(AP) — Justin Herbert is set to become the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback by annual salary, agreeing to a five-year, $262.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Chargers on Tuesday.

Herbert’s total value and $52.5 million average per season surpasses the $260 million, five-year extension ($52 million average) Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson signed three months ago. Herbert will get $218.7 million guaranteed, which is second to the fully guaranteed $230 million deal Deshaun Watson signed with Cleveland in 2022, a person close to the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the Chargers did not release the financial details.

The team and Herbert agreed to the extension on the first day of training camp. The Chargers’ first practice will be Wednesday.

Herbert is the second member of the 2020 draft class to sign a big extension, after Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts signed a five-year extension worth $255 million.

Herbert’s contract also sets the playing field for the Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow. Bengals owner Mike Brown on Monday said talks are ongoing.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes is in the third year of a 10-year contract worth $450 million, the largest overall deal for a quarterback.

The 25-year-old Herbert – the sixth overall pick in 2020 – is the first quarterback in NFL history to begin his career with three consecutive seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards and is one of two players to throw 25 touchdown passes in each of his first three years.

Since entering the league, Herbert is second in the league in completions (1,316), third in passing yards (14,089) and sixth in TD passes (102).

Despite Herbert’s numbers, he hasn’t pushed the Chargers into the echelon of Super Bowl contenders. Los Angeles is 25-25 including the playoffs with Herbert under center.

Last season, the Chargers went 10-7 and reached the postseason for the first time since 2018. They blew a 27-point first-half lead and lost to Jacksonville 31-30 in the first round of the playoffs.

Herbert was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract and had a base salary of $4.2 million for the upcoming season. The Chargers picked up his fifth-year option for 2024 worth $29.5 million.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Saquon Barkley and his contract are not going to be a distraction in training camp for the New York Giants.

The two-time Pro Bowl running back and the Giants surprisingly came to an agreement on a one-year, $11 million deal on Tuesday as players reported to camp and looked forward to getting back to the playoffs for the second straight year under coach Brian Daboll.

Those plans seemed in jeopardy for the past week as the Giants faced the prospect of their star back missing camp. Barkley was unhappy having a franchise tag put on him in March and his mood probably didn’t improve on July 17 when the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a long-term extension. It meant Barkley would have to play for the $10.1 million value of the franchise tag, if he chose to play.

There was speculation he might sit out all of camp and maybe even miss some of the season. That would have been a major disruption because Barkley is well liked by teammates and fans and his absence would have forced Daboll to constantly field questions about him. The coach doesn’t like to discuss missing players.

The concern ended Tuesday with the Giants confirming Barkley signed his franchise tender. The potential value of the contract was bumped up to $11 million with $909,000 worth of incentives, a person close to the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Giants did not release the incentive details.

“Obviously we are glad we were able to work things out with Saquon,” general manager Joe Schoen said in a statement. “We all recognize the player and person Saquon is and what he means to our team. He is a good teammate, a leader and a really good player. We are looking forward to getting on the field tomorrow.”

The Giants did not make Barkley available on Tuesday. Emails to his agents Ed Berry of Creative Artists Agency and Kim Maile of Roc Nation Sports seeking comment were not immediately answered.

The Giants and Barkley, who is entering his sixth season, cannot discuss a new contract again until the end of this season. New York maintains the right to franchise him again in 2024.

Barkley ran for a career-best 1,312 yards and scored 10 touchdowns last season in helping the Giants (9-7-1) make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. He also shared the team lead in receptions with 57.

The $11 million salary puts Barkley among the NFL’s highest-paid running backs. San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey ($16 million) New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara ($15 million), Tennessee’s Derrick Henry ($12.5 million) and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb ($12.2 million) are the top four earners among running backs in average annual salary.

Barkley’s injury history was a concern during negotiations. He was spectacular as a rookie out of Penn State, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four more TDs. An ankle injury caused him to miss three games in 2019. The devastating injury was a season-ending torn ACL in the second game of the 2020 season, and he wasn’t the same player coming off the injury in 2021, rushing for 593 yards. He returned to form in 2022.

Barkley was one of six players franchised after last season. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson got a five-year, $260 million contract. Washington defensive lineman Daron Payne got $90 million over four years and Jacksonville tight end and former Giants player Evan Engram received $41.25 million in a three-year deal.

Barkley and fellow running backs Josh Jacobs of Las Vegas and Tony Pollard of Dallas didn’t get deals in a market where the value of running back has fallen dramatically. Pollard signed his tender offer. Jacobs did not.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins has had a good relationship with Mike Vrabel since their Houston days, a man who was one of the first to congratulate the three-time All-Pro receiver on being traded to Arizona and also the first to call him out for not making a catch for the Cardinals.

”I appreciate that right away because that’s how he was in Houston with me,” Hopkins said Tuesday, a day after signing his two-year deal with the Titans.

Hopkins also is friends with three-time Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry. Now they’re all together with the Tennessee Titans, and Hopkins believes he can be one of the pieces they need to win in the AFC South again.


Well, Hopkins watched the Titans come three minutes away from winning a third straight division title with a quarterback sign days before the regular-season finale.

“That right there kind of woke my eyes up to see that they’re only a couple of pieces away from where they want to be,” Hopkins said.

The Titans certainly hope Hopkins helps fill their biggest offseason need as veterans reported to camp Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s first full practice.

Even at the age of 31, Hopkins easily should help the Titans take a big step toward improving a passing game that ranked 30th in the NFL last season, averaging a mere 171.4 yards per game. Only four NFL teams scored fewer points per game in 2022 than Tennessee’s 17.5 points a game.

The five-time Pro Bowler would have led Tennessee last season despite being limited to only nine games by a six-game suspension to start the season and missing the final two with a knee injury. He finished with 64 catches for 717 yards, and his three touchdown receptions would have tied for third on Tennessee.

Hopkins still ranked fourth among all NFL players in averaging 7.1 catches per game.

Vrabel said he made clear to Hopkins not to waste the Titans’ time if he wasn’t interested in joining Tennessee as a free agent.

The Titans were the first NFL team Hopkins visited after Arizona cut him for salary cap savings in late May. During Hopkins’ seven seasons in Houston (2013-19), Vrabel started coaching Texans’ linebackers in 2014 and was defensive coordinator in 2017 before the Titans hired him in 2018 as their head coach.

Hopkins also is reunited with offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, his coordinator in Houston in 2019 when the receiver had 104 catches for 1,165 yards and seven TDs. Passing game coordinator Charles London also was in Houston coaching running backs between 2014 and 2017.

Vrabel said Hopkins has always built a strong trust factor with his quarterbacks, which he expects will happen with Ryan Tannehill.

“He’s strong with the football,” Vrabel said. “Contested catches we know how many of those there are in this league, so those are things that we’ll have to continue to work on and continue to make a strength of his.”

No one in the NFL has more catches since 2013 than Hopkins with 853 in his 10 seasons. Hopkins also has at least one catch in each of his 145 regular-season games played.

Only Julio Jones (11,472) has more yards receiving since 2013 in the NFL than Hopkins, and Jones was Tennessee’s attempt at upgrading its receiving group in 2021 before being released in 2022. Since 2013, Hopkins’ 71 TD catches rank fourth behind Davante Adams, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown.

Hopkins said Henry played a big role in him choosing Tennessee. Hopkins played with Arian Foster in Houston and wanted to be a part of this offense with Henry.

“Derrick Henry is definitely by far one of the best running backs that I would be able to have a chance to play with,” Hopkins said.

NOTES: Vrabel said Hopkins will miss a couple of days early in camp for a commitment he told them about earlier. … The Titans start camp with CB Caleb Farley and Dillon Radunz, the top two draft picks of 2021, on the physically unable to perform list. They reported last weekend along with rookies. OLB Harold Landry III, who tore an ACL on Aug. 31, will be available starting Wednesday.


NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge said Tuesday that she’s not changing her decision to let NFL coach Brian Flores put the league and three of its teams on trial over his claims that he and other Black coaches face discrimination.

Judge Valerie Caproni’s written ruling in Manhattan federal court came after both sides in the case asked her to reconsider her March decision.

The judge ruled then that claims by two coaches who joined the Flores lawsuit after it was filed early last year must proceed to arbitration, where NFL Commission Roger Goodell will presumably serve as arbitrator.

She said Flores can proceed to trial with his claims against the league and three teams: the Denver Broncos, the New York Giants and the Houston Texans.

In February 2022, Flores sued the league and several teams, saying the league was “rife with racism,” particularly in its hiring and promotion of Black coaches.

When she ruled in March, Caproni wrote that descriptions by the coaches of their experiences of racial discrimination in a league with a “long history of systematic discrimination toward Black players, coaches, and managers — are incredibly troubling.”

“Although the clear majority of professional football players are Black, only a tiny percentage of coaches are Black,” she said.

She said it was “difficult to understand” how there was only one Black head coach at the time Flores filed his lawsuit in a league of 32 teams with Black players making up about 70% of the rosters.

In her ruling Tuesday, Caproni rejected an effort by the NFL to argue that a contract Flores signed last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers prevented him from taking any claim to trial because it contained language that would apply retroactively to claims against any NFL team.

She said the copy of the contract that the NFL submitted to her before she ruled in March contained a signature line for Goodell that was blank and the contract was not “valid and binding” unless signed by all parties.

The judge rejected a signed copy that was submitted after her ruling, saying “a motion for reconsideration is not a means to mend holes in the record with neglected evidence.”

Caproni also rejected arguments by lawyers for Flores who claimed that the arbitration agreements between the NFL and some of its coaches are “unconscionable” because Goodell would be a biased arbitrator.

She said the lawyers must wait until the arbitration occurs to decide whether their fears were warranted and whether Goodell “gave them a fair shake to prove their claims.”

She said the lawyers were asking her “to fashion a specific rule out of whole cloth to protect them from potential arbitrator bias that may never manifest itself.”

Lawyers on both sides, along with a spokesperson for the NFL, did not immediately comment.

Last year after filing his lawsuit, Flores said he believed he was risking the coaching career he loves by suing the NFL, but he said it was worth it for generations to come if he could succeed in challenging systemic racism in the league.

In March, the judge noted that Flores had recently been hired as the new defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has been cleared to take part in training camp after undergoing surgery on his throwing elbow in the offseason.

General manager John Lynch said Tuesday that Purdy has been given the green light from doctors to practice after making good progress in his rehabilitation.

“Brock’s cleared and ready to go,” general manager John Lynch said. “He’s been cleared. He’s going to be without restrictions. Having said that, we’re sticking to and adhering to a plan. He got after it the last couple days and we upped his pitch count. We believe in that plan.”

The Niners will ease Purdy back into the flow and won’t have him throw more than two days in a row so he won’t take part in the team’s first practice Wednesday after throwing the past two days.

But Purdy is expected to resume his role as starter with the first team at practice Thursday, with Trey Lance and Sam Darnold sharing first-team reps when Purdy can’t go.

The 49ers are expected to start camp without 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa on the field. Bosa is seeking a long-term contract and could be in line for the richest deal of any defensive player. Bosa is currently under contract on the fifth-year option for $17.9 million this season. He is subject to fines of $40,000 a day if he doesn’t show up to camp, according to the collective bargaining agreement.


SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young is set to begin his first NFL training camp amid lofty expectations.

The Panthers have not been to the playoffs since 2017 and Young, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, has been entrusted with the task of making Carolina relevant again.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama, who is well polished when it comes to his dealings with reporters, smiled and took it all in stride on his 22nd birthday as he addressed a large group of reporters at Wofford College not seen here since Cam Newton’s arrival as the top pick in 2011.

“The expectations for me and really everyone are to just push each other and make sure we get the best that we can out of each other every single day,” Young said on the eve of his first NFL training camp practice. “If we keep stacking those days then that’s all we can really control.”

Young will try to do what Newton didn’t — win a Super Bowl for the Panthers.

That’s been the clearly stated goal of team owner David Tepper ever since the Panthers traded away four draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to move up from the ninth spot to get Young, an undersized but highly successful quarterback who went 24-3 in two years as Alabama’s starter.

Tepper said in April he anticipates the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Young winning multiple Super Bowls for Carolina.

“There is no sure thing here, but it’s a probability sort of (thing) — and we thought he has the best probability of winning Super Bowls,” Tepper said.

Young enters training camp as the presumptive starter after wrestling away first-team reps from 12-year NFL veteran Andy Dalton at OTAs in June.

He’s already gained the respect of his teammates in his brief time with the franchise through a professional approach, relationship building and the amount of time he spends in the film room.

Tight end Hayden Hurst said in many ways Young is similar to his former teammate Joe Burrow with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“He’s not in your face, he’s not screaming,” Hurst said. “He is just in there watching film every day. You don’t want to let guys like that down because you know they’re going to come to practice every single day and be on top of their stuff. So you better be on top of yours as well.”

Panthers running back Miles Sanders has noticed it, too.

“He’s sharp, man,” Sanders said. “(Coach) Nick Saban is doing a great job down there at Alabama. I played with another Alabama quarterback in Philly (Jalen Hurts) and all I can say is them boys is sharp. I’m excited to see what he can do this year.”

The Panthers have been searching for quarterback stability for the past five seasons, a journey that includes signing free agent Teddy Bridgewater, trading for Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, bringing back Newton for an unsuccessful second stint and a failed pursuit of Deshaun Watson.

Cornerback Jaycee Horn, now in his third season in Carolina, said there’s been a noticeable uptick in enthusiasm within the organization since Young’s arrival.

“Oh yeah, the No. 1 pick, a new coach (in Frank Reich) and learning a whole bunch of different things,” Horn said. “Bryce was great in OTAs, so I’m excited to get out and work with him — and hopefully pick him off once or twice.”

The NFC South appears up for grabs.

Tampa Bay is moving on following Tom Brady’s retirement, while Atlanta and New Orleans appear in rebuild mode as well.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us to win a division and make some noise,” Horn said. “But no matter what we have on paper — the No. 1 pick, these defensive acquisitions — it don’t matter if you don’t put in the work. We’re going to try to go out and do that these next couple of weeks.”

NOTES: Panthers starting guard Austin Corbett has been placed on the PUP list after tearing his ACL in the final game of the 2022 season. Reich previously said Corbett is likely to miss some games. … Horn, the No. 8 overall pick in 2021, said he’s recovered from an offseason foot injury and plans to practice Wednesday.


GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Matt LaFleur enters his fifth season as the Green Bay Packers head coach feeling as though he’s just getting started.

The trade of a four-time MVP quarterback has a way of doing that.

“It feels like Year 1, quite frankly,” LaFleur said Tuesday, the day before the Packers begin their first training camp since the trade of Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. “It feels like we’re right back where we started when I first got hired here.”

The exit of Rodgers and several other veterans make this one of Green Bay’s most intriguing camps in recent memory.

New first-team quarterback Jordan Love has started only one game since the Packers selected him out of Utah State with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 draft. Many of his receivers are also young and inexperienced.

LaFleur said the biggest obstacle heading into camp is all the unknowns now that Rodgers has moved on.

“Every year has its own unique set of challenges,” said LaFleur, who led the Packers to three straight 13-win seasons before they slipped to 8-9 last season. “But I think it’s going to be how quickly we can acclimate these young players and get them ready to roll and how we come together as a team. So there’s a lot of excitement today.”

There’s a lot of youth, as well.

Green Bay’s top two returning wideouts are Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, who were rookies last season. The Packers gave Love a few more options by drafting Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave and Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed in the second round as well as South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft in the third.

The Packers passed up on adding a veteran receiver after the departure of Allen Lazard, whose 60 catches for 788 yards led Green Bay in both categories last season. Lazard and Rodgers are now teammates with the Jets.

“If the right player and the right price and all that kind of stuff comes around, we’ll certainly contemplate it and see if that makes some sense,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “But the players we have right now in that group need to play. They need the reps.”

That could lead to an adjustment in how the Packers handle their preseason games.

The past two years, the Packers didn’t play most of their starters in any exhibition games. They already essentially knew what they had and figured the reps the first-team players got in joint practices during training camp would suffice.

Now that this team is less experienced in key areas, LaFleur said he hasn’t decided on how he might use his starters in the preaseason games.

“I think it’s going to be fluid in regard to that approach,” LaFleur said. “We’ll kind of take it one day at a time and really want to feel where we’re at. And if it’s something that we feel that they need to play a little more in the preseason, then we’ll do that.”

Gutekunst said he has mixed emotions about using Love in preseason games, and he said that applied to all the young players on Green Bay’s roster.

“It’s a little bit of that double-edged thing,” Gutekunst said. “You’d like to see him play a lot if you could promise me we could protect him and keep him healthy, you know. I think that will probably be something Matt, as he goes through it, it’s a feel thing for what he feels he needs. I go back and forth.”

Love and his receivers already will get chances to test themselves before the season when the Packers have joint practices against two different teams. They’ve scheduled a joint practice with the Bengals in Cincinnati on Aug. 9 and two practice sessions with the New England Patriots from Aug. 16-17 in Green Bay.

That should give LaFleur’s staff a little better idea about what they can expect from their young offense heading into the Sept. 10 season opener at Chicago.

“I think we’ve got a lot of talented players,” LaFleur said. “And it’s everybody’s responsibility to get them to become the best version of themselves sooner than later.”


METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Jimmy Graham, one of the most productive and popular tight ends in New Orleans Saints history, is back with the club that developed the former college basketball power forward more than a decade ago — albeit under considerably different circumstances.

Veteran NFL guard Trai Turner is returning to the state where he starred for LSU, making New Orleans his fifth different NFL home in the past five years.

The Saints announced the one-year contracts for each player on Tuesday as veterans reported for the club’s training camp at team headquarters.

“We wanted to make sure that Jimmy still had the desire to play, which he does. He looked great, he’s in great shape. He wants to be here,” Saints coach Dennis Allen said, alluding to the fact that the 36-year-old Graham did not play last season.

Mentioning fellow Saints tight ends Juwan Johnson and Foster Moreau, Allen added that New Orleans has “some young players that we feel good about and are looking to develop, and we felt like Jimmy was a perfect fit for that room.”

While Graham’s production tapered off in his most recent NFL season in 2021 with Chicago, he was an unusual success story early in his career, having played only one season of college football at Miami — where he was a four-year basketball player — before the Saints made him a third-round draft choice in 2010.

In just his second NFL season, with Drew Brees as his quarterback, the 6-foot-7 Graham caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns and was selected to his first of five Pro Bowls. He had another banner season in 2013, with 1,215 yards and a career-high 16 TDs receiving.

His run in New Orleans ended when he was traded in 2015 to Seattle, where he twice more caught 10 TD passes in a season but never reached the 1,000-yard receiving plateau in his three seasons with the Seahawks.

“Maybe I’ll get the respect of my daughter back because she killed me when we traded him years ago,” Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said.

Graham also spent two seasons each at Green Bay and Chicago. In his final season with the Bears in 2021, Graham caught 14 passes for 167 yards and three TDs.

Now Graham’s quarterback will be former Raider Derek Carr, who is in his first season in New Orleans. Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. held the same title when Graham last played for the Saints, but former coach Sean Payton — now with Denver — designed and usually called the offense back then.

Bringing Graham back “came down to a need on our part and a desire on his part to play,” Loomis said. “We’ve got a role that fits him and fits us. … He also brings a presence and resume and, I guess, an attitude.”

The 6-3, 315-pound Turner, a former LSU standout and a starter throughout his career, was a Carolina Panthers’ third-round draft choice in 2014. He spent his first six NFL seasons with Carolina before hopping from the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020 to Pittsburgh in 2021 and to Washington last season.

“We played against him a lot. He’s a big physical offensive guard,” Allen said. “We’ve had some good battles against him in the past and feel like he’s a good fit.”

While Turner could potentially push either of the Saints’ incumbent starting guards for snaps, Allen stopped short of putting either Andrus Peat or 2020 first-round draft choice Cesar Ruiz — on notice. Both are in their final seasons under contract.

“This is not a help-related signing,” Allen said. “We felt like (Turner is) a veteran player we could bring in, put into the mix and let’s see how the competition plays out.”

NOTES: Allen said he has not heard anything from the NFL “at all” about potential discipline for star running back Alvin Kamara, who recently reached a plea agreement in a criminal case in Las Vegas stemming from a fight in a hotel. Although Kamara pleaded to a misdemeanor, he also agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution and reached an additional, undisclosed financial settlement with the victim, who was seriously injured. There also was hotel security video evidence in the case. Similar incidents have resulted in multi-game suspensions for other players. Loomis said he didn’t “have an expectation” of when the NFL might notify the club of any discipline. … Allen and Loomis said they both expect two-time All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas — who has played in just three games the past two seasons and just 10 regular-season games since 2020 — to be fit to practice fully in Wednesday’s opening camp practice. “I feel really good about where Mike’s at physically,” Loomis said.


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Michael Carter was a bright spot in the New York Jets’ offense as a rookie, a versatile running back who could turn a small play into a big gain from anywhere on the field.

Then came a shaky second season that included frustration for Carter and doubts from outside the organization.

“To be honest, it was a long … year,” Carter said Tuesday. “But it was a lot of stuff out of my control, if I’m being honest, too.”

Carter averaged 4.3 yards per carry as a rookie, rushing for 639 yards and four touchdowns while catching 36 passes for 325 yards. Last season, the 2021 fourth-round pick out of North Carolina ran for just 3.5 yards per attempt while finishing with 402 yards and three scores. He caught 41 passes for 288 yards but seemed to lack the explosiveness that made him appear to be such a promising weapon.

“I was a little too emotional last year because I really love football,” Carter said. “All you want to do is be great. It’s the only job I’ve ever had. I’ve never worked at Publix or none of that. I’ve just played football my whole life, so I put my all into it. When something doesn’t go your way, it hurts extra.”

Especially when your performance is publicly dissected on a regular basis.

Some fans and media think the Aaron Rodgers-led offense should sign free agent Dalvin Cook to help the backfield as Breece Hall continues his comeback from a serious knee injury. Carter is part of a running backs room that also includes Zonovan Knight, who saw a lot of work late last season, and speedy rookie fifth-rounder Israel Abanikanda.

Carter — who told reporters, “I see everything y’all say” — thinks some are counting him out as being a major contributor again.

“Yeah,” Carter said. “I do feel like that.”

And does that make him a bit angry?

“Hmm, yeah,” Carter said with a grin. “But also, they’re fans, so it’s like, they really enjoy watching their team succeed and if I’m not helping that, from a fan standpoint, I understand. But also, I’m only human and players (screw) up, too.”

Hall broke out as a major playmaker last season until a torn ACL in his left knee ended a promising campaign after just seven games. Instead of Carter getting more carries, the Jets traded for veteran James Robinson — a move that puzzled Carter.

“So I’m thinking, y’all don’t think I’m that good here?” Carter said. “So, it’s a mental game.”

Carter said his preparation last year was no less intense than it was his first season, adding he thinks he actually did more each week. But one big factor was the Jets’ offense struggling as a whole to find consistency. That led to defenses loading up on the run game.

“I did get some tough looks last year,” he said. “At one point, I was probably like leading the league in stacked boxes,” he said. “Not that I demand that respect but just situations. And then on top of that, there are some moments where I could have come up big and I just, you know, probably didn’t.”

The Jets moved on from offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in the offseason and hired Nathaniel Hackett, reuniting Rodgers with the play caller who helped lead him to his last two NFL MVP awards in Green Bay.

Carter said having a quarterback of Rodgers’ experience and ability surely will help alleviate those stacked boxes — giving the offensive skill players chances to make plays. And Carter came to camp a bit slimmer this summer and has been impressive.

“He’s been great this entire offseason,” coach Robert Saleh said. “I think he’s going to bounce back really well.”

With Hall on the physically unable to perform list, Carter is getting the bulk of the carries with the starting offense in training camp. It has him feeling confident again — and he insists last season was a personal anomaly.

“I’m 24 years old and I’ve been playing football since I was 4,” Carter said. “So statistically, my year wasn’t great. But if you really look at it, I’m like 19 for 20. I’m in good shape. …

“I know what I’m capable of and you’ll see.”

NOTES: WR Allen Lazard didn’t practice with what Saleh said was muscle tightness in his left leg, which was covered in a sleeve. … First-round pick Will McDonald returned after missing a few days with a bruised leg and had a few would-be sacks in padded team drill sessions.


The Dallas Cowboys have settled one of their looming situations with contracts just as another gets interesting.

Dallas and cornerback Trevon Diggs agreed Tuesday, the reporting day for training camp, on a $97 million, five-year contract extension, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.

The Diggs news came just as right guard Zack Martin officially became a camp holdout, with another person telling the AP the six-time All-Pro didn’t report to camp as he seeks a reworked contract.

Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the matters weren’t being discussed publicly.

Diggs led the NFL and tied the franchise record with 11 interceptions in 2021. As a second-round pick, he is entering the final year of his four-year rookie deal this season. The $19.4 million per-year average on the extension is among the top six in the league.

Martin is one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, but only eighth among the highest-paid guards with an annual average of $14 million on the extension he signed five years ago. The 32-year-old has two years remaining on his deal.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The 2024 Pro Bowl Games are coming back to Orlando.

The NFL announced Tuesday the reimagined Pro Bowl, which was held in central Florida four straight seasons between 2017-2020, will be played at Camping World Stadium on Feb. 4.

The weeklong event features AFC vs. NFC stars competing in various skills challenges and culminates with a flag-football game. Peyton Manning and his brother, Eli, again will coach the two teams.

Last year’s inaugural Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas drew 6.4 million viewers and more than 58,000 in-person fans at Allegiant Stadium, up 16% from the previous year.

“Building off the success from last year’s reinvented format that elevated flag football and introduced fun forms of competition and entertainment, we are thrilled to bring The 2024 Pro Bowl Games to Orlando,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL executive vice president, club business and league events. “Hosting multiple Pro Bowls in years past, Orlando is a world-class destination and a favorite getaway for our players and their families, and we look forward to working with the city of Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports to create the ultimate all-star celebration for players, their families and our fans.”


Defensive end William Gholston re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday.

The Bucs did not disclosed terms of the deal for Gholston, however the Tampa Bay Times said it was a one-year deal.

He is the second longest-serving tenured Buccaneer behind linebacker Lavonte David, who’s played for Tampa for 12 seasons.

Gholston, who turns 32 on Monday, has been with the Bucs since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He’s ranked ninth in franchise history for games played with 153 and hasn’t missed a game since the 2017 season.

Gholston has recorded 401 career tackles (58 for loss), including 49 last season. He’s compiled 77 quarterback hits, 19.5 sacks, 12 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Gholston also is a strong presence off the field in the Tampa Bay community, having been the Bucs’ 2022 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his work with food pantry programs, cancer research and youth mentorships.

The Bucs earlier waived linebacker Jeremy Banks to make room for Gholston on the roster.


Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney is out several weeks following arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.

Kansas City could be without Toney into the regular season, but head coach Andy Reid said the surgery performed Tuesday gives the electric playmaker a chance to return to the field for the opening game against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 7.

Reid said the procedure was performed Tuesday.

“We’ll just see. He’s determined that he’s going to be there,” Reid said of a Week 1 return. “I’m pulling for him.”

Toney was injured in training camp Sunday while working on punt returns. Reid said Toney felt the injury when he was attempting to change direction suddenly.

Toney also underwent an offseason “cleanup procedure” on his knee.

Tight end Travis Kelce said Monday that the Chiefs are going to need “KT” in order to be whole on offense.

“We’re going to miss KT, his ability to make a play out of nowhere and kind of gain that momentum. He was that piece for us in the Super Bowl, he was that piece for us throughout the season last year,” Kelce said.

Toney, 24, had 16 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns in nine games split between the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs last season. The Chiefs acquired Toney from the Giants on Oct. 27 in exchange for a compensatory third-round pick and a sixth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Toney’s biggest moments with Kansas City came in the 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. Toney set a Super Bowl record with a 65-yard punt return that set up a fourth-quarter touchdown. He also caught a 5-yard scoring pass earlier in the final period.

Toney has totaled 55 receptions for 591 yards and two touchdowns in 19 games (eight starts) since being selected by the Giants in the first round (20th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.

He played in 10 games as a rookie and two in 2022 for the Giants, and then seven with Kansas City as injuries have been an issue for him.


The Falcons play in a stadium named for a car company. It’s fitting, because for the last five years, they’ve been stuck in neutral.

Atlanta hasn’t made the playoffs since 2017 and in the ensuing campaigns has won exactly seven games four times. The Falcons are still trying to find their way, with third-year coach Arthur Smith looking to take the next step in a winnable NFC South.

The big question mark is quarterback Desmond Ridder. While the offensive line is respectable and the weapons are intriguing, Ridder is the great unknown. A third-round pick last year out of Cincinnati, the second-year signal-caller started only four games as a rookie, throwing for 708 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions.

If Ridder can play, Atlanta can soar. If he can’t, the onus will fall on a remade defense. General manager Terry Fontenot threw significant resources at the unit this winter, led by a $64 million deal for free-agent safety Jessie Bates III. The Falcons also signed veterans David Onyemata and Calais Campbell for the front four, while signing edge rusher Bud Dupree for $3 million this season.

Few teams have a wider range of outcomes in 2023 than Atlanta.

Biggest gamble this offseason: Not adding another proven wideout

If you’re going to bet big on a second-year quarterback, it’s wise to give him all possible help.

Instead, Fontenot stood pat outside of a small signing of Mack Hollins, who gives the Falcons a veteran depth piece on the perimeter. As things stand, only Drake London is a proven threat, and he’s played all of 17 games at the NFL level. Last year as a rookie, the USC product caught 72 passes for 866 yards and four touchdowns, including a 120-yard effort against the Buccaneers in Week 18.

While London and tight end Kyle Pitts are excellent targets, there’s little punch beyond them. Atlanta would have been well advised to find another capable talent, someone in the realm of Jakobi Meyers or JuJu Smith-Schuster. Instead, the Falcons are relying on Hollins, along with Scotty Miller and do-it-all first-year back Bijan Robinson.

It could all work out, but it could easily backfire as well.

Toughest stretch of the season: Weeks 12 to 15

The Falcons have one of the league’s most favorable schedules. For starters, they play only four games against teams who made the playoffs last year, and two of those are against the rebuilding Buccaneers.

Additionally, Atlanta doesn’t have the same big road stretch that most NFC teams do this year. The Falcons don’t have a single three-game trip or four road tilts in five weeks.

If there’s a tough stretch, it’s after the bye week. Atlanta will emerge to face the Saints in Week 12 at home before traveling to take on Aaron Rodgers and the Jets. Then it’s a home date with Tampa Bay before a trip to Carolina. Again, an easy slate awaits Atlanta.

Breakout player to watch: Drake London

As mentioned above, London had a terrific rookie campaign, during which he pushed for almost 900 receiving yards. Now, with a full offseason and 819 NFL snaps to his name, the 2022 first-round pick could be primed to explode.

London has excellent size at 6’4″ and 213 pounds, and, while he never ran an official 40, it’s believed the time would have been around 4.5 seconds. The tools are there to become a Pro Bowl talent, and, if he can connect with Ridder and produce chemistry, there’s no limit to his game.

Atlanta will certainly give him the targets to make an impact. London simply needs to prove he’s the game-breaking star many believe he’ll become.

Position of strength: Front four

If there’s one thing we know about this Falcons team, it’s that they’ll rush the passer.

Atlanta spent real money upgrading its defense this offseason, and the additions of Campbell, Dupree and Onyemata are significant. Last year, Campbell posted 5.5 sacks in his age-36 season, while Onyemata had five in 17 games with the archrival Saints. Dupree was a disappointment in Tennessee over two years with only seven combined sacks, but when healthy, he’s capable of producing.

Of course, that trio will revolve around defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Jarrett is a two-time Pro Bowler who has 32.5 career sacks and, alongside Onyemata, should cave in a few pockets come fall.

Position of weakness: Quarterback

Ridder isn’t so much a weakness as he is an unknown. The Falcons are essentially betting their entire season on a player with four starts who they didn’t take until the No. 74 pick of last year’s draft.

While Fontenot did bring in veteran Taylor Heinicke as insurance, he’s more of a break-glass option than anything else. If the Falcons are truly going to do something meaningful in 2023, it’ll be due to a surprise performance under center. Otherwise, Atlanta remains stuck in football purgatory, hoping to find its next Matt Ryan.

X-factor: Can Kyle Pitts find another gear?

Pitts is arguably the most-hyped tight end coming out of college in recent memory. After dominating to the tune of 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns at Florida, Pitts made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, he was limited to 10 games last year, totaling 28 catches for 356 yards and two scores.

The Falcons didn’t draft Pitts to be a good player—they drafted him to be special. So far, he’s shown glimpses but is yet to put the entire package together. For Atlanta to reach the playoffs, Pitts needs to be a driving force.

Sleeper/fantasy pick: QB Desmond Ridder

Ridder is more of a “deep sleeper,” as he’s not being selected in the majority of traditional, one-quarterback leagues. The second-year field general will have Bijan Robinson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts at his disposal. Ridder will also face one of the five best schedules among quarterbacks in 2023. —Michael Fabiano, SI Fantasy

Best bet: Let’s take the over for 1100.5 rushing yards for Robinson

Tyler Allgeier logged 1,035 in this run-first Smith offense in 2022, and Robinson should have more opportunity than Allgeier in his first season after the Falcons took him as the eighth pick in the NFL draft. —Jennifer Piacenti, SI Betting

Final record: 7–10, third in NFC South