Recent NFL Player News

Rob Gronkowski announces he will return to Patriots for 2018 season

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Instagram he will return for the 2018 NFL season.

What It Means:

Gronkowski started rumors by talking about retiring following the Pats' Super Bowl loss. However, the soon-to-be 29-year-old made his intentions official as he met with coach Bill Belichick and announced he would play in the 2018 season.

Gronkowski finished the 2017 season with 69 receptions, 1,084 yards, and 8 touchdowns in 14 games played.

Tom Brady's agent says the Pats' quarterback will be back in 2018

Despite previous reports, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is expected to return to the team for the 2018 season, per his agent Don Yee

What It Means:

Rumors were circulating that Brady was unsure if he wanted to play next season or retire, but his agent quickly squashed the talk telling ESPN's Adam Schefter the 40-year-old quarterback would be back and plans to play beyond his current contract and into his mid-40's. Breathe easy Pats' fans.

Brady finished his 18th season with a league-high 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a 66.3% completion percentage.

Willie Snead signs with Ravens after Saints decline to match offer sheet

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver Willie Snead, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, to a two-year, $7 million contract.

What It Means:

The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus, and after a year of injury and inconsistency for the Saints, they decided to let the former Ball State Cardinal walk. Snead will join Michael Crabtree in the new-look Ravens receiving core. Snead's signing probably means the Ravens are out on pursuing recently-released receiver Dez Bryant.

Snead had career-lows in every category in 2017, catching just 8-of-16 targets for 80 yards across 7 starts and 11 games played.

Elway: Broncos open to trading fifth overall pick

According to The Athletic's Nicki Jhabvala, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway said that he's open to trading the number-five overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

What It Means:

Elway noted that Denver is open to trading either up or down in this year's draft. If they stay at five, the Broncos plan to take the best available player. The team did sign Case Keenum in free agency, but they could still decide to go quarterback as they look toward the future. A number of teams could offer Denver a deal to grab the quarterback of their choosing.

This past season, the Broncos finished 21st in our power rankings and 31st in passing efficiency.

Report: Giants releasing Brandon Marshall

The New York Giants are releasing wide receiver Brandon Marshall, reports Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post.

What It Means:

General manager Dave Gettleman said that the team will release Marshall on a "failed physical" designation. The 34-year-old's status with the team has been in question since undergoing ankle surgery in October. The move saves the Giants more than $5 million toward the 2018 cap.

Last season, Marshall played in just 5 games, totaling 18 catches and 154 yards.

Dolphins expected to exercise DeVante Parker's fifth-year option

The Miami Dolphins are expected to exercise their fifth-year team option on wide receiver DeVante Parker.

What It Means:

At 25, Parker has yet to find his stride through three seasons in the NFL. The option is worth roughly $9.5 million for the 2019 season. However, there's a chance that the team could release the wideout as his option is only guaranteed for injury.

Through 3 seasons, Parker is averaging 46.3 catches, 636.0 yards and 2.7 touchdowns per year.

Le'Veon Bell does not report to Steelers' offseason program

As expected, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell did not report to the team's offseason program this week.

What It Means:

This isn't big news, as Bell was expected to remain away from the team until absolutely necessary. He is still unhappy with his contract situation, playing on the franchise tag for a second consecutive season. Talks for a long-term deal have stalled, which will likely result in him skipping training camp as well. He's expected to work out on his own and is doing so now in Miami.

Last season, Bell turned 406 touches into 1,946 yards and 11 touchdowns in 15 games.

Source: ESPN

Report: Tom Brady not committed to playing for Patriots in 2018

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is reportedly up in the air about playing the 2018 season.

What It Means:

This report comes via ESPN's Adam Schefter, who adds "even though people who know him believe he will be back." Schefter expects him to return as well, though Brady is now 41 and with other priorities demanding his attention. There's also been some reported friction between the future Hall of Fame quarterback and coach Bill Belichick. This should make it even more likely that New England looks for a quarterback early in this year's draft.

In 2017, Brady's 162.4 Net Expected Points led the entire NFL, and by a sizable margin over the next-closest player.

Source: ESPN

Cowboys' Jason Witten confirms he'll return in 2018

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten confirmed that he will play for the team in the 2018 season.

What It Means:

According to the Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota, Witten has no interest in a TV job at this time. He was reportedly being courted by FOX for a commentator position. Machota reports that Witten said, "Hopefully I can play until I'm 40. Just taking it one year at a time." The veteran tight end turns 36 in May and had restructured his contract just a few weeks ago.

Witten started all 16 games in 2017 but finished with his fewest catches (63) and lowest yardage total (560) since his rookie season.

Bears confirm Jordan Howard will be the featured back in 2018

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has confirmed running back Jordan Howard will remain the team's featured back in 2018.

What It Means:

Rumors were swirling that Howard was on the move; however, new coach Nagy made it clear the third-year running back will remain the focus of the offense and the team's primary runner even as they look to find ways to use multiple backs, most notably Tarik Cohen. Howard could be in for a big season as the Bears' have added a plethora of weapons to improve the offense which scored just 16.5 points per game in 2017.

Howard rushed 276 times for 1,122 yards and 9 touchdowns while adding 23 catches for 125 yards through the air in 2017.

49ers won't allow Reuben Foster to participate in team activities

According to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, the San Francisco 49ers will not allow linebacker Reuben Foster to participate in team activities while he addresses his legal matters.

What It Means:

In case you missed it, Foster was charged with felony domestic violence stemming from a February incident involving he and his live-in girlfriend. He faces more than 11 years in prison for multiple charges, and he could be subject to suspension convicted or not. The team said that the outcome of the legal process will dictate his status with the team.

In his rookie season, Foster rated out as Pro Football Focus' 4th-ranked linebacker. He started in all 10 of his appearances.

Patriots' Rob Gronkowski will not attend start of Patriots' offseason program

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will not attend the start of the team's offseason program, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.

What It Means:

Gronkowski joins teammate Tom Brady, who will also sit out the beginning of the offseason due to a business trip overseas. Gronk is still considering whether to play in 2018, but he has reportedly had "good communication" with the team. Earlier reports suggested that he will likely return and, in doing so, put any friction to bed between the and the team.

In 2017, Gronkowski tallied 69 catches, 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns in 14 games. He's posted at least 1,000 yards and 8 scores in three of the last four seasons.

Eagles release Daryl Worley following Sunday arrest

ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the Philadelphia Eagles have released cornerback Daryl Worley.

What It Means:

Worley was arrested around 6 AM on Sunday morning after becoming "combative" with Philadelphia police after they found him passed out inside a vehicle while blocking the highway. During the incident, Worley was tasered. There will be more details on the charges he is facing, but the Eagles aren't waiting around. They had acquired the corner in exchange for Torrey Smith this offseason. If there's any positive, it's that Worley's release will save them $670,000 in cap space.

Worley started 14 of 15 games in 2017 as he ended the year with 49 tackles, 10 passes defensed and 2 interceptions.

Seahawks sign Sebastian Janikowski to a one-year contract

The Seattle Seahawks have signed former Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski to a one-year deal, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.

What It Means:

The 40-year-old Janikowski was expendable in Oakland after missing the entire 2017 season due to a back injury. He will battle with former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Jason Myers for the Seahawks' placekicking duties after they released struggling Blair Walsh earlier this offseason.

Janikowski had gone 69-for-83 (83.1%)on field goal attempts from 2014-16 including 34-for-46 (73.9%) on field goals longer than 40 yards.

Cowboys release Dez Bryant on Friday

The Dallas Cowboys have released wide receiver Dez Bryant, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.

What It Means:

The Cowboys have released Bryant following a meeting between both sides on Friday. The move will save the Cowboys $8 million in cap space. Bryant is now an unrestricted free agent.

In 2017, Bryant made 69 receptions for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns over 16 games.

49ers' Reuben Foster charged with felony domestic violence

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was charged on Thursday with felony domestic violence by the Santa Clara District Attorney's office.

What It Means:

The charge stems from a February argument between Foster and his live-in girlfriend at their Los Gatos home. The argument resulted in Foster attacking the woman, resulting in bruises and a ruptured ear drum. The 24-year-old will be arraigned Thursday afternoon and faces more than 11 years in prison. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of a large-capacity weapon magazine. It wouldn't be surprising for the 49ers to cut ties with the former first-round pick in the next 24-to-48 hours.

Foster tallied 59 tackles and 1 pass defensed in 10 starts this past season.

Browns sign Jarvis Landry to five-year extension

The Cleveland Browns have signed wide receiver Jarvis Landry to a five-year, $75.5 million extension, reports NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

What It Means:

Landry was hit with a $15.98 million franchise tag before being traded away by the Miami Dolphins. However, he won't play under the tag any longer, as he's locked up for five years in Cleveland. He gets $47 million in guaranteed money and will average $15.1 million per season.

In 2017, Landry totaled 112 catches for 987 yards and 9 touchdowns with the Dolphins.

Giants' Landon Collins (forearm) says he'll require second surgery

New York Giants safety Landon Collins told The Record that he will need a second surgery on his broken right forearm.

What It Means:

Collins said he was fully healthy earlier this month, but scans show that the forearm isn't healing properly. The second procedure will help to correct the issue and sideline him six-to-eight weeks. He is likely to miss the entire offseason program, but he should be ready for training camp.

In 2017, Collins recorded 74 tackles with 6 passes defensed and 2 interceptions over 15 starts.

Source: The Record

Report: Patriots 'team most interested' in Lamar Jackson

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman reports that "the Patriots are the team most interested" in Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

What It Means:

Jackson's stock has picked up "rapidly" in recent weeks as the quarterback has impressed teams "with his intelligence and football acumen." He should be a lock for the first round, and could go off the board with the Patriots' pick at number 23. They could move up if they need. Of course, Jackson would sit behind Tom Brady until Brady's ready to call it quits, but this would give the Patriots a project to groom for the future.

The Patriots own the 23rd, 31st, 43rd, 63rd and 95th picks in the first 3 rounds of this year's draft. They also own the 2 second-round picks and a seventh-rounder via the Cleveland Browns.

Fred Jackson to retire as member of Bills

Ex-NFL running back Fred Jackson will sign a one-day contract to retire with the Buffalo Bills.

What It Means:

Jackson was a participant in last year's Spring League Showcase, but it appears that he's ended his bid for a comeback. At age 37, Jackson will retire with Buffalo, with whom he played all but one of his nine NFL seasons.

Having never made a Pro Bowl, Jackson finishes his career with one 1,000-yard rushing season and five seasons with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage. He totaled 39 touchdowns in 122 career games.

Report: Giants 'highly unlikely' to trade Odell Beckham

According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the New York Giants are "highly unlikely" to trade wide receiver Odell Beckham.

What It Means:

A Beckham trade became even more unlikely with the Los Angeles Rams picking up Brandin Cooks from the Patriots earlier this week. It will be interesting to see how Beckham proceeds, with head coach Pat Shurmur expecting him to be at the team's voluntary offseason program on Monday. The star receiver could, however, hold out for a new contract.

Prior to a 2017 season shortened by injury, Beckham turned in three straight seasons of at least 91 catches, 1,305 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's set to make $8.5 million in 2018.

Redskins acquire quarterback Kevin Hogan in trade with Browns

The Washington Redskins acquired quarterback Kevin Hogan in a one-player trade with the Cleveland Browns on Friday.

What It Means:

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the trade involves the exchange of the two teams' sixth-round picks. While the Browns obtain the 188th overall pick, the Redskins will take on the 205th overall pick, which Cleveland acquired via trade with the New England Patriots. Hogan will serve as a backup to Alex Smith in Washington.

In 2017, Hogan made 4 appearances and 1 start for Cleveland. He threw for 517 yards, 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 75 attempts.

Panthers' Thomas Davis suspended four games for performance-enhancing drugs

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

What It Means:

Reportedly, Davis' ban is for a non-HGH substance. The 35-year-old veteran announced his disappointment in a video statement on his Twitter account Friday. It will prove to be a challenge for the Panthers, despite what was expected to be a lesser role. Shaq Thompson should see the majority of snaps in his stead, with Jared Norris getting time as well.

This past season, Davis finished with 52 tackles and 3 sacks in 15 starts.

Robert Griffin returning to NFL on 1-year deal with Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens signed quarterback Robert Griffin III, previously of the Cleveland Browns, to a 1-year contract.

What It Means:

After an injury-plagued and underwhelming campaign with the Browns in 2016, Griffin spent all of last season out of the league. He currently projects to be second on the depth chart behind Joe Flacco, but this is unlikely to deter the Ravens from spending a high draft pick on a quarterback if they intend on doing so.

Griffin completed 87-of-147 passes (career-low 59.2 percent) for 886 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in five starts for the Browns in 2016. He also rushed 31 times for 390 yards and 2 scores.

Patriots ship Brandin Cooks to the Rams for a 2018 first-round pick

The New England Patriots have traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks, along with a 2018 fourth-round pick, in exchange for the 23rd overall pick (first round) and a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, as reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN

What It Means:

In a somewhat surprising move, the Patriots move on from Cooks after dealing away a first-round pick to the Saints for Cooks' rights last offseason. He is a free agent after the 2018 season, likely factoring in on the Pats' decision to move on. Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman will see a bump in targets with Cooks gone. Cooks arrival bolsters a burgeoning Rams' receiving corp, joining Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in giving Jared Goff some legitimate weapons for the 2018 season.

The 24-year-old Cooks caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards and 7 touchdowns for New England in 2017. He posted 0.75 net expected points per target last season, ranking 18th among the 48 wideouts who caught at least 50 passes.

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