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Footballguys #286 - 2/1 - News And Notes From Around The League

Volume 20, #286 -- Friday Night, February 1st, 2019

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Howdy Folks,

It's almost time. We've got some News and Notes so let's go.

J


1. PIT - WR Antonio Brown says winning is priority

Source: USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown said his priorities are on winning during a video interview Friday, Feb. 1, at the Super Bowl in Atlanta. 'I just want to win,' Brown told USA Today. 'I just want to win, play with a team that's gonna win. That's all I want. Doesn't matter where.'

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That leaves a lot of teams on the table, and shouldn't materially affect his chance to get traded, as most losing teams wouldn't want to give draft capital to get Brown outside of a win now window.

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2. CLE - QB Baker Mayfield happy with hire

Source: ESPN.com - Pat McManamon

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield said he believes in head coach Freddie Kitchens and is excited to have offensive continuity. 'We had something special and I want to build on it,' Mayfield said.

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Good for the Browns for giving this duo a chance to continue what they started last year. Mayfield should at worst be a streamer's delight next season and he's being selected as a low QB1/high QB2 in early drafts.

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3. CLE - WR Rashard Higgins wants to return

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns impending free-agent WR Rashard Higgins said he wants to re-sign with the Browns this offseason and hopes to agree to a long-term deal before the start of free agency.

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Breshad Perriman also could return before free agency. The Browns would probably get a discount if they sign before free agency. The good vibes created around Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield are making players want to stay. Higgins won't have stand alone fantasy value but could make it harder for other Browns targets to hit their ceilings.

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4. NFL - Kyler Murray not talking about workouts

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Mike Florio

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray will not say if he will participate in the NFL Scouting Combine or his Pro Day because it would imply that he will be playing football. Murray has said he will decide on if he will play baseball or football soon.

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Murray seemed unprepared for very predictable questions. Either he and his camp are misplaying a move to get more out of the Oakland A's or they really aren't sure what sport he commit to and don't know how to present that in a tactful way. It was not a good day for his NFL draft stock.

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5. LAR - RB Todd Gurley should see plenty of work

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley is expected to have a big role in the offense against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII, according to head coach Sean McVay.

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Gurley's demotion in the NFC title game was play-based and there's no guarantee that he'll measure with CJ Anderson running well and the Patriots run defense a major weakness. Both running backs should see a lot of work on Sunday.

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6. LAR - PK Greg Zuerlein ready to play

Source: Patriots.com

Los Angeles Rams PK Greg Zuerlein (foot) fully participated in practice Friday, Feb. 1, and is not on the injury report for Super Bowl LIII.

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This is a sigh of relief for a team that needed every bit of Zuerlein's leg to get this far. He should be good to go with no restrictions on Sunday.

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7. NE - Super Bowl injury report for Patriots

Source: Patriots.com

New England Patriots DT Malcom Brown (calf) and LB Dont'a Hightower (illness) fully participated in practice Friday, Feb. 1, and are not on the injury report for Super Bowl LIII.

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Hightower was re-evaluated yesterday and must have showed encouraging signs. The Patriots will have his pass rush presence on Sunday.

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8. NFL - Nick Bosa to take part in combine

Source: NBC Sports Bay Area - Matt Maiocco

Ohio State DE Nick Bosa (abdomen) said he has recovered from his core muscle surgery and will be a full participant at the NFL Scouting Combine.

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Bosa in the running to be the #1 pick and should be top 3-5 in any event. He could end up being a higher-rated prospect than his brother Joey was considered at the time of the draft.

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9. PIT - ILB Ryan Shazier wants to return

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers impending free-agent LB Ryan Shazier (spine) said he wants to re-sign with the Steelers, but the two sides have not reached an agreement at this point. Shazier said he believes he will play again and has a timeframe in mind but has not told anyone his plan yet.

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Shazier coming back would be inspirational for the team even if he never returns to previous form. We're rooting for him.

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10. KC - KC could part ways with OLB Justin Houston

Source: The Athletic - Nate Taylor

Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston is due to count a team-high $21.1 million against the cap in 2019, making him a prime candidate to get released this offseason, according to Nate Taylor of The Athletic.

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Houston might not be worth that much more because of his injury history than his level of play. Houston hasn't played 16 games since 2014 and has missed 21 games over the last four years. The team could attempt to restructure his deal, but they also have Breeland Speaks coming up behind Houston.

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11. ARI - Chris Achuff receives promotion

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Arizona Cardinals assistant defensive line coach Chris Achuff on Friday, Feb. 1, was promoted to defensive line coach.

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Achuff joined the NFL ranks last year after a long stint at Baylor, including games against head coach Kliff Kingsbury's Texas Tech teams. He learned under Don Johnson in 2018 on Steve Wilks' staff. Wilks and Johnson coached together with the Bears on the their 2006 Super Bowl team and the time under a veteran coach should help him be ready for the promotion.

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12. NO - Darren Rizzi lands in New Orleans

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Updating a previous report, Darren Rizzi has agreed to join the New Orleans Saints as their special-teams coordinator, a source reported Friday, Feb. 1.

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Rizzi was assistant head coach of the Dolphins since 2015, interviewed for the head coach vacancy and served the Dolphins for ten years through three coaches. This is not a trivial loss for them. The Saints gain a highly respected special teams coach with the move.

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13. GB - RB Aaron Jones set league pace

Source: NFL Network

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones led the league with his average of 5.5 rushing yards per attempt during the regular season. 'I've always felt like I've belonged in the conversation as one of the top backs,' Jones said Friday, Feb. 1, in an interview with NFL Network.

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Jones is retaining his running backs coach in the new regime and it is unknown how much Mike McCarthy held back his workload last year. He might end up being worth the third/fourth round pick he'll likely cost in drafts this year.

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14. CAR - DE Julius Peppers retires

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Julius Peppers announced his retirement Friday, Feb. 1. He finishes fourth on the NFL's all-time sack list.

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Peppers looks like a hall of famer and had the type of career that any #2 overall pick should hope for.

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15. PHI - RB Latavius Murray a fit in Philly?

Source: NJ.com - Zack Rosenblatt

Minnesota Vikings RB Latavius Murray could be a free-agent target of the Philadelphia Eagles, in the opinion of NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt, who believes Murray's abilities as a receiver and reasonable price tag could make him part of a timeshare with holdover RB Josh Adams.

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Murray can work in a downhill running game, but he's a committee back through and through. The Eagles could also aim higher at the position in the draft or free agency. Murray wants to start again, but is unlikely to get a huge payday or workload in free agency.

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16. MIA - No takers for QB Ryan Tannehill?

Source: The Miami Herald - Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is expected to be released during the offseason, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, who believes the chances of the team finding a trading partner for Tannehill are 'not great' due to his contract.

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Cincinnati could be a possible destination, as could Washington or maybe even Jacksonville. Tannehill should get at least one more chance to start, or at least compete with a rookie to start this year.

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17. GB - ILB Jake Ryan unsure of future

Source: Packers.com - Mike Spofford

Green Bay Packers impending free-agent LB Jake Ryan (knee) said he is remaining patient with his rehab from knee surgery but is unsure if he will be re-signed by the Packers.

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Ryan was slated to be a starter but never got that chance. The Packers are still looking for the right player to fill the spot next to Blake Martinez, and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was retained, so Ryan could return.

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18. ATL - RB Devonta Freeman a key player

Source: ESPN.com - Vaughn McClure

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman's (groin) return from injury can help lead a turnaround in 2019, according to owner Arthur Blank.

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Tevin Coleman wasn't popping off big plays at the frequency he had in years past, so the offense did miss Freeman. In early drafts, he's going multiple rounds later than his 2018 ADP.

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19. LAC - WR Tyrell Williams too pricey for Bolts?

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers impending free-agent WR Tyrell Williams is a player that the team would like to re-sign, according to general manager Tom Telesco, but Telesco said it might not be 'realistic' to bring him back.

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Williams should get a lot money as a starter in free agency than the Chargers will be willing to give him. He'll have some speculative value in dynasty leagues depending on where he lands.

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20. PHI - S Rodney McLeod staying in Philly

Source: PhiladelphiaEagles.com - Dave Spadaro

Philadelphia Eagles FS Rodney McLeod has agreed to a restructured deal to remain with the Eagles in 2019.

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The Eagles are in a bad cap situation at the moment and needed this move to help for the 2019 outlook. Nick Foles eventual trade or release should get them under the cap, but they are projected to be over right now.

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21. WAS - QB Alex Smith improving

Source: The Washington Post - Les Carpenter

Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith (leg) is making improvements but is not looking too far ahead in his rehab, according to team president Bruce Allen. Allen denied a recent report that stated the Redskins are preparing for Smith to miss the entire 2019 season.

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Until we hear otherwise, it is best to assume that Smith will not be playing next season. The Washington pass offense was still one of the most anemic in the league with him at the helm, so Washington's targets and offense won't lose much as long as the team can competently replace him, which is not a given.

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22. WAS - QB Josh Johnson could re-sign with WAS

Source: NBC Sports Washington - JP Finlay

Washington Redskins impending free-agent QB Josh Johnson is one of the players the team is trying to re-sign, according to team president Bruce Allen.

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Johnson was at least able to make Washington a credible competitor when he was in the lineup, although he does seem redundant with Colt McCoy as competent, but limited backups. The team needs to find someone better than McCoy or Johnson to start with Alex Smith's 2019 in question.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys.

We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J