Trubisky doubtful for Bears’ Thanksgiving matchup with Lions

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears will meet for the second time in 12 days — yet this matchup already looks a lot different.

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago’s starting quarterback, is doubtful for Thursday’s rematch with the Lions because of a right shoulder injury.

That means Chase Daniel, who has barely played in the NFL since 2014, may take the field for the NFC North-leading Bears under the Thanksgiving spotlight.

“We’re on a short week. So regardless, there’s not a lot you can do. The nice thing about having a guy like Chase, regardless of which direction you go, is I was Chase’s quarterback coach in Kansas City for three years,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said.

“So, I know Chase inside out and he knows me. And so, that’s why you bring in a guy like Chase, is not only for his expertise in this offense, but in the way he handles his position each and every week.”

Trubisky threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns in Chicago’s 34-22 win over the Lions on Nov. 11. Now the teams face each other again less than two weeks later. The Bears (7-3) have won four straight.

Detroit (4-6) is in the middle of a three-game homestand that began with a victory over Carolina last weekend, but rookie running back Kerryon Johnson left that game with a knee injury. He won’t play Thursday.

So both teams have health concerns coming into this game — and they haven’t had much time to adjust to any potential lineup changes. The 32-year-old Daniel has started two games in his NFL career, and he hasn’t attempted a pass since the 2016 season.

“The guy is very versed in the system. He’s played in it for a while,” Detroit coach Matt Patricia said. “A little bit different than Trubisky, but as far as the operation of the offense, none of that really will change.”

Here are a few other things to know about Detroit’s matchup with Chicago:

EVEN QUICKER TURNAROUND

The Lions haven’t had much time to prepare for this game after playing last weekend, but the Bears had even less time to recover, since their Sunday game against Minnesota was at night.

So when Thursday’s game kicks off around 12:30 p.m. local time, Chicago will have had about 3½ days since the end of its previous game.

“Our guys, once we knew it, we prepped them on what our game plan is as far as making sure they’re mentally and physically strong and how they have to treat it,” Nagy said.

“So, it’s a positive to be flexed into a night game like we were last week, but now we have to make sure that we handle our business.”

THANKSGIVING HISTORY

Only Green Bay has faced the Lions more times on Thanksgiving than the Bears. Chicago and Detroit have split their previous 16 Thanksgiving meetings. The Lions lost to Minnesota last year, ending their four-game winning streak on Thanksgiving.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

Kenny Golladay has a long way to go before approaching Calvin Johnson’s accomplishments, but the 6-foot-4 receiver has already made his share of acrobatic catches in his young career, including the winning touchdown against Carolina.

“His ball skills are really good. He makes play after play,” Nagy said. “He’s somebody that I was aware of, but the more you watch him, you really appreciate his game.”

Golladay became even more important for Detroit after the Lions traded Golden Tate — and now that Marvin Jones has missed time with a knee injury. Jones has been ruled out of Thursday’s game.

IMPROVING

Detroit is ranked 24th in the league against the run, but the Lions held Carolina to 56 yards on the ground, and the Bears had only 54 the previous week.

FRANCHISE QB

Detroit’s Matthew Stafford has a passer rating of 100.8 in his past six Thanksgiving games, but he’ll have his work cut out for him against a talented Chicago defense — and with Johnson and Jones unavailable.

“You just have to do what you do and do it well,” Stafford said. “Obviously, they have really good players, they have a really good scheme. There are strengths at all three levels of the defense. Their front is playing as good as any front in the league right now. I think they have two really good linebackers and their secondary is playing great, too.”

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Lions welcome DE Flowers with $90M deal

Lions welcome DE Flowers with $90M deal

Lions welcome DE Flowers with $90M deal

Trey Flowers put pen to paper on a $90 million contract Thursday, 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 coached Flowers as defensive coordinator with the Patriots before he became head coach of the Lions last season.

Flowers racked up 21 sacks and 59 QB hits over the past three seasons. He received a $28 million signing bonus.

At an average of $18 million per season, Flowers’ annual salary exceeds the current number for franchise tagged defensive ends.

Bears linebacker Khalil Mack ($23.5 million), Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($22.5 million), Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence ($20.6 million) and Broncos linebacker Von Miller ($19.02 million) are scheduled to take home more per season than Flowers.

–Field Level Media

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Jets release RB Crowell with Bell in tow

Jets release RB Crowell with Bell in tow

One

Jets release RB Crowell with Bell in tow

One day after signing Le’Veon Bell to a $52.5 million deal, the New York Jets released incumbent starting running back Isaiah Crowell.

Crowell signed with the Jets in free agency last March after four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Crowell’s release initiates a $2 million cap hit for 2019.

He had a team-high 143 carries for 685 yards and six touchdowns for the Jets in 2018.

While Bell didn’t play last season, the plan is to keep him on the field as a three-down back in head coach Adam Gase’s system. Bell had 7,996 yards from scrimmage and 42 touchdowns in 62 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints restructure Brees’ contract, create $11M in cap space

Report: Saints restructure Brees’ contract, create $11M in cap space

Report: Saints restructure Brees’ contract, create $11M in cap space

The New Orleans Saints restructured quarterback Drew Brees’ contract in order to clear up $10.8 million in cap space for this season, NFL Network reported Thursday.

Brees will make $22.7 million in 2019, and the $10.8 million will get deferred to count against the team’s cap in 2020 to the tune of $21.3 million overall, whether the future Hall of Famer is on the team or not.

But it’s a win-now move for the Saints, who are reportedly trying to resign backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and make a play for free agent tight end Jared Cook.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia

The Arizona Cardinals

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia

The Arizona Cardinals continue to revamp their offensive line, reportedly coming to terms with free agent offensive lineman Max Garcia.

Garcia was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2015 draft and played in 56 games for the team, starting 41. Garcia is primarily a left guard but has played some on the right side. Garcia 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 Pittsburgh OT Marcus Gilbert and come to terms with former Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins release LB Brown, DT McGee

Redskins release LB Brown, DT McGee

Redskins release LB Brown, DT McGee

Linebacker Zach Brown and defensive tackle Stacy McGee were released by the Washington Redskins on Wednesday.

Brown was on the trading block, according to NFL Network, but the Redskins did not find a partner.

The Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets are reportedly in the market for inside linebacker help. However, the Jets agreed to a deal with Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley on Monday.

The 29-year-old Brown has played for the Titans, Bills and Redskins, posting five seasons with 90-plus tackles.

Releasing Brown saves the Redskins $5.75 million against the 2019 salary cap, and the franchise recovers $2.27 million by cutting McGee.

McGee turned 29 in January and the 330-pound nose tackle was caught up in a numbers game on the Washington defensive line. He has played in 75 career games but only eight last season.

He played in all 16 games and logged 432 snaps in 2017 but required offseason groin surgery and started 2018 on the physically unable to perform list.

–Field Level Media

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WR Perriman joins Bucs instead of Browns

WR Perriman joins Bucs instead of Browns

Free agent wide

WR Perriman joins Bucs instead of Browns

Free agent wide receiver Breshad Perriman was set to sign a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns, but backed out after they agreed to a trade for Odell Beckham Jr., according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Instead, Perriman signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, the team announced. Per multiple reports, the deal is worth $4 million, the same amount he was set to make in Cleveland..

A first-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, Perriman has struggled to make an impact in the NFL. He made just four starts in 27 appearances over three seasons in Baltimore, then signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent in 2018 only to be released days later.

He latched on with the injury-depleted Browns last season and had 16 catches for 340 yards and two touchdowns.

According to reports, the addition of Beckham concerned Perriman, who is hoping to have a breakout season that will let him earn a larger contract next offseason.

The Buccaneers lost receivers DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries this offseason.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars officially sign Foles, release Bortles

Jaguars officially sign Foles, release Bortles

Jaguars officially sign Foles, release Bortles

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Wednesday they have acquired free agent quarterback Nick Foles and released Blake Bortles.

A news conference is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, at which time the club will introduce Foles. A video posted to the team’s Twitter feed showed a jersey being made with the No. 7 and Foles’ name on the back.

While the team did not disclose any contract terms, reports earlier this week put the deal at four years and $88 million, with $50 million guaranteed and incentives that can push the total money beyond the $100 million mark.

“We’re really, really thrilled that Nick wanted to be a Jaguar,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who worked with Foles in Philadelphia, told the team’s website.

Bortles’ release came less than two hours after the announcement of Foles’ signing.

Over the last few weeks, all signs pointed to the Jaguars signing Foles, who was allowed to enter free agency by the Philadelphia Eagles after guiding the team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, including a run to the Super Bowl XII championship to cap the 2017 season. Foles, named MVP of that game, then took over for Carson Wentz down the stretch again in 2018 when a back injury ended Wentz’s season, and he pushed Philadelphia into a divisional playoff matchup at New Orleans.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman announced at the NFL Scouting Combine that Foles “deserves to lead a team.”

“We had conversations at the end of the season, and he knew where I stood and how I felt about him,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “Obviously, he’s a big part of our success the past two years. It’s an opportunity now for him to become a starter, and I’m excited for him to do that.”

Wentz was out during the Super Bowl run recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. Last season, he missed the final month of the regular season, plus two playoff games, with a fracture in his back. Wentz is expected to make a full recovery and return as the starter in 2019.

The Jaguars gave Bortles, a first-round pick in 2014 who hasn’t developed into a consistent starter, a three-year, $54 contract last year, but he went 3-9 and was benched for Cody Kessler.

Bortles’ release will save Jacksonville just $4.5 million against the cap, while leaving $16.5 million in dead money, unless Bortles is designated as a June 1 release. That would create an additional $5 million savings in 2019 by diverting $5 million in dead money to 2020.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars re-sign G Cann for 3 years, reported $15M

Jaguars re-sign G Cann for 3 years, reported $15M

Jaguars re-sign G Cann for 3 years, reported $15M

The Jacksonville Jaguars re-signed right guard A.J. Cann, the team announced Wednesday, to help protect their investment in new franchise quarterback Nick Foles.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the 27-year-old lineman agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal.

A third-round pick in 2015, Cann has started 59 of his 60 games with the Jaguars.

The 6-foot-3, 325-pounder led the offense with 934 snaps and was penalized only twice in 15 starts last season, once each for holding and a false start.

Jacksonville signed Foles on Wednesday to a reported four-year, $88 million contract with $50 million guaranteed.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers sign QB Taylor to two-year deal

Chargers sign QB Taylor to two-year deal

Chargers sign QB Taylor to two-year deal

Former Browns and Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor has agreed to a two-year deal to become a backup for the Chargers, the team announced Wednesday.

Taylor would serve as the No. 2 quarterback in Los Angeles behind Philip Rivers. Rivers is 37 but hasn’t missed a game since he became the primary starter for the franchise in 2006.

Taylor, acquired via trade by Cleveland from Buffalo last March, was unseated by Baker Mayfield as the starter on Sept. 20 when he left the team’s Thursday night primetime game against the New York Jets with a head injury.

With the Browns, Taylor completed 42 of his 85 attempts (49.4 percent) for 473 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in three starts (four games).

In seven previous seasons in the NFL with the Bills and Baltimore Ravens, Taylor completed 793 of his 1,271 attempts (62.4 percent) for 9,056 yards and 51 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He has familiarity with Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, as both were in Buffalo from 2015-16.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders, Steelers make Brown trade official

Raiders, Steelers make Brown trade official

Raiders, Steelers make Brown trade official

The Oakland Raiders officially announced their acquisition of wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday, shortly after the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET.

“In my opinion, we acquired the best wide receiver in football,” head coach Jon Gruden said at Brown’s welcome press conference. “Now, let’s get to work.”

“I am so excited to sit down next to Antonio Brown,” first-year general manager Mike Mayock added. “…He’s as good a practice football player and works as hard as any football player I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Brown, who was a few minutes late, showed up looking much different than the public has seen him much of the offseason, with his hair cut short and his blonde mustache gone. He voiced lofty goals for his future, saying he hopes to catch Jerry Rice in terms of longevity.

“It’s an honor to be here,” Brown said. “…I’m here to prove what I am and what I stand for, not just my words but my actions.”

Brown, 30, was acquired for third-round (66th overall) and fifth-round (141st overall) draft picks, and he received a new three-year, $50.125 million contract with $30.125 million guaranteed as part of the agreement. The Steelers were believed to be close to a deal with the Buffalo Bills late Thursday, but Buffalo backed out after learning that Brown desired a contract adjustment. The deal with the Raiders was reportedly reached in the early hours of Sunday.

“We weren’t even in on the process until Friday,” Mayock said of how the Raiders jumped into trade discussions late. “…When that deal fell through with Buffalo, we got involved.”

Asked if he has any regrets about his acrimonious departure from Pittsburgh — where he spent the first nine years of his career, earning seven Pro Bowl appearances and four first-team All-Pro nods — Brown said he appreciated his time with the Steelers.

“Pittsburgh will always be my family,” he said. “Those guys gave me a chance when I was a 21-year-old kid. Obviously people listen to the things that are being said and written, but at the end of the day, it’s all about how you make people feel.

“I think I make people feel really great and really inspired, the way they watched me go to work, the way they watched me play. I know Steeler nation is having a bad day today, but it’s always love.”

As for the Steelers themselves, general manager Kevin Colbert acknowledged that while Brown remains great, his departure was what the team needed.

“We believe the compensation, which will now give us four picks in the first 83 selections and 10 overall in the upcoming NFL draft, can benefit our efforts to improve our team in 2019 and beyond,” Colbert said in a statement. “Antonio remains one of the best players in the National Football League, but as we believe, this move was in the best interest of the Pittsburgh Steelers. We wish Antonio all the best the rest of his career.”

–Field Level Media

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Reports: QB Bridgewater visits Miami, puts Saints on hold

Reports: QB Bridgewater visits Miami, puts Saints on hold

Reports: QB Bridgewater visits Miami, puts Saints on hold

The Dolphins are making a last-ditch attempt to lure quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Miami before he signs a contract to return to the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe said Bridgewater was visiting the Dolphins practice facility Wednesday afternoon. ESPN’s Dianna Russini reported on air that Bridgewater is expected to join the Dolphins if the team will add a few million dollars to their offer.

On Tuesday, an NFL Network report said Bridgewater turned down more money from the Dolphins to return to New Orleans and serve as the heir apparent to 40-year-old Drew Brees.

Bridgewater, 26, signed a free agent contract with the New York Jets last spring. New Orleans traded a third-round pick to the Jets in August for Bridgewater, who proved during preseason he was healthy after a 2016 knee injury with the Minnesota Vikings. The Saints also received a sixth-round pick in the deal.

The Dolphins are in quarterback limbo with Ryan Tannehill’s future unclear under the new coach-GM combination of Brian Flores and Chris Grier. Multiple outlets have reported Tannehill will be traded or released at some point.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars announce acquisition of QB Foles

Jaguars announce acquisition of QB Foles

Jaguars announce acquisition of QB Foles

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Wednesday they have acquired free agent quarterback Nick Foles, ending the Blake Bortles era.

A news conference is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, at which time the club will introduce Foles. A video posted to the team’s Twitter feed showed a jersey being made with the No. 7 and Foles’ name on the back.

While the team did not disclose any contract terms, reports earlier this week put the deal at four years and $88 million, with $50 million guaranteed and incentives that can push the total money beyond the $100 million mark. The Jaguars are expected to release Bortles.

Over the last few weeks, all signs pointed to the Jaguars signing Foles, who was allowed to enter free agency by the Philadelphia Eagles after guiding the team to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, including a run to the Super Bowl XII championship to cap the 2017 season. Foles, named MVP of that game, then took over for Carson Wentz down the stretch again in 2018 when a back injury ended Wentz’s season, and he pushed Philadelphia into a divisional playoff matchup at New Orleans.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman announced at the NFL Scouting Combine that Foles “deserves to lead a team.”

“We had conversations at the end of the season, and he knew where I stood and how I felt about him,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “Obviously, he’s a big part of our success the past two years. It’s an opportunity now for him to become a starter, and I’m excited for him to do that.”

Wentz was out during the Super Bowl run recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. Last season, he missed the final month of the regular season, plus two playoff games, with a fracture in his back. Wentz is expected to make a full recovery and return as the starter in 2019.

The Jaguars gave Bortles, a first-round pick in 2014 who hasn’t developed into a consistent starter, a three-year, $54 contract last year, but he went 3-9 and was benched for Cody Kessler.

His release will save Jacksonville just $4.5 million against the cap, while leaving $16.5 million in dead money, unless Bortles is designated as a June 1 release. That would create an additional $5 million savings in 2019 by diverting $5 million in dead money to 2020.

–Field Level Media

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Broncos announce trade for Flacco; Ravens get pick 113

Broncos announce trade for Flacco; Ravens get pick 113

The Denver Broncos

Broncos announce trade for Flacco; Ravens get pick 113

The Denver Broncos on Wednesday officially announced they have acquired quarterback Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Flacco, 34, was the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 and was the Ravens’ starter since 2008 until a hip injury in 2018 sent Flacco to the sidelines after Week 9. Rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson took over for Flacco and didn’t relinquish the starting role.

The pick the Broncos are sending to the Ravens is the 113th overall, the first of Denver’s two picks in that round.

“He can make all the throws. If we protect him and do a good job of that, he’ll make the right decisions,” Broncos general manager/president of football operations John Elway told The Denver Post.

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta told the teams’ website of Flacco:

“Joe is the best quarterback in Ravens history. Not only is he talented, but he was clutch for us in the most difficult games against excellent defenses in the loudest and most raucous stadiums. Honestly, he’s one of my favorite draft picks ever.”

Flacco expressed his feelings in a comment on Twitter shortly after the trade became official:

“To the Ravens, the fans, and the city of Baltimore: Thank you for an incredible 11 years. I’ll always be proud and grateful for my time spent as your quarterback. Though it’s time to move on, this team will always mean so much to me. #ravensflock”

Case Keenum, the Broncos’ starter last season, was traded to the Washington Redskins along with a 2020 seventh-round draft pick for a 2020 sixth-round selection to make room for Flacco.

Keenum passed for 3,890 yards and 18 touchdowns against 15 interceptions last season while starting all 16 regular-season games for the first time, but Denver went just 6-10.

“Last year didn’t go the way we wanted it to but I think it made me a better football player, it made me a better person, made me tougher,” Keenum told the Redskins’ website. “And it taught me what it really means to have a team really count on your quarterback to make plays down the stretch when you really need to. It’s something I’m excited to grow from, something I’m excited to learn from and implement this next year with the Redskins.”

Hip and back injuries were concerns for Flacco in recent seasons.

Flacco has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Ravens, starting all 163 of his games played. He has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 38,245 yards and 212 touchdowns. He was the 18th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

In March 2016, he signed a three-year, $66.4 million contract extension that runs through the 2021 season. That will need to be re-worked, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The Ravens must carry Flacco’s $26.5 million cap hit until June 1, per the NFL Network.

–Field Level Media

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NFL transactions notebook: NT Mebane agrees to deal with Chargers

NFL transactions notebook: NT Mebane agrees to deal with Chargers

Nose

NFL transactions notebook: NT Mebane agrees to deal with Chargers

Nose tackle Brandon Mebane remained with the Los Angeles Chargers after agreeing to a two-year deal on Wednesday, according to the team.

Mebane had 40 tackles and one sack in 12 games last season, his third with the franchise. He has 17.5 career sacks in 12 NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (2007-15) and Chargers.

–OT Daryl Williams re-signed with the Carolina Panthers for one year in a deal worth $7 million, according to the NFL Network. Williams played in just one game last season after dislocating his right kneecap during training camp.

Williams has played in 40 games (29 starts) in four seasons with the Panthers.

–The Miami Dolphins announced the release of four-time Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last season and played in just one game with the team.

The Dolphins reportedly will save $5 million by releasing Sitton, who signed a two-year contract prior to last season. He has played in 148 career games with the Green Bay Packers (2008-15), Chicago Bears (2016-17) and Dolphins.

–OL Ted Larsen signed a one-year contract to rejoin the Bears after playing the last two seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Larsen started eight games at right guard for Chicago in 2016.

Larsen has played 125 games (86 starts) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010-13), Arizona Cardinals (2014-15), Bears and Dolphins.

–LB Adarius Taylor signed a two-year, $5 million deal with $2.55 million guaranteed with the Cleveland Browns, Cleveland.com reported.

Taylor started 10 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018 and has played in 60 contests (16 starts) in five NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2014) and Bucs (2015-18). He has one career interception and three forced fumbles.

–DT Mitch Unrein was waived by the Buccaneers with a failed-physical designation. Unrien suffered a concussion during training camp last season and spent his lone season with Tampa Bay on injured reserve.

Unrien has played in 95 games (24 starts) with the Denver Broncos (2011-14), San Diego Chargers (2015) and Chicago Bears (2015-17). He has 4.5 career sacks and one fumble recovery.

–CB Jason Verrett is visiting with the San Francisco 49ers, according to the NFL Network.

The former first-round pick of the Chargers has played in just five games over the past three seasons due to injuries. Verrett has five interceptions in 25 career games (23 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs release S Berry, reportedly visiting with Darby

Chiefs release S Berry, reportedly visiting with Darby

The

Chiefs release S Berry, reportedly visiting with Darby

The Kansas City Chiefs announced the release of longtime safety Eric Berry on Wednesday, shortly after the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET.

According to Pro Football Talk, the release comes with a post-June 1 designation, which means the Chiefs will save $9.55 million of Berry’s $16.5 million cap figure in 2019, pushing an additional $8 million of dead money into 2020. Without that designation, Kansas City would have absorbed all of the $14.95 million in dead money in 2019.

Berry, 30, signed a record-setting six-year, $78 million extension for a safety in February of 2017, but he has played in just two regular-season games since then. He tore his Achilles in the 2017 season opener and then missed all but two games last season while battling lingering heel pain.

Drafted fifth overall in 2010, Berry has spent nine seasons with the Chiefs, earning five Pro Bowl nods and three first-team All-Pro selections. His 2014 season was ended prematurely after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but he beat the disease and returned in 2015 to author back-to-back All-Pro seasons.

“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, I want to thank Eric for his many contributions to the Chiefs over the last nine seasons,” team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Eric has been a tremendous leader for our football team and an inspiration to so many fans over the years, and we sincerely appreciate all that he has meant to the Chiefs. He will always be an important part of our Chiefs family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Kansas City has reportedly agreed to sign former Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu to a three-year, $42 million deal in free agency, a deal which could be announced later Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the team is also bringing in cornerback Ronald Darby for a visit, according to multiple reports.

Darby, 25, is considered perhaps the top corner on the free agent market, although he is coming off of a torn ACL. He played in nine games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, intercepting one pass and breaking up 12.

Acquired by Philadelphia from the Buffalo Bills for a third-round pick and wideout Jordan Matthews before the 2017 season, Darby also missed eight games to injury that year because of a dislocated ankle.

Former Chiefs cornerback Steven Nelson, who started all 16 games in 2018, is reportedly leaving to join the Pittsburgh Steelers. Orlando Scandrick, who started seven games at corner for Kansas City, is also a free agent.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs release S Berry, saving $9.55 million

Chiefs release S Berry, saving $9.55 million

The Kansas

Chiefs release S Berry, saving $9.55 million

The Kansas City Chiefs announced the release of longtime safety Eric Berry on Wednesday, shortly after the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET.

According to Pro Football Talk, the release comes with a post-June 1 designation, which means the Chiefs will save $9.55 million of Berry’s $16.5 million cap figure in 2019, pushing an additional $8 million of dead money into 2020. Without that designation, Kansas City would have absorbed all of the $14.95 million in dead money in 2019.

Berry, 30, signed a record-setting six-year, $78 million extension for a safety in February of 2017, but he has played in just two regular-season games since then. He tore his Achilles in the 2017 season opener and then missed all but two games last season while battling lingering heel pain.

Drafted fifth overall in 2010, Berry has spent nine seasons with the Chiefs, earning five Pro Bowl nods and three first-team All-Pro selections. His 2014 season was ended prematurely after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but he beat the disease and returned in 2015 to author back-to-back All-Pro seasons.

“On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, I want to thank Eric for his many contributions to the Chiefs over the last nine seasons,” team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “Eric has been a tremendous leader for our football team and an inspiration to so many fans over the years, and we sincerely appreciate all that he has meant to the Chiefs. He will always be an important part of our Chiefs family, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Kansas City has reportedly agreed to sign former Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu to a three-year, $42 million deal in free agency, a deal that could be announced later Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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Browns officially acquire Beckham, Vernon from Giants

Browns officially acquire Beckham, Vernon from Giants

The

Browns officially acquire Beckham, Vernon from Giants

The Cleveland Browns officially announced the acquisition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Wednesday, moments after the new league year opened at 4 p.m. ET.

The deal was combined with a previously reported trade that will also send defensive end Olivier Vernon to Cleveland and guard Kevin Zeitler to New York. The Giants will also receive safety Jabrill Peppers and Cleveland’s first-round (17th overall) and third-round (95th overall) draft picks next month.

“It’s a reflection of the direction the organization is headed,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. “My hat’s off to a lot of people in this organization because we spent countless hours, weeks — I mean, we can go all the way back to December when we began the planning phases of these types of acquisitions. So my hat’s off to a lot of people in the personnel department and the coaching staff. And for ownership for allowing these types of things to happen. It shows you that ownership is committed to winning.

“Then, when you talk about the players. Each of them respectively are very good football players who will come in here and help us achieve our goal, and that’s to be competitive year in and year out in the AFC North. And hopefully, they are some of the pieces that will help us awaken this sleeping giant.”

The trade ended months of speculation that Beckham was on his way out of New York. After signing Beckham to a five-year, $95 million contract last season, the Giants saw their season spiral downward, and rumors of a possible trade did not cease despite general manager Dave Gettleman telling reporters at the combine “We did not sign Odell to trade him.”

Beckham, 26, finished with 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns last season. In 59 career games over five seasons, Beckham has 390 catches for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, but injuries have cost him 16 games the last two seasons.

The Giants will eat $16 million in dead money on their salary cap for the deal, while the Browns have the wideout under contract for five years and $77 million.

–Field Level Media

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Take 5: Dark horse bets for The Players Championship

Take 5: Dark horse bets for The Players Championship

Take 5: Dark horse bets for The Players Championship

At around 7,200 yards depending on the day’s setup, TPC Sawgrass is anything but a bomber’s paradise by today’s PGA Tour standards.

The primary reason no one has successfully defended at The Players Championship is that the course favors those who enter the week striking their irons well and displaying a great short game with a steady putter.

The past two champions, Webb Simpson and Si Woo Kim, weren’t on anyone’s radar entering the tournament. But they found their form – and a steely mental demeanor – around the water-laced course.

Kim won by three shots. Simpson by four.

The 2019 Players will be played in March for the first time since 2006. That means TPC Sawgrass will play wetter, and longer, than most in the field have experienced. Here are five dark horse candidates to win the title.

5. Ian Poulter, England (55/1 by sportsbook.ag): Poulter has four top-10s in seven events this year and has made the cut in 12 of 15 appearances at The Players. That includes a pair of runner-up finishes. He’s not overly long, but he’s extremely solid in every other facet of the game, which is exactly what it takes to be successful at TPC Sawgrass. He would be ranked higher on this list, but appeared to be battling his swing a bit during range and practice sessions this week.

4. Sungjae Im, South Korea (100/1): The PGA Tour rookie is up to No. 71 in the world rankings after his tie for third at Bay Hill last week. He was also the overnight leader at The Honda Classic the previous week before fading on the weekend. Im dominated the Web.com Tour last season and has all the tools — if he can handle the pressure of one of the game’s marquee events for four days.

3. Matthew Fitzpatrick, England (66/1): The 24-year-old rose 11 spots to No. 33 in the world following his second place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week. He was granted temporary PGA Tour membership through the end of the season on Wednesday. This is only his third start on American soil this year, but Fitzpatrick is a talented young player who posted consecutive top-5s in Asia just a few months ago and enters The Players in good form.

2. Branden Grace, South Africa (150/1): Fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen would be a worthy pick here as well if not for missed cuts at the Genesis Open and Arnold Palmer Invitational. Grace hasn’t played since tying for 33rd at the WGC – Mexico Championship in February, but he did take second at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier in the month. He has the bulldog mentality to handle the windy conditions forecasted throughout the tournament and tends to show up on the first page of the leaderboard in big events.

1. Billy Horschel, United States (80/1): The 32-year-old enters with modest recent results — no missed cuts but only one top-30 result in his past four starts. Horschel did finish eighth at Torrey Pines earlier this year and is another player who regularly rises to the occasion. The 2014 FedEx Cup champion came out of virtually nowhere to post three top-3 finishes in last year’s playoffs.

Horschel has tied for 37th and missed the cut in the past two Players, but he also the experience at TPC Sawgrass combined with the mental makeup to be a serious threat come Sunday.

–Derek Harper, Field Level Media

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Falcons release RT Schraeder

Falcons release RT Schraeder

The Atlanta Falcons released right

Falcons release RT Schraeder

The Atlanta Falcons released right tackle Ryan Schraeder with a post-June 1 designation on Wednesday, in a cost-cutting move.

Schraeder, 30, is coming off a down season and was set to count $7.75 million against the cap in 2019, the third year of a five-year, $31 million extension. Atlanta will save $6.45 million of that figure thanks to the post-June 1 designation, which pushes $2.5 million of dead money into 2020.

Schraeder started 67 consecutive games at right tackle before being benched in Week 13 of last season in favor of Ty Sambrailo. Schraeder finished the year having allowed 6.5 sacks and taken nine penalties in 13 starts, up from three sacks and three penalties in 14 starts in 2017.

Sambrailo received a three-year, $14.25 million extension in February, indicating he will get a chance to start moving forward. The Falcons also have reportedly agreed to deals with free agent guards James Carpenter and Jamon Brown, which can become official when the new league year opens Wednesday.

An undrafted rookie out of Valdosta State, Schraeder started 73 of 88 career games for the Falcons over six seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Raiders add WR Williams for four years, $44M

Reports: Raiders add WR Williams for four years, $44M

Reports: Raiders add WR Williams for four years, $44M

The Oakland Raiders will sign former Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams to a four-year, $44 million deal, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

According to multiple reports, the deal includes $22 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $47 million.

Williams, 27, was one of the top wide receivers available in a weaker free agent market, after producing over the last three years in an auxiliary role with the Chargers. He caught 41 passes for 653 yards and five touchdowns last season, averaging 15.9 yards per catch.

A former undrafted free agent out of Western Oregon, Williams’ best year came in 2016, when he was forced into a larger role by injuries and totaled 69 grabs for 1,059 yards and seven scores. Through 52 career games (37 starts), Williams has 155 catches for 2,530 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 16.3 yards per catch.

The Raiders already added Antonio Brown to their receiving corps with a trade last weekend, which became official Wednesday when the new league year opened.

–Field Level Media

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