AROUND THE NFL

NFC EAST

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

More fuel for the Redskins-Giants rivalry as S LANDON COLLINS lays out the apparent plan of GM Dave Gettleman to remove anything remotely controversial from the Big Blue locker room.  Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com:

 

Washington Redskins safety Landon Collins believes that the New York Giants allowed him to walk earlier this year in part because of the organization’s “culture change” and also because he didn’t fit their scheme.

 

Collins, a three-time Pro Bowl player, signed a record six-year deal worth up to $84 million with the rival Redskins as a free agent in March. He told ESPN’s Sam Alipour that he thinks the change involved jettisoning players who were too vocal and had expansive non-football platforms.

 

The Giants traded star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and pass-rusher Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns this offseason, and Collins said they made no effort to re-sign him. They also traded defensive lineman Damon Harrison and cornerback Eli Apple midway through last season, when the team was struggling badly.

 

“I know with myself, [Harrison], Odell, [Vernon], all we wanted to do was win, and we spoke up because we had to get them to listen to us,” Collins said. “We had to get them to get us winning pieces to help us at least be contenders.

 

“I think we were too vocal, and that platform was bigger than the Giants, you know, and our words stood out more. And … if it’s not good media, they don’t want that kind of media.”

 

Collins also thought there was a stunning lack of communication by general manager Dave Gettleman. He talked glowingly of owner John Mara and was appreciative of their relationship and a text exchange that occurred after his departure, but he didn’t have similar feelings for Gettleman.

 

Collins said the embattled Giants GM “never even talked to me, basically.” That left him without a clear explanation of why the team allowed him to leave uncontested.

 

His complaint is similar to those of some Carolina players when Gettleman was GM there. They said he’s all business.

 

“I wish he’d say something. Try to,” Collins said. “I mean, he had come around, shake your hand, say ‘Good job, big fella,’ or something like that. But honestly, talking to him, or saying anything, having a full conversation or anything with him, nothing.

 

“I mean, he basically … I don’t know him, he don’t know me, that’s kind of how it just kind of was.”

 

The Giants have turned over their roster drastically since Gettleman’s arrival in the final week of 2017. It is a surprise that Collins and Beckham, two of the team’s younger and more talented players, are not in New York anymore. Beckham signed a record contract in the summer of 2018 only to be traded eight months later. That and the trade of Harrison to the Lions for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft were the most surprising to Collins.

 

“You got the best run-stopper in the game, he went to the Lions and showed his tail off,” Collins said of Harrison.

 

His defense of Beckham was even more impassioned.

 

“You got OBJ, the best receiver in the game, and you get rid of him because you think he’s … a locker room problem?” he said. “And, knowing him personally, knowing him, how he was as a person and as a brother to me, and a brother to everyone in the locker room, he made sure everybody in the locker room was smiling … and he went out there to work, each and every day. He didn’t say nothing when he came to play in a football game. He didn’t say nothing when he came to practice. All he wanted to do was win.”

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

The present is “unlimited” for QB CARSON WENTZ.  Tim McManus of ESPN.com:

 

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been cleared to fully participate in OTAs, coach Doug Pederson said on Wednesday.

 

“Carson has no limitations,” Pederson said, adding, “I’m not going to hold him back.”

 

Wentz has been recovering from a stress fracture in his back, which was discovered in December and cost him the last three games of the regular season. He told reporters in April that the bone had not fully healed, adding “that’s not really the main concern. It’s just kind of how I feel, and I feel pretty good with where I’m at.”

 

Wentz did not fully participate in OTAs last season as he recovered from a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. Dealing with multiple injuries and unable to fully develop chemistry with his teammates during the offseason, Wentz fell short of his MVP-caliber 2017 season but still completed 70 percent of his throws with 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions in 2018.

 

 

WASHINGTON

LB REUBEN FOSTER won’t be playing for the Redskins this season, and NFL Justice or Social Justice has nothing to do with it.  John Keim of ESPN.com:

 

Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster suffered a season-ending tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Monday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

 

He was injured on the third snap of the team’s first organized team activity session and was carted off the field. He later underwent an MRI. A source said that Foster will see a specialist to see if his knee suffered more damage than just the ACL tear.

 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Foster stepped on the foot of offensive lineman Tyler Catalina as he rushed a gap at three-quarters speed.

 

When Foster was on the ground, he was surrounded by multiple team officials, including president Bruce Allen and Gruden. Former Alabama teammate Landon Collins also joined them, and Malcolm Blacken, the director of player development, kneeled and patted Foster on the chest. At one point Foster turned to his right and pounded the turf with his fists. He could be heard crying, putting his hands to his helmet as his head bobbed. As he was carted off, Allen ran back to the facility to be with Foster.

 

It was Foster’s first rep in full-team work with Washington, and it occurred during a session Gruden called a “jog-through.”

 

It’s the latest injury for a team besieged by them the past two years. The Redskins have had a combined 52 players on injured reserve the past two seasons, though a handful of them were hurt in camp and might not have made the roster. Last season they lost key players such as quarterback Alex Smith, running backs Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson, and tight end Jordan Reed. The Redskins have gone 7-9 each of those seasons.

 

“I don’t know how to process it,” Gruden said. “We’ve had some bad luck over here for the last couple years, but this one here takes the cake because this was a non-contract drill and there was no contact involved in it. He just landed funny. But we have to move on. We have to get guys ready to play that are here. We’ve got to do the best we can to get Reuben healthy again and move on.

 

“Sometimes I wish we’d do just all walk-throughs and then go play on Sundays, but we’ve got to practice.”

 

Gruden was in favor of drafting Foster two years ago, but the Redskins opted for Jonathan Allen instead. But Gruden always liked what Foster could add. The Redskins cut starting linebacker Zach Brown earlier this offseason, but they likely would have done that even if Foster wasn’t around.

 

“I love the energy he brings to this team,” Gruden said of Foster. “… I was excited to see him, for sure. He’s devastated; he felt something happen in his leg. We’ve got to get all the tests back, but he’s very upset about it. He was pretty hurt.”

 

The Redskins claimed Foster off waivers from San Francisco in November, three days after he was arrested for a domestic violence charge. The charges were later dropped and the NFL decided last month not to suspend Foster.

 

The Redskins had planned to start him as one of their two inside linebackers, probably alongside former Alabama teammate Shaun Dion Hamilton. Washington loves Foster’s speed and athleticism inside.

 

It’s uncertain how the Redskins will replace Foster. Former starter Mason Foster, often criticized for his lack of speed, said he lost 15 pounds this offseason in an attempt to get faster. The Redskins drafted a linebacker, Cole Holcomb, in the fifth round last month and they also have veteran Josh Harvey-Clemons, considered more of a nickel linebacker. They could look to add a veteran.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

TAMPA BAY

Less than 24 hours after terminating DT GERALD McCOY, the Buccaneers are said to be close to replacing him.  ESPN.com:

 

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are finalizing a one-year deal, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

 

Suh would replace Gerald McCoy, who was released by the Buccaneers on Monday. Suh (second) and McCoy (third) were taken with consecutive picks in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft.

 

Suh was interested in playing for Tampa’s new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, the source said.

 

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was asked about Suh earlier on Tuesday.

 

“I can’t talk about him. He’s not on my team,” Arians said.

 

After being reminded that Suh is a free agent and he can talk about him without fear of tampering violations, Arians said: “He’s a hell of a player, so we’ll see.”

 

The 31-year-old McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowler and arguably the Bucs’ most visible player over the past nine seasons on and off the field, had been a no-show for the Bucs’ offseason program that began last month.

 

The source of contention was McCoy’s $13 million salary in 2019, none of which was guaranteed. He had three years currently remaining on his deal, which would have kept him with the team through 2021.

 

The Los Angeles Rams signed Suh to a one-year contract worth $14 million last March following his release from the Miami Dolphins. Suh chose the Rams among several suitors, including the New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders, and said he made his decision, in part, because of the Rams’ immediate ability to make a playoff run.

 

Playing alongside two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, Suh did not make a significant impact until the playoffs. He finished the regular season with 4.5 sacks, four pass deflections and two fumble recoveries.

 

But the 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle was dominant in helping to shut down running back Ezekiel Elliott in a divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys and continued to prove his worth in a victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, when he had 1.5 sacks and four tackles.

 

Suh, who turned 32 in January, was selected second overall by the Detroit Lions in 2010. He played five seasons in Detroit and was named a four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All Pro.

 

In 2015, Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract, with $60 million guaranteed, with the Miami Dolphins to become the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. In three seasons with the Dolphins, Suh recorded 15.5 sacks and forced two fumbles.

 

Suh has 56 career sacks and in nine seasons has missed only two starts, both in 2011, when the NFL suspended him two games for on-field conduct.

 

AFC WEST

 

THE RAIDERS

Field Yates of ESPN.com surveys some anonymous insiders on various topics.  Here, he finds love for the Jon Gruden-Mike Mayock team:

 

Though there is no questioning who has the final authority for the Oakland Raiders — a 10-year, $100 million contract speaks for itself — Gruden tabbed Mayock as his general manager after the departure of Reggie McKenzie. Mayock is a first-time GM, but he has long been heralded in NFL circles for his evaluation skills and meticulous tape study, which are among the reasons one longtime personnel man thought his hiring stood out.

 

“They had tons of picks, and he’s a voice of reason for Jon,” he said, referring to how the two are able to balance each other out in what has been a busy offseason for Oakland. “[It’s about] patience and systematic building,” he continued, adding that Mayock is someone “who [Gruden] respects and has the same line of thinking.”

 

Not only were the Raiders as active as any team in free agency (landing their most notable acquisition in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers for Antonio Brown), but the team had a specific plan of attack in the draft.

 

“Clearly a traits, character-with-talent-based draft from the first through the seventh,” the personnel man noted about Oakland’s approach.

 

Each of the Raiders’ first-round picks is regarded as a terrific tone-setter or leader. They also selected three Clemson players, each of whom have pedigree from playing on college football’s biggest stage.

 

So despite Gruden being the ultimate shot-caller for the Raiders, having harmony between the coaching and scouting staffs ultimately leads to a roster with a chance at sustained success. Oakland made strides in reaching that goal by adding Mayock.

 

Word out of Oakland is the Gru-ock wasn’t really into LB JOSH ALLEN.  Dalton Johnson of NBCSports.com:

 

The Raiders have lauded their decision to draft defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 overall pick, though it was certainly a surprise to many.

 

One of the main reasons it came as a shock was because of who was still on the board, especially edge rusher Josh Allen. The Raiders were dead last in the NFL with a laughable 13 total sacks last season. Allen, who recorded 17 sacks last year as a senior at Kentucky, seemed like a logical fit to help boost an ugly pass rush.

 

But The Athletic’s Vic Tafur reported Friday that the Raiders had some concerns with Allen, who fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 7.

 

“Basically I heard that the Raiders weren’t that impressed,” Tafur wrote. “I reported pretty early on he wasn’t in play for them at No. 4. I would never question a player’s toughness but there were concerns that he got pushed around a little on some plays at Kentucky and he may not have had enough dog in him for Gruden and Guenther’s liking.”

 

Allen met with the Raiders on one of his final pre-draft visits. He watched film with general manager Mike Mayock and the two broke down his positives and negatives on the field.

 

“We watched some film together, good and bad clips of myself,” Allen said to NBC Sports Bay Area in April. “He taught me and showed me what I can improve on. What I do good, too.”

 

Ferrell was a star himself in college as well, but if Allen out-plays him as a rookie, there will be plenty of people questioning the Raiders’ pick.

 

AFC NORTH

 

PITTSBURGH

WR ANTONIO BROWN is not ready for peace with QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER.  Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

 

It took six months for Ben Roethlisberger to admit he went too far in criticizing Antonio Brown.

 

It took only a few hours for Brown to respond. And apparently he wasn’t in a forgiving mood.

 

Roethlisberger conducted an interview with KDKA-TV that aired Monday night. After excerpts were released on social media in which the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback said he “genuinely” regretted statements he made against Brown, the All-Pro wide receiver lobbed back a brief salvo.

 

“Two face,” Brown wrote on his Twitter account, an obvious shot at his former teammate.

– – –

Roethlisberger’s interview Monday represented his first public comments since the Steelers missed the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record.

 

“I regretted it,” Roethlisberger said about his criticism of Brown. “That’s the thing about media and social media: As soon as you say, ‘sorry,’ it only goes so far. You can’t take it back. And I wish I could because if that’s what ruined our friendship and relationship, I’m truly, genuinely sorry about that.”

 

When the Steelers traded Brown to the Oakland Raiders in March, it ended a nine-year relationship in which he and Roethlisberger formed one of the top passer-receiver tandems in the NFL. Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up on 74 touchdown passes, the most in franchise history and sixth-most in NFL history. Their 797 completions were second-most in NFL history.

 

“AB made me who I am,” Roethlisberger said. “He was the greatest wide receiver I think I ever played with. The things he did in the league and we did together are among the best of all time. … There were some great things, and then all of it sudden it kind of disappeared, and I’m not really sure where it went. We always worked through it, we always came out the other end smiling, hugged it out.”

 

Not this time. Roethlisberger said he has tried to call Brown and has sent him messages but has not gotten a response.

 

“I really am looking forward to reconnecting with him, talking,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s a good friend of mine. I still call him a good friend. I hope we can reconnect, and I hope our friendship can continue to grow.”

 

After posting the cryptic “Two face” tweet, Brown followed with another in which he asked to be left alone.

 

@AB84

 Lil fans ex players media people stop monitoring my life making comments on me I got bigger fish to fry! Focus on God  #CallGod

 

AFC SOUTH

 

JACKSONVILLE

The Jaguars are feeling good about investing in QB NICK FOLES.  Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com:

 

For executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, there’s a pretty simple reason why the Jacksonville Jaguars absolutely had to sign free-agent quarterback Nick Foles.

 

His perseverance is impressive: Foles nearly gave up football at one point. Also impressive is his reputation as a leader, which is something the Jaguars certainly need on offense. Staring down Tom Brady and never blinking in the Super Bowl can’t be talked about enough, either.

 

But only one thing really mattered to Coughlin: “What we truly believe is that this quarterback, this young man, gives us the best chance to win.”

 

Coughlin’s job — as well as those of general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Doug Marrone — depends on it.

 

Coughlin and Caldwell gave Foles the highest guarantee in franchise history ($50.125 million) because they believe he will bring consistency, which they didn’t have during the five-year Blake Bortles tenure. Along with a running game led by Leonard Fournette (another gamble, by the way), plus one of the league’s best defenses, quarterback consistency is the key to a formula for the Jaguars to return to the playoffs.

 

At the very least in 2019, the Jaguars had better be in playoff contention in December instead of being eliminated before most people are finishing up their Halloween candy, which has been the case for much of the past decade. If they aren’t contending, it’s possible Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone — or some combination thereof — could be looking for jobs in 2020.

 

Owner Shad Khan has never said that, nor has he hinted that it’s playoffs-or-bust for the Jaguars this season. But he’s all-in on Foles being the missing piece who will make his franchise an annual contender; he even said it was the Jags’ dream to sign the former Super Bowl MVP.

 

“We agreed where we needed to upgrade — obviously at quarterback,” Khan said after the team’s annual state-of-the-franchise presentation. “We got Nick Foles, and it is very, very encouraging the way we are heading.”

 

 

Nick Foles comes to Jacksonville with a winning pedigree. Mark Tenally/AP Photo

Whether signing Foles, 30, translates into more victories depends on various other factors, of course. Injuries, losing key players, players not performing up to expectations, bad decisions on and off the field — all will factor into whether the Jaguars will be improved in 2019.

 

The Jaguars aren’t the first team to pin the majority of their hopes for success on a free-agent quarterback. Since 2000, 13 other teams have signed a signal-caller to a multiyear deal with the intention of making them an immediate starter.

 

Three of those turned out well. Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl with Denver and played in another. Brett Favre led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game in his first season and retired after his second. Drew Brees has led the Saints to seven playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory.

 

However, when the quarterback isn’t a future Hall of Famer, things typically haven’t worked out that well. Seven of the 10 other free-agent quarterbacks signed to multiyear deals failed to lead their teams to the playoffs. Two others never made it past the first month as the starter.

 

Mixed Bag

 

Not everybody can grab Peyton Manning in free agency, as the Broncos did in 2012. A look at the top free-agent quarterbacks (by salary) signed by new teams in the past nine seasons:

 

QB, TEAM        YEAR   CONTRACT

Tyler Thigpen, Bills                     2011    3 years, $9 million

Peyton Manning, Broncos           2012     5 years, $96 million

Chase Daniel, Chiefs                   2013    3 years, $10 million

Kyle Orton, Bills                           2014      2 years, $11 million

Brian Hoyer, Texans                   2015    2 years, $10.5 million

Brock Osweiler, Texans              2016    4 years, $72 million

Mike Glennon, Bears                   2017    3 years, $45 million

Kirk Cousins, Vikings                  2018    3 years, $84 million

Nick Foles, Jaguars                    2019    4 years, $88 million

 

A brief look at the 10:

 

Jeff Blake (New Orleans): He signed a four-year deal in 2000 and led the Saints to a 7-3 record before breaking his foot. Aaron Brooks finished the season, led the franchise to its first playoff victory, and was named the starter the following season. The Saints cut Blake after the 2001 season.

 

Jon Kitna (Cincinnati): The Bengals signed him to a four-year deal in 2001 and he had an 18-28 record as starter with 59 touchdowns and 59 interceptions in four seasons before eventually giving way to Carson Palmer. He then signed a four-year deal with Detroit and threw for more than 4,000 yards in 2006 and 2007, suffered a back injury four games into the 2008 season, and was traded to Dallas after the season.

 

Brad Johnson (Tampa Bay): The Bucs outbid Baltimore in 2001 for Johnson, who went 26-23 as a starter and helped lead Tampa to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory over Oakland. The Bucs made the playoffs twice in his four seasons, but Johnson got benched in 2004 and was cut after the season.

 

Jake Plummer (Denver): Plummer signed a seven-year contract with the Broncos in 2003 and led the team to the playoffs in his first three seasons. The 2005 team reached the AFC Championship Game but Plummer had four turnovers in the loss to Pittsburgh. He was benched late the following season and traded to Tampa Bay.

 

Drew Bledsoe (Dallas): He signed a three-year deal with the Cowboys in 2005, one day after being released by Buffalo. He led the Cowboys to a 9-7 record in his first season but played so erratically the second that he was benched for a former undrafted player in his third season: Tony Romo. Bledsoe was cut after the season.

 

Matt Flynn (Seattle): He signed a three-year deal with the Seahawks in 2012 to be their starter but was beaten out by the team’s third-round draft pick: Russell Wilson. Flynn threw nine passes that season and Seattle traded him to Oakland the following April.

 

Brock Osweiler (Houston): The Texans gave Osweiler a four-year, $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed in 2016. The Texans went 9-7, but Osweiler was benched for Tom Savage and then eventually returned to quarterback Houston in the playoffs, where the Texans beat Oakland before losing to New England. Houston traded him to Cleveland the following March, but he was released after the Browns decided to go with rookie DeShone Kizer as the starter.

 

Mike Glennon (Chicago): The Bears gave Glennon a three-year deal worth $45 million in 2017. He started four games but was benched after throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles against Green Bay. Rookie Mitchell Trubisky, whom the Bears selected second overall, took every snap the rest of the season. The Bears released Glennon the following March.

 

Kirk Cousins (Minnesota): The Vikings gave Cousins, who was coming off three consecutive 4,000-yard seasons in Washington, a three-year deal worth a guaranteed $84 million in 2018. He threw for 4,298 yards, 30 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but the Vikings went 8-7-1 and missed the playoffs one season after making the NFC Championship Game with Case Keenum at quarterback.

 

Case Keenum (Denver): He signed a two-year deal worth $36 million ($25 million guaranteed) in 2018 after his great 2017 season with Minnesota (3,890 yards, 22 TDs, 7 INTs; an appearance in the NFC Championship Game). He more than doubled his interceptions (15) and the Broncos went 6-10 in 2018. The team traded for Joe Flacco this offseason and dealt Keenum to Washington.

 

Those players don’t have any impact on what Foles will do with the Jaguars. It’s just a historical trend that says teams that go shopping for a franchise quarterback generally miss more than they hit — unless, of course, you’re able to snag a future Hall of Famer who somehow became a free agent.

 

Foles has done some things that would seem to indicate that he’s not going to flop. He did throw for 27 touchdowns and two interceptions in his second season in the NFL. He did replace an injured Carson Wentz in 2017 and lead Philadelphia to a championship with a stellar postseason, which included a Super Bowl MVP performance.

 

He replaced Wentz again last season and had the Eagles in position to beat New Orleans in a divisional game before his pass went through Alshon Jeffery’s hands and was intercepted with less than two minutes to play.

 

That’s why the Jaguars believed they had to have him.

 

The Jaguars have cut lose QB CODY KESSLER.  That clears the way for Washington State rookie GARDNER MINSHEW to back up Foles.

 

AFC EAST

 

BUFFALO

Whoa.  Number 32 is out of mothballs in the Bills’ equipment room.

 

The No. 32 has been put back in circulation by the Buffalo Bills for the first time since 1977, the last season O.J. Simpson wore the number.

 

Running back Senorise Perry, who signed with the Bills as a free agent, is wearing the number during the team’s organized team activities. He told The Athletic that he thought the number was retired.

 

“I thought it was retired, but then I was told it was available. Boom, I took it,” he told The Athletic.

 

“I know the situation. I know that greatness comes with that number, playing in Buffalo. But I’m willing to take anything that comes my way. I’m going into my sixth year, and I know what it takes to get in this league and stay here. With that number on my back, I know I’m doing well for my family.”

 

Simpson rushed for 10,183 yards and 57 touchdowns and led the NFL in rushing four times in nine seasons for the Bills, but his post-career troubles with the law have kept his number from being retired. His name does appear on the team’s Wall of Fame at New Era Field.

 

Simpson, 71, was acquitted in 1995 for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, but a civil court jury found him liable for wrongful death and ordered him to pay $33.5 million. That total has now increased to more than $70 million since the original verdict in 1997. He was sentenced to prison in 2008 for armed robbery and kidnapping after entering a Las Vegas hotel room to recover stolen memorabilia items. He was paroled in 2017.

 

“Whatever they do is fine with me,” Simpson told The Athletic in a telephone interview. “That’s how I feel. When I played there, I tried to honor the team. Since I left, I always tried to honor the Bills.

 

In other Bills news, TE TYLER KROFT broke his foot in OTAs.  It’s the same foot he broke last year while a member of the Bengals.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

The Patriots are showing some love for WR JULIAN EDELMAN.  Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

The Patriots are keeping the Super Bowl MVP in the fold beyond this year.

 

Julian Edelman, whose contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, is finalizing a multi-year extension to stay in New England, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.

 

The 32-year-old Edelman now has a good chance to play his whole career with the Patriots, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2009.

 

Edelman was suspended for the first four games of last season for violating the PED policy but had a strong season after that, with 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. He also ran the ball nine times for a career-high 107 yards and had 154 yards on 20 punt returns.

 

He was even better in the playoffs, totaling 388 receiving yards in three postseason games, and culminating with a Super Bowl MVP award. He’s been a big part of what the Patriots have done on offense in recent years, and he’ll continue to be.

– – –

Veteran T JARED VELDHEER is retiring before he plays a down for New England:

 

Veteran offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, who had signed a one-year contract with the New England Patriots on May 13, has informed the team of his intention to retire, according to a source.

 

The 31-year-old Veldheer had participated in the Patriots’ voluntary organized team activity on Monday, according to video posted on the club’s official website. He had been expected to provide experienced depth behind projected starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who is attempting to return from a torn Achilles.

 

Barring a change of heart, Veldheer will conclude his career having played in 118 regular season games, with 113 starts.

 

He entered the NFL as a third-round draft choice of the Oakland Raiders out of Division II Hillsdale College, playing for Oakland (2010-2013), the Arizona Cardinals (2014-2017) and Denver Broncos (2018).

 

Veldheer, who was acquired by the Broncos in March of 2018, was a steadying influence for a Denver offensive line beset by injuries and lineup changes during the 2018 season. He started 12 games at right tackle for the Broncos, but he also didn’t escape the team’s rash of injuries. The 10-year veteran left one game with a concussion and missed four games with a knee injury.

 

The Patriots have a notable history of signing late-career veterans who might be seeking a final chance to win their first Super Bowl ring, and the team’s hope was that Veldheer would fall into that category. The club had a need at the position after Trent Brown (Raiders) and LaAdrian Waddle (Bills) departed in free agency.

 

Veldheer could have provided insurance behind Wynn, the Patriots’ top 2018 draft pick, in addition to being an option at right tackle in the event of an injury to starter Marcus Cannon.

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

What’s this about Peyton Manning and the Jets?  Danny Abriano of SNY:

 

Rumors have been “flying” within league circles that the Jets could make a run at Peyton Manning to fill their vacant GM role, according to Mike Florio of PFT. But it doesn’t seem like any run at him would be successful.

 

Manning as the next Jets GM is “unrealistic” and being an NFL GM is “not a job he seems to want” said a source close to Manning told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.

 

Hiring the 43-year-old Manning to be the Jets’ new GM would certainly be an outside the box move. The legendary QB retired after the 2015 season, and does not have any official front office experience.

 

While Manning doesn’t have any front office experience, this isn’t the first time he has been a reported target.

 

In November of 2017, it was reported by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam had “strong” and “sincere” interest in hiring Manning to a prominent team president/top executive role.

 

And as his name has been connected to front office opportunities, Manning has spoken about being open to it.

 

“I like to listen in on any number of potential chapter two opportunities in my life,” he said in July of 2018. “I talked to some TV people and teams on the football side of it. I like listening, and it seems like people are reporting when I’m doing it.”

 

In the wake of what Christopher Johnson claimed wasn’t a power struggle between Maccagnan and new head coach/acting GM Adam Gase, the Jets have been connected mostly to current Eagles VP of Player Personnel Joe Douglas as their potential replacement for Maccagnan.

 

“He’s Gase’s guy” a league source told SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano about Douglas, who was director of college scouting for the Bears in 2015 — the same season Gase was offensive coordinator with the Bears.

 

Gang Green has also been linked to former scout and current NFL Network personality Daniel Jeremiah, who is reportedly under consideration for a front office role under whoever the new GM turns out to be.

 

 

Ex-teammate Reggie Wayne thinks Manning isn’t interested in being anyone’s hired hand:

 

The Patriots are keeping the Super Bowl MVP in the fold beyond this year.

 

Julian Edelman, whose contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, is finalizing a multi-year extension to stay in New England, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.

 

The 32-year-old Edelman now has a good chance to play his whole career with the Patriots, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2009.

 

Edelman was suspended for the first four games of last season for violating the PED policy but had a strong season after that, with 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. He also ran the ball nine times for a career-high 107 yards and had 154 yards on 20 punt returns.

 

He was even better in the playoffs, totaling 388 receiving yards in three postseason games, and culminating with a Super Bowl MVP award. He’s been a big part of what the Patriots have done on offense in recent years, and he’ll continue to be.