touchdowns. He also has 135 receptions for 1,199 yards and six more TDs.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-Maryland coach Durkin assisting at Falcons camp

Ex-Maryland coach Durkin assisting at Falcons camp

DJ Durkin, ousted

Ex-Maryland coach Durkin assisting at Falcons camp

DJ Durkin, ousted as Maryland’s football coach after the death of one of his players, is working as a training camp assistant coach with the Atlanta Falcons.

Durkin was one of four camp-only coaches announced by head coach Dan Quinn, ESPN reported Monday.

Maryland fired Durkin after an investigation into circumstances surrounding tackle Jordan McNair, who fell ill during a practice on May 29, 2018, and later died. Durkin was put on administrative leave on Aug. 11, 2018, following an ESPN report that described the culture in the Terrapins program as “toxic.” He was reinstated in late October and fired the following day amid an uproar.

Last December, Alabama coach Nick Saban brought in Durkin as a short-term consultant for the Crimson Tide.

While he called McNair’s death an “unfortunate situation, of course,” Quinn defended his decision.

“I know DJ firsthand, about what he is as a coach,” Quinn said. “I’ve coached with him. And I know what his character is. We did all of our due diligence of calling everybody at Maryland and had our own follow-up to there. So what I would know is, in the past, we’ve had Ron Wolf come to help me with another set of eyes. Last year, Darrell Bevell coming into the same role.

“I think it’s a huge advantage that you can have somebody of respect and can look at some certain things to help your team in the evaluation.”

Durkin, 41, was an assistant coach at Florida for five seasons. In two of those seasons, Quinn was the defensive coordinator for the Gators.

“It’s not that unusual for me to have people come to be a part of our program and add value to it for a smaller period of time,” Quinn said. “I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again in the future.”

–Field Level Media

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Chicago Bears training camp primer

Chicago Bears training camp primer

New faces: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, CB Buster Skrine, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, RB

Chicago Bears training camp primer

New faces: S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, CB Buster Skrine, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, RB Mike Davis, RB David Montgomery, WR Riley Ridley, G Ted Larsen

They’re gone: S Adrian Amos, CB Bryce Callahan, RB Jordan Howard, WR Josh Bellamy, G Eric Kush, TE Dion Sims, WR Kevin White, K Cody Parkey

2019 snapshot: Virtually any defense that reaches the heights Chicago’s did in 2018 is bound to regress some, but the Bears might be in for a larger slide than most. It’s not the team’s fault that Vic Fangio is gone, but Chicago could have promoted Ed Donatell to D-coordinator to maintain Fangio’s scheme. Instead, Donatell followed Fangio to Denver, and Chuck Pagano took over the Bears’ D. Pagano has ample talent at his disposal, but his defenses in Indianapolis were disappointing. Chicago also lost talent in the secondary, with Clinton-Dix and Skrine replacing Amos and Callahan, respectively, albeit at friendlier prices.

The Bears put most of their efforts into supplementing the offense, as Davis and Montgomery should be an upgrade to Howard in the backfield, and Patterson and Ridley complement a talented receiving corps. The O-line remains solid, with James Daniels moving to center (Cody Whitehair will bump out to guard) and RT Bobby Massie retained (four years, $32 million), giving quarterback Mitchell Trubisky no excuses.

Chicago’s kicking situation remains concerning, as Parkey was released one year into a big contract, and no obvious replacement emerged in the months that followed. Of the series of offseason additions at kickers, several already have been released, and those who made it through the summer did so despite missing multiple kicks at OTAs and minicamp.

Worth the investment?

–Trubisky started near 100-1 at some books in the MVP derby. Perhaps he’s worthy of that billing, but investors drove him up to 25-1 and even higher before training camp began.

Bottom Line: Without much cap space or a first- or second-round pick, the Bears didn’t have much room to upgrade, but they could have done more to fight defensive regression.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots’ Edelman (thumb) to miss about three weeks

Report: Patriots' Edelman (thumb) to miss about three weeks

New England Patriots

Report: Patriots’ Edelman (thumb) to miss about three weeks

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has a finger injury and will be out about three weeks, ESPN reported on Monday.

Over the weekend, Edelman had a brace on his left thumb while working at his youth camp, and whether the thumb was broken wasn’t clear.

The Patriots open training camp later this week in Foxborough, Mass.

With Edelman on the sideline, quarterback Tom Brady will be without his favorite target, having already lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement. He also will be missing receiver Josh Gordon, who is suspended, and offensive weapons Sony Michel and Demaryius Thomas, who are on the physically unable to perform list as camp opens.

“I’m extremely excited for the new year. This is a new team,” Edelman said at his camp, per ESPN. “With training camp coming up, this is kind of like when school is back in session. We had summer break. You get to see all the fellas and this is where you learn your team, learn each other and become accountable for each other, and create a consistency together.

“This is like the beginning shape form of your team, these next few weeks. It’s a crucial point. You put a lot of hard work in during the spring and it’s the next step until you’re playing with other teams. ”

Edelman is entering his 10th NFL season, all with New England. In 2018, he caught 74 passes for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. He served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Edelman had 10 receptions for 141 yards and was named MVP of New England’s 13-3 win against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.

In May, the Patriots finalized a two-year extension worth $21 million with the 33-year-old receiver.

–Field Level Media

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Green Bay Packers training camp primer

Green Bay Packers training camp primer

New faces: OLB Za'Darius Smith, OLB Preston Smith,

Green Bay Packers training camp primer

New faces: OLB Za’Darius Smith, OLB Preston Smith, S Adrian Amos, OL Billy Turner, DE/OLB Rashan Gary, S Darnell Savage, OL Elgton Jenkins, TE Jace Sternberger, TE Michael Roberts

They’re gone: OLB Clay Matthews, WR Randall Cobb, OLB Nick Perry, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, LB Jake Ryan, CB Bashaud Breeland, CB Davon House, OL Byron Bell

2019 snapshot: In one of the more active Packers offseasons in recent memory, an interesting dichotomy emerged: The offense was overhauled schematically under a new head coach, but almost all personnel resources were devoted to the defense. Clearly, GM Brian Gutekunst is confident that Matt LaFleur — who has worked on the staffs of Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan– can find the right recipe for Aaron Rodgers & Co., as he added just two linemen (Turner and Jenkins) and a mid-round flex tight end (Sternberger) on offense.

On defense, Gutekunst backed up the Brinks truck (combined $118 million over four years) for the Smiths (unrelated) to replace Matthews and Perry (both released) on the edge. He also took mega-talent Rashan Gary — who could line up all over the place in Mike Pettine’s defense — with the 12th overall pick in the draft and made major investments at safety in Amos (four years, $37 million) and Savage (trade up to 21st overall). That gives Pettine plenty of toys to play with in a shape-shifting defense, but it all must come together.

Glowing offseason reports about wide receiver Marquez-Valdes Scantling soothed concerns about a young group of skill-position players, but it was still surprising to see no wideout drafted. Sternberger is ready to contribute as a receiver right away, but he’ll have to fight Jimmy Graham for snaps. Of course, how Rodgers takes to LaFleur’s offense will supersede all else.

Worth the investment?

–Not even the most optimistic Packers backers can be certain of the direction this team will take amid a major offseason change. But Aaron Rodgers, when healthy, is bound to get you to .500. Could he have 12 wins in him? The win/loss over-under line consensus is 9.5.

Bottom Line: Green Bay was probably too aggressive in spots, and a few holes remain. But if LaFleur unleashes Rodgers, this team will be back in Super Bowl contention.

–Field Level Media

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Minnesota Vikings training camp primer

Minnesota Vikings training camp primer

New faces: G Josh Kline, DT Shamar

Minnesota Vikings training camp primer

New faces: G Josh Kline, DT Shamar Stephen, C Garrett Bradbury, TE Irv Smith Jr., RB Alexander Mattison, G Dru Samia

They’re gone: DT Sheldon Richardson, RB Latavius Murray, OT Mike Remmers, S Andrew Sendejo, C Nick Easton, S George Iloka, QB Trevor Siemian, CB/PR Marcus Sherels

2019 snapshot: Priority No. 1 for Minnesota was to get the offense back on track, with a clear emphasis on coaching and the offensive line.

Gary Kubiak arrived to assist offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, and the duo should be good for QB Kirk Cousins. Perhaps more important, Bradbury (first round) and Kline (free agency) will help shore up the interior and get the outside-zone running game going, opening up a wealth of play-action designs. With Riley Reiff and Brian O’Neil — who impressed as a raw rookie in 2018 — on the outside, the front five should be strong enough.

The rest of the Vikings’ offseason was about balancing salaries within a small window of cap room, but the results were mixed. The departures of Murray, Remmers, Sendejo and Easton were expected, but Richardson (who got three years and $37 million in Cleveland) might have been a better investment than LB Anthony Barr, who was retained for five years, $67.5 million, especially when considering positional value.

Likewise, TE Kyle Rudolph’s extension (four years, $36 million) seemed far too rich. Rudolph isn’t much more than average as a receiver or a blocker, and Smith appeared to be the obvious long-term starter. On the bright side, Minnesota got Everson Griffen to accept a pay cut and extended Adam Thielen at a reasonable price (four years, $64.2 million), a nice reward for an undrafted, homegrown talent.

Worth the investment?

–At 50-1, Kirk Cousins might look like a bargain buy for a playoff team. His poor showings in big games – and vs. teams with winning records – would seem to tell another story. Cousins could be a good bet if he puts up great numbers for a division winner, but his reputation will not be easily overcome.

Bottom Line: The deals for Barr and Rudolph felt like luxuries, but the Vikings improved up front without destroying their cap. Not bad.

–Field Level Media

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Buffalo Bills training camp primer

Buffalo Bills training camp primer

New faces: C Mitch Morse, DT Ed Oliver, WR

Buffalo Bills training camp primer

New faces: C Mitch Morse, DT Ed Oliver, WR John Brown, WR Cole Beasley, OL Cody Ford, OG Spencer Long, OG Quinton Spain, OT Ty Nsekhe, OT LaAdrian Waddle, TE Tyler Kroft, TE Lee Smith, TE Dawson Knox, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Frank Gore, RB Devin Singletary, CB Kevin Johnson, CB E.J. Gaines, WR Andre Roberts

They’re gone: DT Kyle Williams, TE Charles Clay, OG John Miller, OT Jordan Mills, WR Deonte Thompson

2019 snapshot: Mostly patient a year ago, the Bills went crazy in free agency this offseason, adding both quality and quantity with all kinds of deals.

Morse isn’t worth the largest contract in NFL history for a center (four years, $44.5 million), but GM Brandon Beane found bargains on the O-line in Nsekhe (two years, $10 million), Spain (one year, $2 million) and Waddle (one year, $2 million). After jumping up in Round 2 to nab Ford — who could play tackle or guard — the Bills should have a much improved front five with four new starters.

Buffalo found QB Josh Allen more weapons in Brown, Beasley, Kroft and Knox, a third-rounder with athletic upside. Each were reasonable investments, especially because they’ll help determine just how quickly Allen is progressing. Answers were also added to replace the aging LeSean McCoy, with Singletary (third round) drafted and Gore and Yeldon added in free agency.

Despite extending contract-year DE Jerry Hughes, the Bills didn’t add an edge rusher to complement him, which they might regret unless Shaq Lawson takes a major step. On the bright side, though, they managed to get Oliver at No. 9 overall. Not nearly the polished pass rusher Aaron Donald was coming out of Pitt, Oliver nonetheless has similar athletic gifts and will be disruptive (if not a finisher) from Day 1.

Worth the investment?

–Two years removed from a 9-7 campaign and a playoff appearance, the Bills are certainly capable of going over seven wins. But Allen must develop as a passer, making this a bit of a risky play.

–Only one team, the 2008 Dolphins, has taken the AFC East from the New England Patriots since 2003, and that was with Tom Brady missing virtually all season. Even at +700, the Bills’ odds to win their first division title since 1995 probably aren’t worth taking.

Bottom line: The spending spree looked a little wild, but the Bills structured contracts smartly and didn’t take on much risk. They also managed to address most major holes, with plenty of upside in the draft class.

–Field Level Media

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp primer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp primer

New faces: DT Ndamukong Suh, LB Deone Bucannon, OLB Shaquil Barrett, LB Devin

Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp primer

New faces: DT Ndamukong Suh, LB Deone Bucannon, OLB Shaquil Barrett, LB Devin White, WR Breshad Perriman, QB Blaine Gabbert, P Bradley Pinion, CB Sean Bunting, CB Jamel Dean, K Matt Gay

They’re gone: DT Gerald McCoy, LB Kwon Alexander, WR DeSean Jackson, WR Adam Humphries, CB Brent Grimes, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, DE Vinny Curry

2019 snapshot: A disappointing team in an extremely difficult division, the Bucs might have made their biggest upgrades this offseason in the coaching staff.

Replacing Dirk Koetter is Bruce Arians, fresh off a one-year retirement. He brought many of the key pieces from his successful staff in Arizona, including D-coordinator Todd Bowles, offensive minds Harold Goodwin and Byron Leftwich, and special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Elsewhere, GM Jason Licht’s approach raised more question marks. LT Donovan Smith’s extension (three years, $41.3 million) was reasonable in an out-of-control O-line market, as was letting Alexander depart for San Francisco at a ridiculous price (four years, $54 million). But while White (fifth overall pick) should thrive in place of Alexander, he represented an exorbitant investment at a position of marginal value, while the Bucs spent fewer resources on the edge. Barrett was a bargain, but there are few other dangerous rushers after Jason Pierre-Paul’s neck injury.

Releasing McCoy and signing Suh while saving $3.75 million seems like a win, but Suh isn’t necessarily the better player, and he’s certainly not the leader McCoy was. Licht also invested heavily at both kicker (Gay) — a few years after his disastrous trade-up for Roberto Aguayo — and punter (Pinion), positions that rarely justify any sort of significant price tag or draft capital.

Worth the investment?

–The Bucs went 5-11 last season and shouldn’t be any worse, so going over their 6.5 over/under win total is certainly achievable, as long as Jameis Winston clicks with Arians.

–Speaking of Winston, his MVP odds (+10000) are tied for 37th-best in the NFL, behind several wideouts and even defensive players. Given Arians’ history — he helped Carson Palmer finish as an MVP runner-up in 2015 — that could be one of the best longshots on the board.

Bottom line: Bringing in Arians gives Winston his best shot at success, but it’s hard to get on board with the rest of what Licht did. The GM’s job could well depend on this season.

–Field Level Media

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Carolina Panthers training camp primer

Carolina Panthers training camp primer

New faces: C Matt Paradis, DT Gerald McCoy, DE/OLB Bruce Irvin,

Carolina Panthers training camp primer

New faces: C Matt Paradis, DT Gerald McCoy, DE/OLB Bruce Irvin, WR Chris Hogan, DE/OLB Brian Burns, OT Greg Little, QB Will Grier

They’re gone: C Ryan Kalil, DE Julius Peppers, LB Thomas Davis, WR Devin Funchess, OT Matt Kalil, OT Chris Clark, S Mike Adams

2019 snapshot: A year after changing ownership, the Panthers faced significant turnover brought on by a number of different factors. Franchise icons in Ryan Kalil and Peppers retired, while a third (Davis) was allowed to walk in free agency.

Paradis should be a nice replacement for Kalil — as long as his surgically repaired ankle holds up — and McCoy will help replace some of Peppers’ leadership while Burns and Irvin try to rev up the edge rush. The unit will look different for another reason as well, with Ron Rivera and D-coordinator Eric Washington employing more 3-4 looks.

In addition to Paradis up front, the Panthers added Little (second round), retained Daryl Williams on a friendly deal (one year, $6 million) and released Matt Kalil. Little is raw and has had his motor questioned, while Williams has struggled to stay healthy, but between the pair and Taylor Moton, the tackle position should be OK.

That’s important because Cam Newton is still working his way back from shoulder surgery, though he progressed to throwing a regulation football during OTAs. Grier’s selection raised concerns about Newton, but all signs point to the former MVP being ready for the regular season. Before he was hurt in 2018, he thrived under new O-coordinator Norv Turner, so optimism is warranted if Newton is indeed healthy.

Worth the investment?

–Newton’s injury overshadowed how excellent the Panthers were when he was fully healthy last season. The possibility that Carolina returns to that form makes the over on a 7.5-win total extremely enticing.

–Even if Newton is fully healthy, what are the odds he’ll return to his 2015 MVP form? Bovada has them at +4000, on par with two Rams (Jared Goff and Aaron Donald), which feels a bit risky.

Bottom line: Carolina did well to address its biggest holes, though most of its moves still carried risk. The Panthers could thrive if everything clicks as planned.

–Field Level Media

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New Orleans Saints training camp primer

New Orleans Saints training camp primer

New faces: TE

New Orleans Saints training camp primer

New faces: TE Jared Cook, C Nick Easton, DT Malcom Brown, RB Latavius Murray, DT Mario Edwards, C Erik McCoy, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB/PR Marcus Sherels

They’re gone: C Max Unger, RB Mark Ingram, DE Alex Okafor, TE Benjamin Watson, S Kurt Coleman, LB Manti Te’o

2019 snapshot: After years of borrowing against the future to upgrade the present, the Saints certainly weren’t going to stop this offseason, not with Drew Brees at age 40 and the team still firmly on the doorstep of another Super Bowl appearance. For most other teams, that would be irresponsible roster management, but it’s hard to fault the Saints for trying to maximize the window to win a championship.

In free agency, New Orleans nabbed Cook, the sort of receiving tight end Brees hasn’t had since Jimmy Graham was traded to Seattle. They also added a possible replacement for Unger in Easton, found insurance for injured DT Sheldon Rankins by signing Brown and Edwards, and replaced the departed Ingram with a slightly cheaper deal for Murray. New Orleans also retained Teddy Bridgewater for just $7.25 million, keeping alive the possibility he could be Brees’ successor.

Absent their first-round pick because of last year’s trade-up for Marcus Davenport, the Saints traded up again this year for McCoy (second round) and Gardner-Johnson (fourth), leaving little else in their draft class. McCoy will battle Easton for the job to replace Unger.

New Orleans still has work to do, as Michael Thomas needs an extension entering the final year of his rookie deal. On the plus side, the Saints found room for a Cameron Jordan extension (three years, $52.5 million).

Worth the investment?

–Only the Patriots (11) have a higher over/under than the Saints (10.5). New Orleans could still hit, but 11 wins is a high bar for any team to reach.

–It’s remarkable that Brees, a 12-time Pro Bowler in 18 seasons, still has not won an MVP award. He has the fourth-best odds this season (+1000), but his decline down the stretch last season makes that a risky play.

Our Take: They’ll eventually have to pay off all their debts, but the Saints set themselves up for a run at Super Bowl LIV.

–Field Level Media

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