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Doug Baldwin
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Bump and Run

NFL News Update

by Ryan McDowell

The NFL off-season news cycle never stops. Here’s the latest from the league to keep you on top of your own league.

After weeks of speculation, we finally witnessed the next step in the career of WR Doug Baldwin as the Seattle Seahawks released their long-time WR1 with a failed physical designation. Baldwin has reportedly been considering retiring from the league due to numerous injury issues after undergoing multiple offseason surgeries and being scheduled for even more. The move was a necessary step due to salary cap issues and Baldwin’s official announcement is expected soon. The Seahawks drafted rookie WRs DK Metcalf and Gary Jennings to ease the sting of Baldwin’s loss.

Jaguars Pro-Bowl LB Telvin Smith had been the subject of trade rumors after the team added rookie defenders but he took control of the situation in a surprising way this week. Smith took to Instagram to announce that he would sit out the 2019 season in an effort to “give this time back to myself, my family and my health.” This announcement came without any communication with team officials. Smith’s future is clearly up in the air.

We all knew the retirement of that tight end wouldn’t last! No, not future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski. After retiring following the 2018 season, veteran TE Ben Watson had a change of heart and has un-retired, signing a one-year deal with the team that drafted him, the New England Patriots. The Pats still have questions at the position following the loss of Gronk. Watson is expected to compete with recently-signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins for the starting job.

The Seahawks were looking for upgrades following the pre-draft trade of DL Frank Clark and helped to fill that void by signing former Lion DE Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year, $9 million contract. Ansah is still dealing with the effects of a shoulder injury that could cost him part of training camp, at the very least. 

Chargers QB Philip Rivers recently suggested he plans to continue playing (and starting) beyond this season. There had been speculation that the team could use an early-round pick on a future replacement for Rivers, but instead, they selected small-school QB Easton Stick on day three of the NFL Draft. According to early 2020 NFL mock drafts, the Chargers are a trendy landing spot for one of the many talented quarterbacks expected to be in that class, but Rivers isn’t going away quietly, saying he has “every intention to be the Chargers quarterback in 2020.” Rivers is entering the final year of his current deal though the two sides have been discussing a long-term extension. Rivers will be 37 years old when the season begins.

The Miami Dolphins have received a lot of praise for their long-term viewpoint of team building this offseason and now they’ve locked up one of their defensive stars for the next five years. Miami and Pro Bowl CB Xavien Howard agreed to a record-setting five-year, $76.5 million extension. This makes Howard the highest-paid cornerback in the league.

The Arizona Cardinals signed top overall pick QB Kyler Murray to a four-year, $35 million contract, ensuring that Murray would participate in the team’s upcoming rookie mini-camp. Following the draft weekend trade of QB Josh Rosen, Murray is essentially locked in as the team’s Week One starter already.

The Dallas Cowboys are facing some tricky negotiations this off-season and over the next couple of years. The current version of the Triplets, QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott and WR Amari Cooper are each looking for new long-term contract extensions and all expect hefty raises from their current deals. Both Prescott and Cooper are entering the final year of their respective deals, making them the priority over Elliott, though the threat of a holdout always 

Rookie Signings:

The Jaguars inked draft picks TE Josh Oliver, RB Ryquell Armstead, QB Gardner Minshew and OL Jawaan Taylor to four-year deals. Second-round CB Joejuan Williams signed his deal with the Patriots. The Bills and RB Devin Singletary agreed to a four-year contract. Singletary joins a crowded backfield that includes veteran RBs Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon and LeSean McCoy. One of these players will likely be cut before camp begins. QB Will Grier signed his four-year deal with the Panthers, where he is expected to serve as the backup to QB Cam Newton. The Redskins and QB Dwayne Haskins agreed to a four-year contract, which begins his expected tenure as the Washington starting quarterback. The Lions and TE T.J. Hockenson inked a four-year deal…Pittsburgh signed WR Diontae Johnson and RB Benny Snell.

Quick Hits:

Veteran QB Derek Anderson announced his retirement from the league, making QB Matt Barkley the current backup to Josh Allen in Buffalo…The Jaguars waived backup QB Cody Kessler. The Patriots released WR Bruce Ellington with an injury designation. The Giants signed RB Rod Smith, the former backup to Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott.