CHIEFS, MAHOMES AGREE TO RESTRUCTURED DEAL TO INCLUDE BIG PAY RAISE, AP SOURCE SAYS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Patrick Mahomes has always been content in his contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, and confident that the team that drafted him in the first round in 2017 and helped him become one of the NFL’s biggest stars would always take care of him.
They did that again on Monday.
The Chiefs agreed with the reigning league MVP on a restructuring of his 10-year, $450 million contract that gives Mahomes a big boost in pay over the next four seasons, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the contract.
The revised agreement pushes some of the money Mahomes was scheduled to make going forward to the next four years, and the $210.6 million over that span represents the most in NFL history. Mahomes is due to make $56.85 million this season, $44.5 million next season, $50 million in 2025 and $56.76 million for the 2026 season.
At that point, the Chiefs and Mahomes – who celebrated his 28th birthday Sunday with a 17-9 win in Jacksonville – are expected to revisit his contract, which ties him to the franchise through 2031.
“I know how special it is here and I know how special of a thing we’ve got going,” Mahomes said recently. “I stay out of contract stuff, but I know I’m lucky to be in this place and I want to go out and win as many championships as I can.”
Mahomes set the market with his original extension with Kansas City, which remains the largest overall deal in the NFL. But several quarterbacks had since passed him in average annual value, which naturally put Mahomes’ deal back in the spotlight.
The rapidly inflating QB contracts began with Deshaun Watson’s $230 million deal with Cleveland last year. Jalen Hurts then agreed to a $255 million contract with the Eagles, the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson signed a five-year, $260 million extension, and the Chargers Justin Herbert reached a five-year, $262.5 million extension with the AFC West-rival Chargers.
Then, just over a week ago, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow – one of Mahomes’ burgeoning rivals – signed a five-year, $275 million contract making him the NFL’s highest-paid player on an annual basis at $55 million per year.
“Me, my agent and the team always keep open communication,” Mahomes said during the offseason. “We try to do whatever is the best for the team but obviously I want to do the best for myself as well. But at the same time, I’ve always said, ‘I worry about legacy and winning rings more than making money at this moment.’ But I know we keep communication.
“We see what’s going on around the league,” he added, “but at the same time, I’ll never do anything that’s going to hurt us from keeping the great players that around me. So, it’s kind of teetering around that line.”
The Chiefs were waiting to see how the market for Herbert and Burrow would develop before reworking Mahomes’ deal. They also needed to reach an agreement with All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones, who held out through Week 1, so they would know where they stood relative to the salary cap this season and beyond.
Jones agreed last week to a reworked one-year deal that got him back on the field for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville.
Mahomes was asked regularly about Jones during his holdout, and that in turn led to questions about his own contract. And the perpetually poised Mahomes insisted he would rather have a fair deal that gave Kansas City financial flexibility to surround him with good players – and win more than the two Super Bowl titles on his resume – than be the league’s highest-paid player.
Mahomes is coming off perhaps the best season of his career, throwing for a franchise-record 5,250 yards along with a league-leading 41 touchdown passes and only 12 interceptions. He also proved his toughness once more in the playoffs, when he hurt his ankle in the divisional round against the Jaguars but the led the Chiefs all the way to the Super Bowl.
Mahomes aggravated it against the Eagles but still rallied his team in the second half to raise his second Lombardi Trophy.
The ties binding Mahomes to Kansas City have grown substantially over the year. He has an ownership stake in the Kansas City Royals, who play just across the parking lot from Arrowhead Stadium, along with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer, and his wife Brittany has an ownership share of the Kansas City Current, the professional women’s soccer team.
“Well, I don’t know that there’s really a way to quantify it,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said, when asked earlier this year of Mahomes’ value to Kansas City. “No matter what he makes over his career, I’m sure one way or another, he will be underpaid.” —
JOSH ALLEN HEADS LIST OF QBS WHO REBOUNDED FROM POOR PERFORMANCES IN WEEK 1
Josh Allen was back to himself after a terrible opener. Daniel Jones and Ryan Tannehill also rebounded from awful games to lead comeback wins. Patrick Mahomes and Geno Smith got back on the winning track.
Sunday was filled with impressive bounce-back performances.
The Bills, Giants and Titans avoided 0-2 starts. So did the defending champion Chiefs and the Seahawks.
Allen, coming off a four-turnover effort in Buffalo’s disappointing loss to the Jets, completed 83.8% of his passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers to lead the Bills to a 38-10 rout of the Raiders.
“The thing is with this game, man, it gives you the lowest lows and it gives you the highest highs,” Allen said.
Jones, who posted a career-low 32.4 passer rating in the Giants’ 40-0 loss to Dallas last week, led New York back from a 20-0 halftime deficit to a 31-28 win at Arizona. Jones threw for 321 yards and two TDs and ran for 59 yards and a score.
“We got a resilient, tough-minded group, so we trust everyone to get back focused and know what they got to do to make the play,” Jones said.
Tannehill was 20 of 24 (83.3%) for 246 yards and one TD in Tennessee’s 24-21 win over the Chargers. Last week, Tannehill threw three picks and had a career-worst 28.8 passer rating in a 16-15 loss to the Saints.
“I knew last week wasn’t who I am as a player,” Tannehill said. “I knew I was going to bounce back this week. But it’s nice to feel that support from your teammates throughout the week.”
Smith had 328 yards passing and two TDs, leading Seattle to a 37-31 overtime win in Detroit. Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense still aren’t clicking but he threw for 305 yards and two scores, including one to the returning Travis Kelce, in a 17-9 win at Jacksonville.
Several other quarterbacks, including Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Baker Mayfield and Sam Howell, stepped up to help their teams get to 2-0.
Jackson and the Ravens shook off a rusty first game and upset Joe Burrow and the Bengals on the road, 27-24. Jackson tossed two TDs, including a perfect 17-yarder to Nelson Agholor for an over-the-shoulder catch in the fourth quarter.
Prescott didn’t have to do too much last week when Dallas dominated the Giants. The Cowboys routed the New York Jets 30-10 and Prescott still wasn’t happy with the offense’s red zone efficiency. But he was 31 of 38 for 255 yards and two TDs against the NFL’s No. 1 pass defense in 2022.
“We left a lot out there still,” Prescott said. “That’s the standard of this offense, standard of this team. We expect to score touchdowns on every drive. … but overall a very efficient team win.”
Mayfield overcame a slow start and played efficient in a road win at Minnesota in Week 1. He followed up with a big game in Tampa Bay’s 27-17 victory over the Bears. Mayfield had 317 yards passing, one TD and again played mistake-free ball.
The Buccaneers are 2-0 in their first season without Tom Brady.
“Our guys are motivated,” Mayfield said. “That’s kind of been the narrative the whole time that (there were) low expectations for this team. But, inside of our locker room, we have an extremely high standard. So, we’ve got to continue to grow.”
Mayfield sees plenty of room for improvement. His confidence level is high, as usual.
“When we grow in this offense, continue to get better and better, we’re going to be able to do whatever we want,” Mayfield said.
Howell and the Commanders showed plenty of growth and resilience in Denver, rallying from a 21-3 deficit for a 35-33 victory. Howell had 299 yards passing and two TDs, leading Washington to its first 2-0 start since 2011.
The Saints and Browns will look to join them Monday night while the Steelers and Panthers try to avoid going 0-2.
SACKS AND TAKEAWAYS KEEP FLOWING AS THE MICAH PARSONS-FUELED COWBOYS FLOURISH IN A FAST START
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Micah Parsons zipped around a couple of his defensive linemen on a stunt and was on Zach Wilson before the New York Jets quarterback knew what hit him.
The sacks and takeaways keep flowing for the Dallas Cowboys, the first team since the 1970s to lead the NFL in turnovers forced for two years in a row and one of the league’s top teams in sacks last season.
Parsons, an All-Pro pass rusher each of his first two seasons, is a big reason for the buzz around the Cowboys two weeks into the season.
The numbers are another.
Dallas beat the New York teams by a combined 70-10 in a season-opening sweep, with a 30-10 victory over the Jets that followed a 40-0 rout of the NFC East rival Giants in the opener.
The Cowboys have 10 sacks and seven takeaways — without a turnover of their own a year after Dak Prescott tied for the NFL lead with 15 interceptions despite missing five games. The plus-7 turnover margin leads the NFL.
“We just feel like we’ve been here before,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said. “It’s not something to get excited about. We know who we are. We just feel like the world is just starting to figure out who we are. Just keep watching.”
Parsons had two of the three sacks of Wilson, his 10th game with at least two sacks in his first three seasons. He’s the sixth player to do that since sacks became an official stat in 1982.
Parsons also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, which he thought he had turned into a touchdown by running to the end zone after ripping the ball out of Dalvin Cook’s arms. A replay review showed he made contact with a lineman while still on the ground.
“I definitely think I’ve still got my running back skills,” Parsons said. “It’s a little rusty. I want to be more fluent in my cutbacks and my jukes.”
The Cowboys are the fifth team in the Super Bowl era to score at least 70 points while allowing 10 or fewer in the first two games.
Three of the previous four made the playoffs, and the 1967 Oakland Raiders reached the Super Bowl, losing to Green Bay. Dallas hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1995 season.
“I am guarded because obviously you’ve been in this thing as long as I have, you know that you can have this thing turn on you,” owner Jerry Jones said. “But I fundamentally like where we are.”
Prescott was sharper in the passing game after a sluggish opener against the Giants when the Cowboys really didn’t need much from him because the first two touchdowns came on special teams and defense.
He was 31 of 38 for 255 yards against the Jets while No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb tied a career high with 11 catches for 143 yards, seven shy of his best.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
While new lead running back Tony Pollard had a career-high 25 carries, his 2.9-yard average per carry told the story of a struggling running game.
All-Pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and the Jets’ front had plenty to do with that as the Cowboys had to settle for four of their five field goals on trips inside the 20-yard line. The other field goal came without a first down after Parsons’ fumble recovery at the New York 37.
K Brandon Aubrey was on the “down” side of this category in his debut in the opener because the 28-year-old rookie missed his first-ever NFL regular-season kick on an extra point. He has the job in part because of Brett Maher’s four consecutive misses on PATs in a wild-card win last season.
Aubrey hasn’t missed in 13 kicks since that first one. He has seven field goals, including a 55-yarder against the Jets, and six extra points.
“I think we’ve got us a kicker,” Jones said.
“That’s a far cry from missing that first extra point that we started the season off with, but I’m the kind of guy that will hang in there with them,” Jones, also the team’s general manager, said with a laugh.
WR Michael Gallup’s role in the offense seems to be fading. Newcomer Brandin Cooks’ absence because of a knee injury should have meant more chances for Gallup. Instead, he was targeted just twice with one reception for 3 yards after catching one for 10 against the Giants.
Six-time All-Pro RG Zack Martin injured an ankle when Pollard ran into the back of him on a carry. Coach Mike McCarthy said he thought Martin would be OK. … LG Chuma Edoga, starting in place of Tyler Smith for a second consecutive week because of Smith’s hamstring injury, left with an elbow issue. Undrafted rookie T.J. Bass took Edoga’s spot.
9 — The Cowboys have won nine consecutive home games, their longest streak since AT&T Stadium opened in 2009. It’s the longest run of home victories since Dallas won 11 straight at Texas Stadium in 1991-92.
The Cowboys are
The Cowboys are double-digit favorites at Arizona on Sunday, according to FanDuel SportsBook, and might be again the following week at home against New England. Then it’s a Week 5 showdown at San Francisco, which has beaten Dallas in the playoffs the past two seasons.
REPORTS: BUCS RB CHASE EDMONDS LIKELY TO MISS 4-6 WEEKS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back and special teams player Chase Edmonds is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee, according to multiple reports.
Edmonds left Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears and is likely to be placed on injured reserve.
Edmonds has four rushes for 20 yards in two games and has logged 18 snaps on special teams. He has 1,816 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 72 career games (18 starts) with four teams.
Edmonds, 27, signed with the Bucs in March.
THESE 3 NFL TEAMS SHOULD POUND THE PANIC BUTTON
No longer the death knell it once was, starting 0-2 remains sound the alarm territory.
A turnaround isn’t impossible. See the Cincinnati Bengals U-turn from 0-2 to 12-4 — and ending the regular season with an eight-game win streak — in 2022.
But in some cases, it’s time to pound the panic button.
Here are the three such scenarios where ejection seems inevitable, and making a move could inspire an about face this season:
–Los Angeles Chargers
No team in NFL history has put up 50 points and zero turnovers in the first two weeks of the regular season and gone 0-2.
New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore appears to be a perfect fit for franchise quarterback Justin Herbert. If only the Chargers’ defense could get off the field.
Head coach Brandon Staley, previously defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams, cannot get the yarn back on the spool unraveled by the heartbreaking loss in the wild-card playoffs at Jacksonville last year, when a 27-0 lead dissolved into a 31-30 loss. It’s a carryover he doesn’t want to address, of course.
“I’m not worried about the Jacksonville loss,” Staley said. “The Jacksonville loss hasn’t carried on to this season whatsoever. If you’ve seen our training camp, or you’ve seen the way we’ve played in the first two games, it hasn’t had an impact on our team whatsoever. Our team is connected, our team has played its heart out the last two games and we’ve lost two tough games, but it has nothing to do with the Jacksonville game. And that’s just the truth.”
The truth, from outside linebacker Khalil Mack, on falling to 0-2 with an overtime loss to the Titans on Sunday on the mood of the team: “Pissed off. We know we should be winning these games.”
Head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles being summoned to the principal’s offense in September was warranted. The uninspired effort at Tampa Bay that dropped Chicago to 0-2 might prove even more problematic.
Eberflus and Poles are 3-16 and the offseason moves heralded as visionary appear to be vile instead. Quarterback Justin Fields, in a staged prove-it year during which his GM will measure whether the 2021 first-rounder can develop as a pro passer, hasn’t even had time to take the next step.
Fields has been sacked 10 times and thrown three interceptions. Chicago’s defense is doing Eberflus, whose background is on that side of the ball, no favors with 65 points allowed to the Packers and Buccaneers.
It gets worse: the Bears flew home from Florida to begin prep for a trip to Kansas City, where Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy gets a grand stage to flex against his replacement.
Does Joe Burrow need time to heal in order to effectively lead the offense?
Burrow plans to give his ailing calf “a couple of nights, a couple of sleeps” before determining next steps, but the quarterback is 0-2 to start the season and Cincinnati hasn’t shown the same life it did rebounding from this same two-week slumber last season.
Burrow has one completion over 20 yards — a 32-yarder to running back Joe Mixon — and is averaging 4.2 yards per pass attempt, down from 7.4 last season.
The Bengals get an extra day to prepare for “Monday Night Football” and the Los Angeles Rams (1-1).
“This is exactly where we were last year, and this team is only going to get better with every game that passes,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Sunday. “When you stumble early, you have to learn from it. So many years in the past, we’ve learned from early-season losses that have propelled us in November and December. This will be no different. I’m very confident in that.”
Before their Week 7 bye, the Bengals host the Rams then travel to play the Titans and Cardinals before a Week 6 matchup with the Seahawks.
REPORT: EAGLES CB AVONTE MADDOX (PEC) SET FOR SURGERY
Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox will have surgery this week for a torn pectoral muscle and is potentially out for the season, NFL Network reported Monday.
Maddox, 27, was injured during Thursday night’s win against the Minnesota Vikings.
MRI results and additional medical opinions confirmed that surgery was the best course of action, per the report.
Maddox exited in
Maddox exited in the second quarter of the 34-28 win against the Vikings with what was initially called a shoulder injury after posting two tackles and forcing a fumble.
Maddox is in his sixth season with the Eagles, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2018. He has recorded 246 tackles, eight forced fumbles and four interceptions in 62 games (37 starts).
POLICE SEEK EX-NFL PLAYER AFTER DISCOVERING MOTHER’S BODY
Police are looking for former NFL defensive back Sergio Brown after his mother’s murdered body was found near a creek in the Chicago suburbs this weekend.
Myrtle Brown, 73, was discovered on Saturday afternoon near her home in Maywood, Ill., after relatives told police they could not find her or her son.
An autopsy determined that she had suffered multiple injuries from an assault and her death was ruled a homicide by the Cook County medical examiner’s office, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Maywood police are
Maywood police are searching for Sergio Brown, 35, who played seven NFL seasons with four teams from 2010-16.
Undrafted out of Notre Dame, Brown tallied 144 tackles, four fumble recoveries and one interception in 94 games (15 starts) with the New England Patriots (2010-11), Indianapolis Colts (2012-14), Jacksonville Jaguars (2015) and Buffalo Bills (2016).
RAVENS WR ODELL BECKHAM JR. AVOIDS MAJOR INJURY
Odell Beckham Jr. avoided a major ankle injury at Cincinnati on Sunday and will likely be available for the Baltimore Ravens this week.
Beckham appeared to get hurt on the game’s opening drive. He left to receive medical attention on the bench, and later was ruled out after leaving again in the third quarter. He had three catches for 29 yards.
The Ravens (2-0) received TD receptions from Nelson Agholor and tight end Mark Andrews in the 27-24 win against the Bengals. Beckham has been targeted seven times by quarterback Lamar Jackson through two games.
Rookie Zay Flowers leads the team with 15 targets and 13 receptions.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Beckham has recorded 536 catches for 7,433 yards and 56 touchdowns in 98 career games (93 starts) with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams and Ravens. He exceeded 1,000 receiving yards in five of his first six seasons.
LIONS DE JAMES HOUSTON (ANKLE) OUT SEVERAL WEEKS
Detroit Lions pass rusher James Houston is headed to injured reserve with a right ankle injury.
Houston left Ford Field wearing a boot on his right foot and surgery could be a consideration for what is reportedly a fractured ankle.
Head coach Dan Campbell said Houston would be out “for a while” in his postgame update Sunday. NFL Network reported Monday that Houston’s ankle is fractured, with a recovery window of 6-8 weeks.
Houston, 24, didn’t become a regular until late November last season and posted 8.0 sacks in seven games. In Week 1 of the 2023 season, he had a 30 percent pass-rush win rate at Kansas City.
The 2022 sixth-round draft pick left Sunday’s loss to Seattle after posting one tackle.
BURROW SAYS BENGALS WILL BOUNCE BACK FROM 0-2 START: ‘THAT’S WHAT WE DO’
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow expects his team to bounce back from its slow start to the season – just like last year.
“We’ve done it before,” Burrow said after Cincy’s 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, according to bengals.com. “Obviously, you don’t want to start 0-2, it’s not what we’re planning on, not what you want to do at all. But now we’re going to bounce back, that’s what we do, it’s all there is to it.”
The Bengals kicked off their 2023 campaign with a disappointing 24-3 defeat to the Cleveland Browns, compiling only 142 total yards on offense in the performance. Burrow finished the game with a career-low 82 passing yards while completing just 45.2% of his passes. The 2020 first overall pick played better versus Baltimore, tossing 222 yards and two touchdowns against an end-zone interception. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent Cincy from suffering its second loss in as many games.
The Burrow-led Bengals have been in this position before, as they started the 2022 season 0-2. The 26-year-old also showed optimism last year before the team bounced back to finish the campaign with a 12-4 record. Burrow then led Cincy to its second consecutive AFC title game appearance.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win either of these games,” Burrow added. “We’ve got to find ways to make those plays down the stretch to win these kinds of games. Every time you play an AFC North team, it’s going to look like that. You’re going to have seven possessions, so you’re going to have to make the most of them.”
Burrow, who finished
Burrow, who finished fourth for MVP last season, mentioned a calf injury that sidelined him during training camp as one of the reasons for Cincinnati’s slow start in 2023. He aggravated the injury in Week 2.
“I’m still confident,” Burrow said. “I feel really confident in all the guys we have in that room. Like I said, we’re going to have to see how that calf feels the next couple of days. I don’t know how it’s going to feel. We’ll see.”
The Bengals host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 3.
BENGALS: ‘HARD TO SAY’ IF QB JOE BURROW CAN PLAY WEEK 3
One week before the Bengals are scheduled to host the Los Angeles Rams for “Monday Night Football” in Cincinnati, head coach Zac Taylor said he’s not sure quarterback Joe Burrow will be able to play.
Asked whether the Bengals might need to rest Burrow to get him healthy, Taylor said doctors would be critical to making that decision.
“Hard for me to say right now,” Taylor said to the question of Burrow playing in Week 3.
Burrow was injured
Burrow was injured in a training camp practice July 27 and didn’t participate in practice or preseason games for five weeks. He returned just in time to sign a five-year, $275 million contract and suit up for the regular-season opener.
Through two games, he’s 28th in the NFL in passing yards (310) and has one completion longer than 20 yards, a 32-yarder to running back Joe Mixon. Burrow is averaging 4.22 yards per pass attempt, down from 7.38 last season and 8.87 in 2021.
Taylor said Burrow was “still sore” on Monday.
Off to an 0-2 start, the Bengals lost 27-24 to the Ravens on Sunday, and Burrow said he will need a little time to determine the severity of his calf injury. Burrow said he “tweaked” his calf before the team’s second touchdown in the game.
Burrow said he will give his leg muscle a few days before assessing his status.
“I’ll give it a couple nights and a couple sleeps. We’ll go from there,” he said.
The Bengals have an extra day of preparation with a Monday game and will not fully practice until later in the week.
SEAN PAYTON: BRONCOS MUST LEARN ‘HOW NOT TO LOSE GAMES’
Sean Payton declined to share his message to his players a day after the Denver Broncos fell to 0-2 on Sunday.
But the first-year Broncos coach did have a few key numbers in mind after reviewing the film from a 35-33 loss against the Washington Commanders in a game Denver led 21-3.
“There are some things that stand out right now, and before you talk about how to win games, you also have to understand how not to lose games,” Payton said Monday. “We’re currently tied for a league-high 19 penalties. We lead the league defensively with defensive fouls called, with 12. Five personal fouls.
“We have a number of plays where we’re off the field on third down, but there’s a flag on the turf, there’s holding or defensive pass interference, which makes it an automatic first down. Instead of being off the field, those are turnover penalties. We have to be better and more disciplined in that area, and that starts with us as coaches.”
Denver also led in its season opener at home against Las Vegas, but a 16-10 fourth-quarter lead turned into a one-point loss when the Raiders scored a touchdown with 6:34 remaining and the Broncos went three-and-out on their final possession.
They have now lost two home games by a combined three points, but they were far different setbacks in nature.
Denver was in firm control of Sunday’s game until the offense went into neutral. Up 21-3 in the second quarter, the Broncos managed only a pair of field goals until quarterback Russell Wilson completed a 50-yard Hail Mary pass to Brandon Johnson at the end of regulation.
The ensuing two-point conversion failed.
“Those two games were entirely different. There’s nothing that I would go look at and be able to say tangibly, ‘Hey, this is …’” Payton said. “Forget first half, second half, or whatever the script or narrative is. I thought yesterday, the momentum shifted in that game midway through the second quarter.”
After the Broncos built a 21-3 lead, their next four offensive possessions combined to produce 13 plays and ended with a fumble, an interception and a pair of punts. Meanwhile, the Commanders crawled back to tie the game during that span.
“Our kicking game was outstanding. We got a big punt return. We have it on their end of the field, and we’re already up 21-3. At that point, we go backwards with the penalties, then we turn the ball over,” Payton said. “The next chain of events, really — defensively we (give up) 18 unanswered points. They ended up scoring (on) five of the next six drives.”
The salt in the wound is that both losses came at home. The Broncos will now prepare for road trips to Miami and Chicago before returning for a home game against the New York Jets ahead of another road game at Kansas City.
The silver lining is that Denver is only a game behind the Chiefs and Raiders in the AFC West, with five division games remaining on the schedule.
“Being able to tune out the distractions when you lose two games like this is challenging, but they have to be able to do that,” Payton said.
REPORT: GIANTS BELIEVE BARKLEY SPRAINED ANKLE VS. CARDINALS
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is believed to have sprained his ankle in Sunday’s 31-28 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, sources told NFL insider Jordan Schultz.
The Giants are reportedly under the impression that he dodged a serious injury. Barkley will undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm, Schultz adds.
Barkley suffered the injury while being tackled during a run in the final seconds of the contest. The 26-year-old was helped off the field unable to put weight on his right leg.
The two-time Pro Bowler reportedly had X-rays on his ankle, which came back negative.
Barkley’s injury comes ahead of a short week as the Giants are slated to visit the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.
He finished Sunday’s win with 63 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards, and two touchdowns.
DOLPHINS WR JAYLEN WADDLE IN CONCUSSION PROTOCOL
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is in concussion protocol following a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday night’s win at New England.
Waddle had four catches for a game-high 86 yards before getting hit by Patriots rookie safety Marte Mapu with about five minutes remaining in Miami’s 24-17 win. Mapu was flagged for unnecessary roughness and Waddle went directly to the blue tent for evaluation.
Waddle, 24, will have to clear the NFL’s protocol if he wants to be on the field Sunday when the Dolphins (2-0) host the Denver Broncos (0-2).
Waddle has eight catches for 164 yards through two games. He has 187 receptions for 2,535 yards and 14 scores in 35 games (all starts) since Miami drafted him with the No. 6 overall pick in 2021.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel also updated the injury status for running back Salvon Ahmed and linebacker Jaelan Phillips on Monday.
Ahmed exited with a groin injury in the second quarter after rushing for 13 yards and catching three passes for 28 yards.
“It’s not an overly long situation,” McDaniel said of the timetable for Ahmed’s return.
Phillips sat out Sunday’s game after sustaining a back injury in Friday’s practice. The 2021 first-round draft pick (18th overall) was held out for precautionary reasons, McDaniel said.
“From a medical perspective, we thought it wasn’t worth the risk,” the coach said. “Long-term vision, we felt he may be at risk for a bigger issue if he would have played.”
RAIDERS’ DAVANTE ADAMS ‘GOOD’ AFTER HIT, JAKOBI MEYERS IMPROVING
Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels deemed star wide receiver Davante Adams “good” after he was on the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit late in Sunday’s game.
After their 38-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Raiders said Adams was being evaluated for a concussion after being drilled by Bills safety Taylor Rapp.
The Raiders were already playing without their No. 2 wide receiver, Jakobi Meyers, who entered concussion protocol after a hit to the head from the Denver Broncos’ Kareem Jackson in Week 1. McDaniels said Meyers remains in the protocol but is improving.
“Tae’s (Adams) good, Jakobi’s headed in the right direction,” McDaniels told reporters Monday.
Adams’ injury occurred on Las Vegas’ final drive of the game against the Bills. Rapp was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play, and Adams was slow to get up before heading to the medical tent for evaluation.
Through his first two games of the season, Adams has 12 catches for 150 yards and a TD. He is in his second season with the Raiders after spending the first eight years of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers.
Meyers signed with the Raiders this year after spending his first four NFL campaigns with the New England Patriots. He had nine receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns in his team debut before exiting the Broncos game with his concussion.