AP SOURCE: JIMMY GAROPPOLO AGREES TO DEAL WITH RAIDERS
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has agreed to a three-year, $67.5 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be announced until Wednesday.
Garappolo’s contract includes $34 million in the guaranteed money, the person said.
Garappolo played for the San Francisco 49ers the past six seasons. He took the Niners to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season.
Before that, he played for the New England Patriots for three years under then-offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, now the Raiders coach.
FALCONS SIGN GUARD CHRIS LINDSTROM TO 5-YEAR EXTENSION
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) The Atlanta Falcons announced Monday that Pro Bowler Chris Lindstrom has signed a five-year contract extension, reportedly making him the NFL’s highest-paid guard.
ESPN reported the deal, which will keep Lindstrom with the Falcons through the 2028 season, is worth $105 million. It locks up another key member of the offensive line, with left tackle Jake Matthews under contract through 2026.
Lindstrom’s average of $21 million per season surpasses Indianapolis guard Quenton Nelson’s $20.2 million annual average, according to ESPN.
The 26-year-old Lindstrom was Atlanta’s top pick in 2019 out of Boston College. He has started 55 games over his four-year career, only missing time when he went down with a broken foot as a rookie.
Lindstrom was selected to his first Pro Bowl this past season after starting all 17 games at right guard and anchoring a line that opened up holes for the third-best rushing attack in the NFL. The Falcons averaged 159.9 yards per game on the ground.
Pro Football Focus said Lindstrom led all offensive players with a 95.0 grade. He was PFF’s top-graded offensive lineman during four weeks this past season.
Lindstrom has been called for only one holding penalty in his career.
The contract extension for Lindstrom is expected to be part of a big spending spree by the Falcons, who went into free agency with roughly $50 million of cap space.
Atlanta is looking to make a big move in 2023 after five straight losing seasons.
EAGLES’ JASON KELCE SET TO RETURN FOR 13TH SEASON
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce tweeted on Monday that he would return for a 13th NFL season.
Kelce has long been the heart of the Eagles and one of the top centers in the league. He played against his brother, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, in the Super Bowl. The Chiefs beat the Eagles 38-35 for the NFL title.
Kelce has been as durable as they come with the Super Bowl putting him at 149 consecutive games played. The 35-year-old Kelce was a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft and is a five-time All-Pro.
“I have put much thought into whether it makes sense to play another season,” Kelce wrote. “After talking it over with my wife and many other friends and family, I have decided to return for another year. Thank you to all my supporters and detractors for fueling me, I ain’t done yet!”
The Eagles responded with a tweet of Kelce wearing a Batman mask from a game last season. Kelce was a free agent and can’t officially sign with the Eagles until Wednesday. The Eagles also tweeted a clip that said Kelce was back.
Kelce is a big fan favorite and has done it all outside the football field such as singing the national anthem at a 76ers game, partying with the Phanatic and pounding a beer to a roaring ovation at a Phillies playoff game.
But the moment that endeared him for life to the Philly faithful came at the 2018 Super Bowl parade when he dressed as one of Philadelphia’s famed Mummers and the ultimate underdog delivered a fiery, profane speech that whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
“No one likes us! No one likes us! No one likes us! We don’t care,” Kelce exclaimed. “We’re from Philly! No one likes us! We don’t care!”
Kelce made a cameo appearance this month on “ Saturday Night Live ” when Travis hosted.
AP SOURCE: PATRIOTS PLAN TO RE-SIGN CB JONATHAN JONES
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The Patriots have taken a step toward maintaining some stability in their secondary, agreeing to terms on a new contract to retain free agent cornerback Jonathan Jones.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday the 29-year-old intends to sign a two-year deal. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because new contracts can’t officially be signed until Wednesday.
Jones thrived last season after switching from primarily defending slot receivers to playing on the outside. He started 16 games, tying for the team lead with four interceptions. He led all Patriots with 11 pass breakups.
With veteran safety Devin McCourty announcing his retirement last week, Jones who has spent his entire seven seasons in New England since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2016, becomes the longest-tenured player in the Patriots secondary.
AP SOURCE: BROWNS RESTRUCTURE WATSON DEAL FOR FREE AGENCY
CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Browns shifted some of the money they owe Deshaun Watson so they could spend more on players to help him.
The Browns restructured the quarterback’s record-setting $230 million contract to create salary-cap space ahead of NFL free agency, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday.
The Browns always have had the ability to convert Watson’s base salary ($46 million in 2023) to a signing bonus and created $36 million of room, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team is not publicly disclosing any information.
Teams may begin agreeing to contracts with free agents at noon. Following a 7-10 season, the Browns are expected to sign some defensive linemen and perhaps another wide receiver for Watson.
The restructuring was expected because it was the easiest way for the Browns to clear space after being roughly $14 million over the salary cap. General manager Andrew Berry recently said that the restructuring of Watson’s deal was “on the table.”
Berry had previously reworked kick returner Jakeem Grant Sr.’s contract and the Browns are releasing safety John Johnson III, who was entering the final season of a three-year, $33.75 million deal.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Watson initially rejected a trade from Houston to Cleveland a year ago but changed his mind after the Browns offered him a five-year, $230 million contract that was fully guaranteed.
The team was criticized for the deal given that Watson had been accused of sexual misconduct and harassment by 23 women in Texas. He has since settled 23 civil lawsuits brought by the massage therapists, who said the QB acted inappropriately during sessions.
Watson was suspended 11 games last season by the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy. He played in six games for Cleveland, posting a 3-3 record while looking rusty following a nearly two-year layoff.
BILLS REACH DEALS TO RE-SIGN P MARTIN, LB MATAKEVICH
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills reached agreements on Monday to re-sign punter Sam Martin and linebacker Tyler Matakevich before they were eligible to become unrestricted free agents this week.
Martin agreed to a three-year contract following his first season in Buffalo, in which his 47.7 average yards per punt ranked third on the team’s single-season list. The 10-year veteran was signed by the Bills in September after the team abruptly released rookie Matt Araiza, who was accused in a civil lawsuit of being involved in the gang rape of a 17-year-old girl while at San Diego State.
The 33-year-old Martin spent his first seven NFL seasons in Detroit and two in Denver.
Matakevich is set to return for a fourth season in Buffalo after agreeing to a one-year contract. The seventh-year player, who spent his first four seasons in Pittsburgh, has spent a majority of his career being used in special team roles.
The agreements were reached in advance of the NFL’s signing period, which opens Wednesday.
AP SOURCE: 49ERS AGREE TO DEAL WITH JAVON HARGRAVE
(AP) — The San Francisco 49ers made a big addition to their stellar defense, agreeing to a four-year, $84 million contract with star defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
A person familiar with the deal said the sides reached agreement on Monday on the first day teams were allowed to negotiate with free agents from other teams. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract can’t be finalized until the start of the league year on Wednesday.
The deal with Hargrave included $40 million in guarantees and gives the Niners a top interior pass rusher to team with AP Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa on the edge.
The Niners also filled another hole quickly, agreeing on a one-year deal with former first-round quarterback Sam Darnold, according to another person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been finalized.
The addition of Darnold gives San Francisco depth with Trey Lance working his way back from a broken ankle and Brock Purdy sidelined until at least August as he recovers from elbow surgery.
Darnold, the third pick in the 2018 draft by the Jets, has been a disappointment his first five seasons with New York and Carolina but now has a chance to revive his career in a QB friendly system under coach Kyle Shanahan.
The 30-year-old Hargrave is coming off his most productive season in seven years as a pro with a career-high 11 sacks that helped Philadelphia beat San Francisco in the NFC title game and reach the Super Bowl.
Hargrave ranked fourth among all interior pass rushers with 57 quarterback pressures last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and provides a big upgrade on one of the few weak spots on San Francisco’s defense that was ranked first in the NFL.
Arik Armstead led the Niners interior rushers with 20 pressures last regular season but had no sacks in nine games.
The 49ers had been hoping for 2020 first-round pick Javon Kinlaw to anchor their interior after trading away star DeForest Buckner following the 2019 season.
But Kinlaw has been slowed by knee injuries that have limited him to 24 games in three seasons and has been ineffective when he played. Kinlaw has 1 1/2 career sacks and was repeatedly pushed around by the Eagles line in the NFC title game loss.
Hargrave has been far more effective over his career since being drafted in the third round by Pittsburgh in 2016. He had 14 1/2 sacks in four seasons with the Steelers and stepped up his game after signing as a free agent with Philadelphia in 2020.
Hargarve has 11 pressures and 18 1/2 sacks the past two regular seasons for the Eagles.
The Niners also kept one of their own defensive lineman, agreeing to a one-year deal with Kevin Givens, who was eligible to be a restricted free agent.
Givens originally signed with the Niners as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He played 40 games with 12 starts with San Francisco, recording 57 tackles and three sacks. He had 20 tackles and two sacks in 13 games last season.
AP SOURCES: BEARS GET LIFT AT LB, ADD EDMUNDS, EDWARDS
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bears made two big additions at linebacker, agreeing to contracts with Buffalo Bills two-time Pro Bowler Tremaine Edmunds and former Philadelphia Eagle T.J. Edwards, two people familiar with the situations said Monday.
Edmunds’ deal is worth $72 million over four years with $50 million guaranteed. Edwards is due $19.5 million over three years, with $12 million guaranteed.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreements can’t be announced until the new league year opens on Wednesday.
Edmunds gives the Bears the playmaking outside linebacker they’ve been seeking since they dealt Roquan Smith to Baltimore prior to last season’s trade deadline. Chicago made that move after an impasse in contract negotiations.
Edmunds had 565 tackles in five seasons for Buffalo after being drafted out of Virginia Tech in 2018 with the No. 16 overall pick – eight spots after Smith was selected by the Bears.
Edmunds made Pro Bowls in 2019 and 2020. He had a career-low 102 tackles last season.
Edwards, who grew up about an hour north of Soldier Field in Lake Villa, Ill., played in 61 games and made 47 starts for Philadelphia after going undrafted out of Wisconsin in 2019.
Edwards had a breakout year for a dominant defense in 2022 that helped lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. He led the team with a personal-best 159 tackles from his middle linebacker position and set career highs with 10 tackles for loss and seven passes defended. In the Super Bowl loss to Kansas City, he had six tackles and a pass defended.
The Bears set a franchise record for losses while finishing with a league-worst 3-14 record. They had one of the worst defenses in the NFL and, on offense, they had big issues in the passing game. But they’ve made some big moves since the end of the season.
The Bears agreed Friday to trade the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to Carolina, two people familiar with the deal said. Chicago addressed a big need for a playmaker to help quarterback Justin Fields by acquiring star receiver D.J. Moore from the Panthers along with the No. 9 and No. 61 overall picks in 2023, a first-rounder in 2024 and a second-rounder in 2025.
Chicago also hired Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren as team president and purchased a 326-acre plot of land in suburban Arlington Heights that the organization has been sizing up for a new enclosed stadium.
AP SOURCES: BRONCOS TO SIGN MCGLINCHEY, POWERS, STIDHAM
The Denver Broncos strengthened their offensive line on Monday, agreeing to deals with right tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Ben Powers, a person familiar with the moves told The Associated Press.
The Broncos have also agreed on a deal with quarterback Jarrett Stidham to be Russell Wilson’s backup, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals can’t be announced until Wednesday.
McGlinchey is getting an $87.5 million, five-year contract with $50 million guaranteed, one person familiar with the terms told the AP. McGlinchey was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. He started 69 games in five seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, helping pave the way for one of the league’s top rushing units over the past several years.
Powers receives a $52 million, four-year contract with $28.5 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with those terms. Powers started 36 games in four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.
Stidham’s deal is worth $10 million over two years, per a person familiar with the terms. Stidham started two games for the Las Vegas Raiders last season.
AP SOURCE: CHIEFS AGREE WITH OT TAYLOR ON 4-YEAR, $80M DEAL
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Jawaan Taylor has agreed to an $80 million, four-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs to replace Orlando Brown Jr. as the blindside protector for Patrick Mahomes, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract cannot become official until Wednesday, when the NFL’s new year officially starts and free agents can begin signing contracts.
The 25-year-old Taylor started all 66 games he’s played in since entering the league as a second-round pick of the Jaguars in the 2019 draft. While he primarily held down the right side of the line in Jacksonville, the expectation is that – much as Brown did when he arrived from Baltimore – Taylor will switch to the left side in Kansas City.
The Chiefs used the franchise tag on Brown a year ago, when they could not agree to a long-term deal with his new representative. He wound up playing the season for $16.7 million under terms of the tag, helping the Chiefs beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl, and the sides again worked on a long-term deal.
Chiefs general manager Brett Veach expressed some optimism in a contract at the NFL scouting combine.
Yet it quickly became evident that the sides were still far from a middle ground, and the price tag to put Brown on the franchise tag for a second year would have cost about $20 million. So the Chiefs, who are expected to lose right tackle Andrew Wylie in free agency, opted to move quickly on Taylor to fill the left tackle spot.
He gave up a league-leading 40 sacks from 2019 to 2021, but he experienced a breakout year protecting Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville last season. He allowed only six sacks and had one of the league’s lowest pressure rates among tackles.
The Chiefs still would still have a hole at right tackle, but Lucas Niang could fill that role after dealing with a litany of injuries, and Veach has been successful in finding quailty offensive linemen in the NFL draft.
That includes center Creed Humphy and right guard Trey Smith, both of them draft picks two years ago, who along with left guard Joe Thuney have formed one of the most durable and successful interior lines in the league.
The Chiefs could be busy in free agency as they retool for a Super Bowl defense.
They’re poised to lose wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson, though there is mutual interest in bringing Smith-Schuster back after a successful season in Kansas City. The Chiefs also must find a replacement for veteran defensive end Frank Clark, whom they released to create some salary cap relief, and safety Juan Thornhill, who may have played himself into a longer-term deal than the Chiefs are willing to offer.
AP SOURCE: FORMER JETS QB MIKE WHITE SIGNING WITH DOLPHINS
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins have agreed to sign former New York Jets quarterback Mike White to a two-year contract, a person familiar with the deal said Monday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
Miami on Friday picked up the fifth-year option on starting QB Tua Tagovailoa’s rookie contract, and the Dolphins are bringing in White as a backup. Teddy Bridgewater played behind Tagovailoa last season and started two games as Tagovailoa missed time with concussions.
White started four games for the Jets last season after New York demoted struggling starter Zach Wilson. White was 1-3 as a starter with 1,192 passing yards, three TDs and four interceptions in 2022. He missed two games late last season with fractured ribs after taking several hard hits in a Week 14 loss to Buffalo.
The Jets are pursuing a possible trade for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
White, who turns 28 on March 25, is a South Florida native and played part of his college career at South Florida.
The Dolphins also added linebacker help, agreeing to a two-year deal with David Long, according to the same person with knowledge of the deal, speaking again on condition of anonymity because it had not been finalized.
Long was drafted in 2019 in the sixth round by the Tennessee Titans out of West Virginia, where he was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.
Before going on injured reserve with a hamstring injury last season, Long had 86 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions.
The 26-year-old Long has good coverage skills and fits well with the scheme of new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who was hired in January.
AP SOURCE: BENGALS AGREE TO RE-SIGN GERMAINE PRATT
The Bengals have agreed on a $21 million, three-year deal to keep linebacker Germaine Pratt in Cincinnati, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Monday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be announced until Wednesday.
Pratt, one of the league’s top coverage linebackers, has started 54 games in four seasons.
The Bengals lost starting safeties Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell on the first day of free agency. Bates is heading to Atlanta and Bell is going to Carolina.
The team re-signed safety Michael Thomas to a one-year contract extension. Thomas joined the Bengals midway through the 2021 season. He mainly played special teams last season.
Cincinnati’s biggest move this offseason will come when the team extends quarterback Joe Burrow’s contract.
AGENT: LIONS AGREE TO $33M, 3-YEAR DEAL WITH CB CAM SUTTON
The Detroit Lions have addressed pressing needs in free agency by adding standout cornerback Cameron Sutton and retaining a veteran linebacker to bolster their lackluster defense.
The Lions and Sutton agreed to a three-year contract worth $33 million with $22.5 million guaranteed, his agent, David Canter, told The Associated Press on Monday.
Detroit also agreed to a $18.75 million, three-year deal with linebacker Alex Anzalone, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced.
Sutton started 31 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the past two years, making five interceptions and 95 tackles. He broke up 15 passes last season, tying for sixth most among NFL leaders in the category.
Pittsburgh drafted the former Tennessee star in the third round six years ago and he has eight career interceptions and 168 tackles.
Anzalone started in every game for the Lions over the past two seasons. He had a team-high 125 tackles last year, a season after he made 78 tackles to rank fourth. New Orleans drafted the former Florida standout in the third round in 2017 and he has 326 tackles.
The Lions announced they re-signed defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs and running back Craig Reynolds earlier Monday, two days before the official start of NFL free agency.
Buggs is coming off the best year of his four-season career. He started in 13 games and was a backup four games, making 46 tackles with one sack and one forced fumble. The former Alabama standout started seven games and played in 46 games over the first three years of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, making 31 tackles.
Reynolds backed up Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift last season, running 23 times for 102 yards with nine catches for 116 yards in his fourth NFL season. Williams is an unrestricted free agent, following the best year of his career, and might prove to be too costly to keep.
The Lions also kicked off the week tendering exclusive rights free agents: tight ends Shane Zylstra and Brock Wright, linebacker Anthony Pittman, defensive lineman Benito Jones and long snapper Scott Daly.
AP SOURCE: PANTHERS LAND S VONN BELL, DT SHY TUTTLE
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers added help at safety and found an anchor for the middle of their defensive line on the first day that NFL teams were allowed to negotiate with free agents from other organizations.
The Panthers have agreed to terms on contracts with safety Vonn Bell and defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the deals won’t be made official until Wednesday, when the NFL’s new year starts.
ESPN reported that Tuttle’s deal was worth $19.5 million over three years and includes $13 million in guaranteed money, citing agent Drew Rosenhaus. No details have been released on Bell’s contract.
Both Bell and Tuttle are expected to be starters for the Panthers, who are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme.
Bell has started 93 games and played in 109 over his seven-year NFL career, including 48 starts in the last three season for the Cincinnati Bengals. He played his first four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. The 28-year-old Bell has 636 career tackles with 15 forced fumbles and six interceptions since coming into the league as a second-round draft pick in 2016 out of Ohio State.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Tuttle is expected to play nose tackle in Carolina’s new base defensive front under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, with Derrick Brown moving to defensive end. The Midway, North Carolina, native started 33 games during his four seasons with the Saints, including 29 in the past two seasons. The 27-year-old Tuttle has 143 career tackles with one interception and one fumble recovery.
The Panthers announced Monday they have placed a one-year tender on restricted free agent safety Sam Franklin that would pay him $2.627 million in 2023. Franklin has the option to sign an offer sheet with another team, but the Panthers would have the opportunity to match.
The Panthers went 7-10 last season and recently traded up to acquire to the first pick in the draft, which they plan to use on a quarterback.
COMMANDERS BEGIN OFFENSIVE LINE OVERHAUL WITH WYLIE, GATES
Defensive tackle Daron Payne is under contract long term, and now the Washington Commanders are starting to address their biggest need, the offensive line.
After signing Payne to a four-year contract worth $90 million with $60 million guaranteed, the Commanders spent Monday adding depth and versatility with former Kansas City Chiefs tackle/guard Andrew Wylie and ex-New York Giants center/guard Nick Gates.
A person with knowledge of the contract said Washington agreed to terms with Wylie on a $24, million, three-year deal. A person with knowledge of Gates’ deal said he got a three-year contract.
On the other side of the ball, another person said the Commanders agreed to terms with linebacker Cody Barton on a fully guaranteed contract for next season.
All three people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contracts cannot be signed or become official until the new league year opens Wednesday. Washington did add a player without waiting Monday, claiming cornerback Cameron Dantzler off waivers from Minnesota.
“We got a bunch of young talent on our team, and we’re always just one little piece away from being good,” Payne said after signing his contract. “Hopefully we can put together some pieces and make a run.”
More pieces are coming into place.
Wylie, who turns 29 in August, started all 17 regular-season and all three playoff games for the Chiefs on their second Super Bowl run in four years. He played guard when they won it all during the 2019 season.
Gates, 27, brings similar position flexibility after splitting time at guard and center during his 42 games with the Giants over the past four seasons. Adding Gates is similar to Washington bringing in Wes Schweitzer for interior depth in 2020.
Wylie is the second player to follow new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to the Commanders from Kansas City. Wide receiver/special teams player Marcus Kemp signed not long after the Super Bowl when the Chiefs opted not to keep him.
Coach Ron Rivera and Bieniemy agreed the offensive line needed fixing after the Commanders allowed 48 sacks last season, eighth most in the league. The unit could have a few new starters in front of likely starting quarterback Sam Howell.
Linebacker was another area of need, whether multiyear starter Cole Holcomb returns following a foot injury that cut last season short. Barton, 26, started 11 and played in 17 games last season for Seattle.
Dantzler, who’s set to turn 25 before Week 1, was injured in the Vikings’ game at Washington last season. The Commanders assume his contract through next season after Minnesota waived him over the weekend.
Washington in free agency is still looking for a veteran to compete with, push or fill in for Howell if things go wrong for the 2022 fifth-round pick with just one game of NFL experience. That could be Taylor Heinicke if he returns.
There was little doubt Payne was coming back after leading the team with a career-high 11 1/2 sacks. The Commanders put the $18.9 million franchise tag on Payne last month in the hopes of hammering out a long-term deal, and that came to fruition Sunday.
“I’m just glad that we were able to get it done quickly and didn’t have to wait all through the summer and all that stuff,” Payne said.
It’s the second-biggest contract for a defensive tackle, behind only seven-time All-Pro Aaron Donald.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Payne said. “Probably when I actually see the change in my bank account, it’ll probably settle in. But it’s definitely a blessing.”