NFL News

Reports: Matt Rhule files $5M arbitration suit vs. Panthers

Reports: Matt Rhule files $5M arbitration suit vs. Panthers

Former Carolina head coach Matt Rhule filed an arbitration lawsuit against the Panthers over $5 million in offset compensation he claims he's owed, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

Rhule filed the lawsuit on Jan. 25.

Rhule was fired Oct. 10 and was owed $34 million on the rest of his contract, pending a new contract that Rhule might sign with a new team or school. Rhule was later hired by Nebraska on an eight-year, $72 million deal that offset most of what the Panthers owed to Rhule.

At issue, according to CBS Sports, is that the Panthers will contend that Rhule's contract with Nebraska is backloaded intentionally to get Panthers owner David Tepper to pay Rhule more up-front money on the severance.

Nebraska is set to pay Rhule $5.5 million in Year 1 with escalators that take it to $12.5 million per year.

Rhule reportedly hired New York City litigator John Singer of Singer Deutsch LLP to file the complaint with the NFL.

Rhule was fired by the Panthers after a 1-4 start. He had an 11-27 record in two-plus seasons with the team.

Tepper said Tuesday, during the introduction of new head coach Frank Reich, that he made a "mistake" hiring a "CEO-type head coach" like Rhule.

"With all humility, I could have done better, OK?" Tepper said. "I'm not saying that Rhule wasn't a good coach. I'm not saying that. Please don't interpret it that way. I'm saying I could have run a better process last time. I do believe that."

Hall of Fame GM Bobby Beathard dies at 86

Hall of Fame GM Bobby Beathard dies at 86

Hall of Fame NFL executive Bobby Beathard, an architect of four Super Bowl titles for two different teams, has died at age 86.

Beathard died Monday due to complications from Alzheimer's disease at his home in Franklin, Tenn., his son Casey told The Washington Post.

Beathard won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins -- including the undefeated 1972 team -- and two more with the then-Washington Redskins in the 1980s. He also authored 10 division winners over his three decades in the NFL.

Beathard was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2018.

He was a personnel executive for five teams in his career, including the then-San Diego Chargers, for whom he was GM from 1990-99.

"Bobby was one of the best judges of football talent in NFL history. For most, that alone would be enough. For Bobby Beathard, it doesn't nearly do the man justice," Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. "Bobby was who we all aspire to be -- a friendly, caring, giving, thoughtful human being who brought people from all walks of life together. He was the best GM in football; but he was also the guy sitting on his surfboard in the ocean that you caught waves with, jogged trails alongside and chatted up in the check-out line of the local market. He was the guy you felt like you'd known your entire life, even if it wasn't but for five minutes at the gas station. He was just a regular guy who happened to be anything but."

Beathard was director of player personnel for the Dolphins from 1972-77, helping the team to Super Bowl titles in consecutive years, 1972-73.

"We are saddened by the passing of former Dolphins executive & Hall of Famer, Bobby Beathard," the Dolphins said in a statement.

But he was best known for his time as GM of Washington from 1978-88. He hired coach Joe Gibbs and drafted Hall of Fame players Art Monk, Russ Grimm and Darrell Green, leading to Super Bowl titles in 1982 and 1987. Future Pro Bowlers such as pass rusher Dexter Manley and wideout Charlie Brown were also on those teams. He also signed undrafted lineman Joe Jacoby, who would earn four Pro Bowl selections.

He began his career with the Kansas City Chiefs -- then of the old American Football League -- and Atlanta Falcons.

Beathard is the grandfather of NFL quarterback C.J. Beathard, who plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

NFL luminaries tip cap to Tom Brady

NFL luminaries tip cap to Tom Brady

He inspired, confounded and dominated peers for 23 years in the NFL, but Tom Brady insists he's leaving for real this time.

Prominent peers and past allies congratulated Brady on his second retirement on Wednesday, including Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

"Tom Brady was the ultimate winner. He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history," Belichick said in a statement released by the Patriots. "His relentless pursuit of excellence drove him on a daily basis. His work ethic and desire to win were both motivational and inspirational to teammates and coaches alike."

Brady released a short video early Wednesday announcing his latest retirement. At 45, he was set to enter free agency for the second time in March following a reversal of his February 2022 retirement that brought him back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for another season.

"Good morning, guys. I'll get to the point right away," Brady said. "I'm retiring for good. I know the process was a pretty big deal last time. So, when I woke up this morning, I figured I'd just press record and let you guys know first so I won't be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year. I really thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors... I can go on forever. There's too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream."

Brady will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2028. Another recent retiree, J.J. Watt of the Arizona Cardinals, is in line for enshrinement in the same class.

"Greatest of All Time. No question, no debate," Watt said. "It's been an honor and a privilege. PS - The newly retired group meets on the golf course every morning at 10am. Drinks are on the new guy, so bring your wallet."

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has claimed the torch from Brady with his third Super Bowl appearance in four seasons. But they were 3-3 in head-to-head matchups, and Brady beat Mahomes and the Chiefs to bring the Buccaneers the franchise's only Lombardi Trophy.

Mahomes, preparing to play in Super Bowl LVII in Arizona next week, replied to Brady on Twitter with three goat -- make that, GOAT -- emojis.

One year ago, Brady's retirement was met with congratulations from all corners of the world. LeBron James to Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter to Alex Rodriguez and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson all joined in wishing the NFL's winningest quarterback farewell.

Former teammates and friends had a good time spinning Brady's re-retirement in their favor, including Julian Edelman's invite for Brady to join him for a new competition.

"You only get one super emotional reaction to the goat retiring, and I used mine up," wrote Edelman, a three-time Super Bowl champion on the Brady-led Patriots. "So I'll just say this. Learning from you as a player, teammate, leader, son, brother, and father has been the experience of a lifetime. Love you buddy. PS. Pickleball partners?"

There was less emotion and fanfare following Brady's second retirement announcement on the day before Groundhog's Day 2023, and Brady is not scheduled for a retirement press conference.

At this time in 2022, Shaquille O'Neal offered what would later look more prophetic than comical with this tweet: "no man get your butt up and do one more year."

Jeter, who rented his spacious mansion in Tampa to Brady and his family upon their Florida arrival, did share a note to Brady on Twitter.

"Congrats @TomBrady on an unbelievable career. It was fun to watch!"

Bills' Damar Hamlin teams up with AHA on CPR challenge

Bills' Damar Hamlin teams up with AHA on CPR challenge

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is teaming up with the American Heart Association on an initiative promoting CPR.

Hamlin had his life saved via CPR during a football game against the host Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2. He has made a swift and miraculous recovery and hopes to inspire others during February, which is American Heart Month.

Hamlin announced the "Damar Hamlin #3forHeart CPR Challenge," designed to teach people how to perform hands-only CPR.

The 3 stands for Hamlin's jersey number as well as the number of steps in the challenge.

The steps are going to heart.org/3 to watch a video that teaches people how to give CPR; donating to the American Heart Association to fund CPR education and training; and sharing the challenge with three friends by using the #3forHeart hashtag on social media.

In his video, Hamlin challenges former first lady Michelle Obama, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and retiring football player Tom Brady.

After collapsing on the field due to cardiac arrest, Hamlin was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center in critical condition and was placed on a ventilator. He was released nine days later.

"I can't tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support and everything that's just been coming in my way," Hamlin said in the video.

49ers: No ‘scenario’ for Jimmy Garoppolo to return

49ers: No ‘scenario’ for Jimmy Garoppolo to return

The San Francisco quarterback room just got smaller as 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan signaled Wednesday that Jimmy Garoppolo will not return to the team next season.

Garoppolo is a free agent this offseason.

"No, I don't see any scenario of that," Shanahan said Wednesday when asked if Garoppolo would return in 2023.

The Niners are rolling with two injured QBs -- Trey Lance and Brock Purdy, though the latter could be out for a year if he chooses to have Tommy John surgery on his torn UCL. Purdy could be ready by training camp if he opts to repair the ligament.

Lance is expected to be recovered in time to participate in offseason activities.

"It sounds like we'll at least have one guy for it," Shanahan said.

"I know we have two starters on our team right now that I believe we can win with," Shanahan added. "When you have that situation, you're not that eager to go looking around."

Garoppolo, 31, went 7-3 as the starter after Lance went down in Week 2 with a season-ending ankle injury. Garoppolo threw for 2,437 yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions before he suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 13.

His exit paved the way for the rookie heroics of Purdy, who took the baton and led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game, where his injury figured into a 31-7 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles. Purdy's right elbow was injured on the 49ers' sixth play from scrimmage on a blow from Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick. He later had to re-enter the game after backup Josh Johnson sustained a concussion.

"The good thing about Brock is (gradual wear-and-tear) wasn't an issue," Shanahan said. "It was a freak accident that I think everyone saw what happened. When you talk to the doctors, it takes three months to really get back to repairing it and building it up the right way, and in six months, he'll be the same guy."

Purdy threw for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in the regular season and went for 332 yards and three TDs in a wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks. He added 214 yards passing when the Niners edged the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round.

Reports: Duce Staley leaving Lions for Panthers

Reports: Duce Staley leaving Lions for Panthers

Duce Staley is leaving the Detroit Lions for an unspecified role on Frank Reich's new staff in Carolina, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

The Panthers are considering Staley for their offensive coordinator role under Reich, though they've also requested permission to interview Jacksonville's Jim Bob Cooter, according to NFL Network.

Regardless, Staley would have an equal or elevated role on the Panthers. He was running backs coach/assistant head coach with the Lions for the past two seasons.

The Detroit News reports that the Lions gave Staley permission to leave to be closer to his mother, who lives in South Carolina, even if it's not an elevated role. Staley's mother is reportedly dealing with health issues.

The move reunites Staley with Reich, with whom he worked in Philadelphia when Reich was the OC and Staley the RBs coach.

Staley, 47, rushed for 5,785 yards and 24 touchdowns in his 10-year career with the Eagles (1997-2003) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2004-06). He also finished with 287 receptions for 2,587 yards and 10 TDs.

New Chargers OC Kellen Moore sees starring role for Justin Herbert

New Chargers OC Kellen Moore sees starring role for Justin Herbert

New Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore doesn't need an introduction to quarterback Justin Herbert.

Moore has been a spokesperson for a car dealership in Meridian, Idaho, since 2012. Herbert began a small role with the same dealership in 2020 and filmed some commercials last offseason with Moore serving as coach, and Herbert and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch cast as trainees or "rookies."

The association packs extra meaning now with Moore taking over the reins of the Chargers' offense and Herbert on the doorstep of stardom after passing for 14,089 yards and 94 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons.

"It's amazing how life can come full circle," Moore said, referencing the commercial shoot. "I hadn't spent a ton of time with him outside of those couple days, but I've always watched him from afar, loved watching him play at Oregon and certainly what he has done in the NFL ...

"We know his ability to throw it down the field. I'm just really, really excited to be able to work with him and, hopefully, help him in some way as he continues to build the career that he is going to have. I'm just really, really excited."

Moore, 34, is now with the Chargers after eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys -- three as a backup quarterback and five as an assistant coach. Moore served as offensive coordinator for the past four seasons.

The Cowboys and Moore mutually parted ways on Sunday, seven days after the season ended with a 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs.

And Moore wasn't the least bit sad. He said knew it was time to leave though he appreciated his long stay in Dallas.

"I've been fortunate to have been at one spot for eight years." Moore said. "... I love everything about that place. It's certainly a very special place to me. As we went through the process, sometimes change can be really good for all of us, and I felt like I was in that space. It works for both sides.

"I think that it's an awesome opportunity for Dallas, and an awesome opportunity for me. I'm certainly really, really excited about how this thing all played out."

Moore also recently interviewed for the Carolina Panthers' head-coaching position that was filled by the hiring of Frank Reich.

A record-setting quarterback at Boise State when the team went 50-3 from 2008-11, Moore has been a fast riser on the coaching front.

His success led Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley to move quickly in pursuit of Moore, and the sides had a deal less than 24 hours after Moore's departure from the Cowboys.

Moore and Staley previously established a relationship when the Cowboys and Chargers held joint practice sessions during training camp.

"It was a very fast process in very unique circumstances," Moore said. "Enjoyed my time with Brandon during those couple days, and so naturally we kind of had a relationship that extended through the season, mostly through text messages. ... We kind of stayed in contact, and then, over the weekend, this thing obviously happened pretty fast."

Moore said his initial tasks with the Chargers include studying the personnel. He is well aware there is a lot of talent with Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler and receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams all in the fold.

"I'm just really excited to get to work with them," Moore said. "The beauty of football and the beauty of systems -- you want to build it around the players. I'm excited to figure out what they do best, how they've worked and work, and put them in the best situations to be successful."

Moore said the offensive attack will be a mixture of systems, even paying a nod to the historic offenses of the franchise's San Diego days with legend Don Coryell -- a current finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"We're going to build a 2023 L.A. Chargers offense," Moore said. "Will you be able to see the Air Coryell, Jason Garrett side? Absolutely. Will you see the West Coast and Mike McCarthy? Absolutely.

"We'll keep things that are in place here that Justin feels really, really good about, and then we're willing to explore."

The Chargers went 10-7 this season before their campaign crumbled in the AFC wild-card round. The club blew a 27-point lead -- the third biggest collapse in postseason history -- while falling 31-30 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Chargers fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shane Day after the epic loss.

Herbert recently underwent shoulder surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder and is expected to be ready for offseason workouts.

Jerry Jones: Mike McCarthy to call plays in 2023

Jerry Jones: Mike McCarthy to call plays in 2023

It's official: Mike McCarthy will call offensive plays for the Dallas Cowboys in 2023.

That from owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who told reporters at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday that McCarthy will bring a version of the offense he ran in Green Bay to the Cowboys next season.

"This is the logical step to build on it and use what we've established, if you will, the foundation of wins we got. This is the time to build on it and that's what this is, this a building step," Jones said.

McCarthy was head coach for the Packers from 2006-18 and called the offense for the majority of that time. He was also an offensive coordinator for New Orleans and San Francisco before taking over the reins in Green Bay.

The Cowboys parted ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on Sunday. Moore hooked on as OC with the Los Angeles Chargers less than 24 hours later.

"I think Mike felt it was in our best interest to keep Kellen when he first got here because Kellen's outstanding," Cowboys executive vice president and CEO Stephen Jones said. "The more he's been around Kellen, as much as he respects him, there's still a part of it that don't totally jibe, if you will, with what he wants."

Jerry Jones also confirmed that the Cowboys have talked with Carolina Panthers running backs coach/assistant head coach Jeff Nixon and Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach/assistant head coach Thomas Brown to replace Moore as OC.

Jerry Jones said the team will resume talking with wideout Odell Beckham Jr. in free agency. The team flirted with Beckham late in the 2022 season but with the WR continuing to rehab from ACL surgery, he likely would not have been able to suit up. Beckham missed the entire 2022 season.

Both Jerry and Stephen Jones also told reporters the team wants to retain running back Ezekiel Elliott. The team could dump Elliott's contract with just a $11.8 million cap hit in 2023. The team signed Elliott to a six-year, $90 million extension in September 2019.

Elliott rushed for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games (14 starts) in 2022. Elliott missed time with a knee injury and at times took a back seat with the emergence of Tony Pollard.

Further, Stephen Jones said the Cowboys are committed to quarterback Dak Prescott and are open to extending his contract to lower his cap hit. The team signed Prescott to a four-year, $160 million contract extension in March 2021. Year 1 of the extension kicks in for the 2023 season, giving the Cowboys a $49.1 million cap hit.

However, Jerry Jones also said the team is committed to drafting a quarterback, saying the Cowboys should have committed to drafting one every year years ago.

Prescott injured his thumb in Week 1 against Tampa on Sept. 11 that required insertion of a steel plate and screws to promote healing in his right hand. He returned Week 7 against Detroit.

Jerry Jones also confirmed that wide receiver Michael Gallup underwent two arthroscopic surgeries Tuesday on his knee and ankle. The knee was a meniscus repair and the other was clean-up of his ankle. He's expected to be ready for the start of the offseason program in April.

Report: Tua Tagovailoa clears concussion protocol

Report: Tua Tagovailoa clears concussion protocol

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has finally cleared concussion protocol after more than a month, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Tagovailoa entered the protocol ahead of Week 17. He also will miss this weekend's Pro Bowl festivities.

Tagovailoa, 24, met with several medical professionals, all of whom concur that the three-year pro will be ready for offseason football activities.

The report comes the same day as a separate report that Tagovailoa has changed representation. The Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday that Tagovailoa parted ways with Leigh Steinberg and is now represented by Athletes First (Ryan Williams, Austin Lyman).

The Dolphins face a May 1 deadline to pick up the fifth-year option on Tagovailoa's rookie contract. If they don't, Tagovailoa would become a free agent after the 2024 season.

Tagovailoa entered the protocol on Dec. 26 after suffering a concussion in a Week 16 loss against the Green Bay Packers. He had a previous concussion in Week 4 that caused him to miss two starts.

The third-year QB led the NFL with a 105.5 passer rating in 2022, completing 64.8 percent of his passes for a career-high totals in yards (3,548) and touchdowns (25). He also had eight interceptions in 13 starts.

Drafted No. 5 overall by Miami in 2020, Tagovailoa has passed for 8,015 yards with 52 TDs and 23 picks in 36 games (34 starts).

2023 NFL Draft: Projecting all 31 first-round picks

2023 NFL Draft: Projecting all 31 first-round picks

Tom Brady retired and there's a chance another titanic move could come of Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers weighs dropping the curtain or embracing relocation.

The 2023 NFL Draft features multiple quarterback prospects viewed as potential franchise fixtures, but only a handful of teams are in position to add Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's CJ Stroud or Kentucky's Will Levis.

Note: The Miami Dolphins forfeit their first-round pick following the NFL ruling the team violated league policies governing the integrity of the game.

Here's a look at projections for the first round of the 2023 draft:

1) Chicago Bears (projected trade with Colts)

DE Will Anderson, Alabama

Anderson has traits for days and almost never rushed the passer against single blocking in the SEC.

Trade suitors offer general manager Ryan Poles great and greater options for pushing a rapid rebuild into hyperdrive. He hooks up with old Chiefs scouting department officemate Chris Ballard in a deal with the Colts that likely brings a first-rounder in 2024 just to slide down three spots. A Poles double-deal in the top 10 is entirely possible with QB-craving teams anxious to get to No. 4 (where the Bears move in this projected trade) and willing to overpay to keep Seattle from getting the third-ranked QB in this class.

2) Houston Texans

QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State

Stroud brings stability to the organization and gives new coach DeMeco Ryans a building block to compete in the sagging AFC South as soon as the 2023 season.

3) Arizona Cardinals

DL Jalen Carter, Georgia

If there's a reason the Bears would balk at the Colts' offer, it's this man. A massive and dynamic athlete in the mold of Colts DT DeForest Buckner, the Cardinals get an anchor for the defensive line following J.J. Watt's retirement.

4) Indianapolis Colts (projected trade with Bears)

QB Bryce Young, Alabama

In a move up to No. 1 with the Bears, the Colts take Young with the expectation he brings the franchise what Andrew Luck did before his premature retirement -- a franchise quarterback capable of competing for the Lombardi Trophy.

5) Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)

QB Will Levis, Kentucky

Predicting how GM John Schneider might spend this pot-of-gold pick from the Broncos as part of the Russell Wilson trade is bound to be one of the biggest variables all the way up to the April draft. Trained by Ron Wolf in Green Bay, Schneider knows how to find a quarterback. He also knows this pick will hold.

6) Detroit Lions (via LAR)

TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

With the two premium defensive linemen gone, the Lions lean into another pick courtesy of the Rams to replace TJ Hockenson (traded to the Vikings) and give QB Jared Goff an inside option. Mayer had 18 career TDs and makes "wow" catches in traffic.

7) Las Vegas Raiders

DE Myles Murphy, Clemson

Quarterback and offensive line are needs, but value is on the edge and the Raiders get Maxx Crosby some help in the mission to beat Mahomes and Herbert.

8) Atlanta Falcons

OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern

When the Falcons selected Jake Matthews with the sixth pick in the 2014 draft, pundits felt Matthews wouldn't hold up at left tackle in the NFL and was destined to play inside at guard. Skoronski hears some of the same conjecture regarding arm length and his fit on the left side, but the Falcons continue their rebuild with a prospect would could start at any of the five OL positions.

9) Carolina Panthers

DE Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech

At 6-feet-6, 270, the Panthers have the makings of a menacing front pairing with DT Derrick Brown and pass rusher Brian Burns.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)

CB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

James Bradberry figures to be a prominent free agent, which means he'll fetch a prominent payday. The top corner in the class has the speed and length to check No. 1 receivers as a rookie.

11) Tennessee Titans

OT Paris Johnson, Ohio State

The future of Taylor Lewan, who turns 32 in June and ended his 2022 season on IR in September, is very much tenuous in Tennessee. A natural left tackle some view as a top-five caliber prospect, the Titans waste little time jumping for Johnson as a commitment to re-establish dominance in the trenches.

12) Houston Texans (via CLE)

WR Jordan Addison, USC

The Texans are tempted by the multiple matchup defensive backs on the board and pass-rush help before swinging for Addison, who becomes the lead receiver for CJ Stroud.

13) New York Jets

DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson

Health and durability questions top the list of negatives on Bresee's scouting report. A green light on the medical evals puts him in the middle of the Jets' defense next to Quinnen Williams.

14) New England Patriots

CB Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Porter plays a physical style that will endear him to Bill Belichick and give the Patriots better personnel in a division of top-end receivers.

15) Green Bay Packers

OT Broderick Jones, Georgia

GM Brian Gutekunst restocked the offensive line with middle-round picks in recent years and left guard Elgton Jenkins has played tackle, but knee injuries, age and salary indicate it's time to move on from David Bakhtiari.

16) Washington Commanders

QB Anthony Richardson, Florida

Boom-or-bust based on raw skills but inconsistent results, Richardson's ceiling as a potential-packed athlete is limited only by questions about whether he can evolve as a true passer.

17) Pittsburgh Steelers

TE Darnell Washington, Georgia

Secondary help and reinforcements on the defensive line are higher priorities. Washington's size, willingness to block and potential as a passing-game target are enticing for coach Mike Tomlin and a slow-growing offense.

18) Detroit Lions

S Brian Branch, Alabama

A defense with few playmakers gets one. Cracking the Crimson Tide secondary as a freshman gets you on the NFL radar early, and Branch has the proven versatility to rise up draft boards in the coming weeks.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

LB Drew Sanders, Arkansas

Cap constraints limit how far the Bucs can go in free agency and whether they can pull Lavonte David back in for another season. Sanders suits the Bucs' scheme with speed and range.

20) Seattle Seahawks

CB Kelee Ringo, Georgia

A size-speed prospect capable of helping inspire Legion of Boom comparisons.

21) Los Angeles Chargers

WR Quentin Johnston, TCU

Mike Williams and Johnston (6-4, 213) would be a physically imposing tandem for Justin Herbert, even if Keenan Allen returns for his 11th season.

22) Baltimore Ravens

CB Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

Marcus Peters, a free agent, will be difficult for the Ravens to afford while navigating negotiations with QB Lamar Jackson. Witherspoon represents a big value in this spot, continuing the Ravens' tradition of catching higher-rated prospects late in the first round.

23) Minnesota Vikings

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

One spot later than the Vikings stole Justin Jefferson out of LSU in 2020, the Vikings jump at the explosive playmaker.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars

CB Cam Smith, South Carolina

Contending in the AFC requires points but also playmakers in the back half of the defense.

25) New York Giants

OG O'Cyrus Torrence, Florida

Investing in QB Daniel Jones without addressing pass protection would be a miserable approach for the Giants, who know the depth of their skill-position needs entering free agency and could be a player in the trade bidding for Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins.

26) Dallas Cowboys

S Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M

A No. 2 cornerback tempts the Cowboys as do potential replacements for TE Dalton Schultz, one of whom went off the board earlier, pushing Dallas to a high-impact safety with coverage skills for a nickel role.

27) Buffalo Bills

RB Bijan Robinson, Texas

Robinson adds a playmaker to the Buffalo offense and getting him the ball regularly adds life to QB Josh Allen's career while complicating scheme decisions for defenses.

28) Cincinnati Bengals

LB Trenton Simpson, Clemson

The latest versatile defender produced by the Tigers, Simpson played multiple positions in the Clemson front and the ability to change his stripes with the Bengals makes this the perfect fit.

29) New Orleans Saints (via DEN)

WR Zay Flowers, Boston College

A fine fit and complement to standout rookie Chris Olave, Flowers helps an offense in the midst of a hard reset. The Broncos trade this pick for the right to hire head coach Sean Payton.

30) Kansas City Chiefs

DE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa

Frank Clark and Chris Jones have weighty contracts and the Chiefs began to restock with left defensive end George Kalaftis with the 30th pick in 2022.

31) Philadelphia Eagles

TE Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

Size (6-5), speed (4.5s), power and athleticism are winning traits for Musgrave, whose stock will rise as he proves to be over the knee injury that ended his final season in September 2022. Luxury pick helps running game and gives Dallas Goedert a running mate in two-TE sets.

*Picks 30-31 will be determined by the outcome of Super Bowl LVII.

Eagles OL Josh Sills indicted on rape, kidnapping charges

Eagles OL Josh Sills indicted on rape, kidnapping charges

Philadelphia Eagles rookie offensive lineman Josh Sills has been indicted on one count of rape and one count of kidnapping in Ohio.

A grand jury in Guernsey County brought the action against Sills, 25, in connection with a 2019 case.

A Wednesday news release from the office of Ohio attorney general Dave Yost said a woman alleged that in December 2019, Sills forced her take part in non-consensual sexual activity and held her against her will. The incident was reported immediately to the Guernsey County Sheriff's office, which launched a "detailed investigation," per the release.

The case is being prosecuted by the Ohio attorney general's special prosecutions section.

Stills was issued a summons to appear in a Guernsey County courtroom on Feb. 16 -- four days after the Eagles meet the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz.

The Eagles had not commented on the charges as of midday Wednesday.

Sills played collegiately at West Virginia before transferring to Oklahoma State, where he was a team captain and first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2021. He was signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2022.

An Ohio native, Sills saw limited action with the Eagles. He appeared in one game -- a 20-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 9 -- and played four snaps on special teams.

49ers LT Trent Williams contemplating retirement

49ers LT Trent Williams contemplating retirement

San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is mulling all options as he heads into the offseason -- including retirement.

Williams made his comments on Tuesday, two days after he sustained a "minor" left foot injury in the 49ers' 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

"It's a long season, having two long seasons back-to-back, it does get pretty grueling for a 34-year-old guy like myself," Williams said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "You do kind of think about what's life like after football, because I've done this every year of my life since the second grade. You do get to that age, especially after ending the year like this and it being as exhausting as it was and still not getting quite where you want to be. I get it, you get to that age. Honestly, I'm just taking it one day at a time and we'll see how it goes."

A 10-time Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro in 2021 and 2022, Williams also admitted the daily grind of an NFL season gives him pause during the offseason.

"I'd be lying (to) say it didn't," Williams said. "Yeah, it does. It isn't hard to get up for NFC Championship (Game), or playoffs or anything like that. But, yeah, the day-to-day grind does get pretty redundant (after) doing it for a long time.

"But I'm blessed. I'm blessed to have played this game for as long as I have. ... But to answer your question, yeah, it does get a little like a rerun almost."

Williams started 162 of the 163 career games in which he played with the Washington franchise and the 49ers. He was selected by Washington with the fourth overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Tom Brady: 'I'm retiring for good'

Tom Brady: 'I'm retiring for good'

Tom Brady announced Wednesday morning that he retiring "for good" from football.

Brady, 45, initially retired from professional football last Feb. 1. He changed his mind 40 days later and returned to play the 2022 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On Wednesday, Brady took to social media and said the following in a video:

"Good morning, guys. I'll get to the point right away. I'm retiring for good.

"I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I'd just press record and let you guys know first. I won't be longwinded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year, so really thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me.

"My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors -- I could go on forever, there's too many," Brady said in the video, fighting back tears. "Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn't change a thing. Love you all."

Brady concludes one of the most decorated NFL careers of all time. Among his records: most Super Bowl championships (seven), most regular-season wins by a quarterback (251), most postseason wins by a quarterback (35), most passes completed (7,753), most pass attempts (12,050), most passing yards (89,214) and most passing touchdowns (649).

He is a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player and a 15-time Pro Bowl selection.

Brady spent his first 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, then joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of the 2020 season and led them to a Super Bowl championship in his first campaign.

In 2021, he led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43) before those numbers fell to 4,694 and 25, respectively, in 2022 as the Buccaneers finished 8-9. Tampa Bay made the playoffs as the champion of the weak NFC South before getting hammered by Dallas in the wild-card round.

Reports: Texans hire 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans as head coach

Reports: Texans hire 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans as head coach

The Houston Texans hired DeMeco Ryans as their head coach Tuesday afternoon, multiple reports said.

The hire was widely expected after the NFL Network and KPRC2 in Houston reported Monday that the Texans planned to finalize a deal with Ryans after a second interview. With Ryans' San Francisco 49ers losing in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, he was freed up to complete a second interview with Houston, per NFL rules.

The Texans' official Twitter account posted earlier Tuesday that the team had "completed additional discussions with DeMeco Ryans regarding our head coaching position."

Ryans, 38, spent the past two seasons as the 49ers' defensive coordinator. He was their inside linebackers coach for three seasons before that.

A former linebacker, Ryans spent the first six seasons of his playing career with the Texans, who selected him with the first pick of the second round in the 2006 draft. He was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009.

Ryans also spent 2012-15 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 140 career games (139 starts), Ryans amassed 970 tackles, 13.5 sacks, seven interceptions, seven forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries.

His work with the 49ers' defense drew plaudits. He assumed the coordinator position after Robert Saleh left the team to take the New York Jets' head job. The Niners allowed the fewest points (16.3) and yards per game (300.6) in the NFL in 2022 and generated 30 takeaways.

Ryans replaces Lovie Smith, who was the second straight Texans coach to be let go after one season. The Texans went 3-13-1 in 2022 and will pick second in April's NFL draft.

The 49ers have requested to interview Steve Wilks for their defensive coordinator vacancy. Wilks is under contract with the Carolina Panthers, where he was the defensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2022. Carolina interviewed Wilks for the full-time head coach gig before hiring Frank Reich.

Report: Broncos finalizing deal to make Sean Payton new head coach

Report: Broncos finalizing deal to make Sean Payton new head coach

Former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is about to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos.

According to ESPN, the two teams agreed to compensation on Tuesday afternoon that would clear the path for Payton to be hired by the Broncos. Denver would trade a first-round pick in 2023 -- the 29th overall -- and a second-round pick in 2024 for Payton and a third-round pick.

Payton, 59, is the biggest name available in the coaching market. He is still under contract with New Orleans through the 2024 season after stepping aside as the Saints' coach in January 2022 after 15 seasons.

Payton said last week that the price for an NFL team to hire him in this cycle would likely be a mid- to late-first-round draft pick.

In addition to the Broncos, Payton also has interviewed with the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.

The 2023 first-round draft pick was received in the trade deadline deal with the Miami Dolphins for outside linebacker Bradley Chubb.

Payton took last season off after coaching New Orleans to a 152-89 record in 15 seasons. He guided the Saints to the 2009 season Super Bowl title.

The Super Bowl-winning season is the lone time Payton has won multiple games in the postseason. He has a 9-8 mark in nine appearances.

The Saints won 10 or more games nine times under Payton. They went 9-8 in his final season in 2021.

The Broncos have missed the playoffs in seven straight seasons and have sustained six consecutive losing campaigns.

Despite acquiring quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks prior to last season, Denver was just 5-12 and first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired with two games remaining in the regular season.

Panthers' Frank Reich vows standard of excellence, roster collaboration

Panthers' Frank Reich vows standard of excellence, roster collaboration

For the man who threw the first touchdown pass in team history, new Panthers head coach Frank Reich knows what the "secret sauce" is in Carolina, and it's not the quarterback.

It's the Panthers' defense.

Reich was introduced Tuesday in Charlotte as the team's new head coach, and while he continues to think about specifics of how it will be done, Reich promised a "standard of excellence" and roster collaboration.

Reich shook hands with current players who were in attendance before taking the stage. Some of his old 1995 teammates came out as well, including Carlton Bailey, Gerald Williams, Pete Metzelaars, Dwight Stone, John Kasay and Mark Rodenhauser.

"The standard is the best," Reich said in his opening remarks. "That's what we're reaching for, nothing but the best. Let's have a consistency of excellence in everything that we do. ... At the top end is championships and the bottom end, we're a playoff team."

And unlike the previous tenure of the exiled Matt Rhule, the Panthers' roster will be a work of collaboration between Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer.

"It's not a one-man show," Reich said. "It's balance of power. Scott will have control of the 53. I'll have control of who's active, who's not active. But, ultimately, that's on paper. In reality, this is 100 percent collaborative. ... We're gonna tirelessly work where we're gonna have the same vision.

"We'll have disagreements. ... We'll have different ideas. But, ultimately, we'll come together as one and decide who are the best players on this team and how to build this team," Reich said.

The biggest roster question is at quarterback, where the Panthers cycled through three quarterbacks alone in 2022 -- Baker Mayfield (six starts), Sam Darnold (six starts) and PJ Walker (five starts).

"You've got to have stability at quarterback," Reich said. "We've learned to adapt, but that's not the ideal situation."

Reich added that figuring out the QB position will be priority No. 1 for himself, Fitterer and owner David Tepper.

But Reich knows what he has in his defense.

"I think the defense has been a real strong suit, been a top-level defense," Reich said. "A top-five defense can elevate you as a team. Not only be in every game but find a way to win every game. We understand we're in a league that is offensively driven, but kind of the secret sauce is create and build upon the momentum we have here, the players, the roster we have here on defense."

Reich also said no decision has been made about whether he will call offensive plays. Though he enjoys it, he noted a trend of head coaches moving away from that. He said he wants to fill out his offensive staff before he makes a decision about play-calling.

Titans switching to turf surface for 2023

Titans switching to turf surface for 2023

The Tennessee Titans are going away from natural grass and will install "cutting-edge field turf" in time for the 2023 NFL season.

According to the Titans, they're replacing their grass with monofilament, Matrix Helix Turf with organic infill, becoming the "first NFL stadium with the technology of a synthetic turf system that incorporates organic infill."

"There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our players," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said in a news release. "It's hard to grow grass. It gets slick. We put new turf down, we try and put new sod down and it's slick, you see guys slipping.

The switch comes amid a raging debate between the NFL Players Association and the league about natural vs. artificial surfaces.

NFLPA president JC Tretter wrote last fall that "NFL clubs should proactively change all field surfaces to natural grass."

Citing statistics, Tretter wrote "NFL players consistently experienced a much higher rate of non-contact lower extremity injuries on turf compared to natural surfaces."

Meanwhile, the Titans in their release said Nissan Stadium in Nashville "consistently had amongst the highest lower body injuries of any stadium across the league" during the 2018-21 seasons on natural grass.

That's due to the region's transition climate zone, the team said.

"Ultimately there's just a limit to how much can be done for a natural grass surface in this part of the country," Titans president and CEO Burke Nihill said. "This turf is cutting-edge technology and will be a huge improvement in terms of consistency and performance."

Report: Raiders QB Derek Carr not permitted to seek trade

Report: Raiders QB Derek Carr not permitted to seek trade

The Las Vegas Raiders have not granted quarterback Derek Carr permission to speak to potential trade partners, multiple outlets reported.

The Raiders have to trade or cut their all-time leading passer before Feb. 15, the date his $32.9 million base salary for 2023 and another $7.5 million for 2024 become fully guaranteed.

Carr, 31, has veto power over any trade.

The Raiders benched him for the final two games of the 2022 regular season in favor of Jarrett Stidham. Carr then left the team, with permission, to avoid being a distraction. He tweeted a farewell message to Raiders fans on Jan. 12: "Raider Nation it breaks my heart I didn't get an opportunity to say goodbye in person."

Carr apparently will get that chance this week at the Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas. He announced on Tuesday that he had been named as a replacement for the showcase, his fourth Pro Bowl selection.

"Well... maybe this invitation got lost in the mail from past seasons but I'm going back to pro bowl #4," he posted on Twitter. "See you soon Vegas!"

A trade would appear to be beneficial to both parties. The Raiders could land a draft pick or a veteran player in return for the nine-year starter, while Carr could get to hand-pick his landing spot.

So what's the hangup? The Athletic speculated that the Raiders "might be concerned" that Carr's agent, Tim Younger, would rather work out a free-agent deal for his client than help out with trade terms. Younger declined comment for that story.

Carr completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 3,522 yards with 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 games this season. He is the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards (35,222) and touchdowns (217).

Report: Panthers' Jeff Nixon up for Cowboys OC job

Report: Panthers' Jeff Nixon up for Cowboys OC job

The Dallas Cowboys plan to interview Carolina Panthers assistant Jeff Nixon for their vacant offensive coordinator position, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

Nixon, 48, joined the Panthers in 2020 and was the team's running backs coach and assistant head coach last season.

The Cowboys parted ways Sunday with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who took the same position with the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday.

Nixon began his NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles as an offensive/special teams assistant from 2007-10. He coached running backs with the Miami Dolphins (2011-15) and tight ends with the San Francisco 49ers (2016) before joining Baylor coach Matt Rhule's staff in 2017.

He was the co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach for the Bears through 2019 before departing to join Rhule's staff in Carolina.

Nixon was Carolina's running backs coach in 2020 and became the interim offensive coordinator in 2021 after the team fired Joe Brady in December of that season.

The Panthers (7-10) fired Rhule after a 1-4 start in 2022 and finished the season under interim coach Steve Wilks.

Carolina hired Frank Reich last week to be the new head coach. Nixon is not currently listed as a member of Reich's coaching staff with the Panthers.

Bengals-Chiefs ratings hit 4-year high for championship game

Bengals-Chiefs ratings hit 4-year high for championship game

Sunday's AFC Championship Game between Cincinnati and Kansas City was the most-watched conference title game in four years.

At an average of 53.124 million viewers, the ratings were an 11 percent increase over last year's AFC title game between the same teams. The Chiefs won Sunday's game 23-20 on a field goal in the final seconds.

It was the most-watched conference championship game since the New England Patriots-Chiefs AFC title game five years ago (53.9M).

The NFC title game earlier Sunday between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers garnered an average of 47.50 million viewers, down 5 percent from last year's NFC title game between the 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.

However, the NFC title game still ended as the second most-watched game of the season, surpassing the 45.65 million viewers who watched the 49ers-Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round.

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