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    Jets take notice of Hardman's plea to Chiefs during the season to 'come get me'
    2/28/24

    Jets take notice of Hardman's plea to Chiefs during the season to 'come get me' The Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jets general manager Joe Douglas says the team took notice of Super Bowl star Mecole Hardman saying on a podcast he told the Kansas City Chiefs to “come get me” while he was disgruntled in New York earlier this season.

    “I’ll just say those comments definitely resonated with us,” Douglas told reporters Wednesday at the NFL combine.

    The wide receiver, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Chiefs, signed with the Jets last March as a free agent. He struggled to find a role in New York's offense after quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lost for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon. Hardman also was beat out for the primary punt return role by undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson.

    Hardman had just one catch for 6 yards in five games with the Jets. He was critical of the team during an interview on “The Pivot” podcast hosted by former NFL star safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark.

    Leading into New York's game against Kansas City in Week 4, Hardman says he was “so checked out, like, it was over with.” He added he had already spoken to both Chiefs GM Brett Veach and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

    "Like, 'come get me,’” Hardman said he told them.

    It was not immediately certain if the Jets would pursue possible tampering charges with the NFL against the Chiefs.

    The Jets traded Hardman and a seventh-round pick in the 2025 draft to the Chiefs three weeks later for a 2025 sixth-rounder.

    On Tuesday night, Hardman tried to clarify his comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

    “Never had talks with KC before the trade, so we can CLEAR THAT UP!” Hardman wrote. “The Jets handled my trade on their own and did the right thing by sending me back to KC!”

    Hardman caught the winning touchdown pass from Mahomes in overtime, helping Kansas City beat San Francisco 25-22 in the Super Bowl this month.

    “Ultimately, we made a decision to move on from Mecole, but our process of adding Mecole, he was excited to be here and it just didn’t work out,” Douglas said. “And a lot of that has to do with Xavier.”

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

    Broncos' Browning headlines new investment platform for fans to buy stock in their favorite players
    By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer | 
    2/28/24

    Broncos' Browning headlines new investment platform for fans to buy stock in their favorite players By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer The Associated Press DENVER

    DENVER (AP) — A new investment platform that allows fans to buy and sell shares in the future on-the-field earnings of college and professional athletes has received federal approval to begin trading on the U.S. stock market.

    Denver Broncos linebacker Baron Browning will headline Vestible Inc.'s initial offering the week of March 18.

    Vestible is entitled to 1% of Browning’s on-field income, which will be distributed to shareholders, for the remainder of his NFL playing career.

    Vestible announced on Thursday the launch of its app for iPhone and Android after it received clearance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

    Fans who register on the platform can buy stock in athletes beginning with Browning, a rising young edge rusher who is entering a contract year in 2024, when he'll make about $3.1 million with the potential for a substantial pay raise with free agency a year away.

    Vestible will make available up to 100,000 shares at $10 apiece in Browning's public offering. Shareholders will receive monthly dividend distributions or they can trade Browning's stock on the platform which operates alongside Templum Markets, Vestible's broker dealer.

    Browning, who will receive 80% of the proceeds from his IPO, fits Vestible’s profile as an up-and-coming player with a massive upside potential.

    “You see the potential for what his next contract could look like, the potential for what kind of player that he could be in this league,” said Vestible cofounder Yves Batoba. “That type of upside is really where the intrigue is. Not just from a football standpoint, but of course from an investment standpoint, as well."

    Browning made a successful switch from inside linebacker to edge rusher in 2022 but he also suffered a partially torn right meniscus that season that caused him to miss training camp last summer and the first six games in 2023. Upon his return, he played a major role in Denver's defensive-fueled turnaround.

    “It’s cool to think I’m going to have my own stock,” Browning told The Associated Press recently, calling the new investment platform “a game-changer not just for me, but for athletes everywhere."

    Vestible is the brainchild of Batoba and Parker Graham, former teammates on Oklahoma State’s football team more than a decade ago who each had brief stints in the NFL — Graham as an offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and Batoba as the Miami Dolphins assistant director of player development for several years.

    After football, Graham went to work in investment management and founded the banking software company Finotta. This is his second start-up. After several years with the Dolphins, Batoba branched out into comprehensive athlete development.

    As they tell it, they found out how to combine their skills three years ago when they cofounded Vestible to allow athletes to sell equity in their professional playing careers with fans investing via IPOs.

    Other platforms have attempted to unite the sports and investment worlds, but those ventures used tracking stocks with values tied to an athlete’s on-field performance. Vestible’s securities are solely based on market demand.

    Vestible intends to follow Browning’s launch in the coming months with other athletes from across the NFL, NBA, college football and NCAA men’s and women’s basketball. But the focus now is on Browning and other football players.

    “Baron is an athlete who is waiting on his next contract. It's kind of like a prove-it season for him,” Graham said. “So he's got a lot of his future (earning) potential locked away from him right now. And so a part of what we're doing is helping him access that capital that helps him create that brand value he has today.

    “And a lot of athletes are experiencing that exact same problem. So, a lot of them will be similar to that sort of persona, folks who haven't really made their big second contract yet but are excelling and outperforming the contract that they're currently in.”

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

    Chiefs are releasing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to save salary cap space, AP source says
    By DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer | 
    2/27/24

    Chiefs are releasing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to save salary cap space, AP source says By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo.

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are releasing wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday, giving the Super Bowl champions some much-needed salary cap flexibility.

    The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Chiefs had not announced the move, which would save $12 million that they could use to shore up their offense or help keep defensive stars Chris Jones and L'Jarius Sneed next season.

    The Chiefs gave Valdes-Scantling a three-year, $30 million deal two years ago in the hopes that Patrick Mahomes could turn the former Packers wide receiver into a viable deep threat. But while Valdes-Scantling had memorable moments in Kansas City, including a TD catch in the Super Bowl, he was plagued by dropped passes and never put up the numbers the Chiefs expected of him.

    He had 42 catches for 687 yards and two scores in 2022 and only 21 catches for 315 yards and a touchdown this past season.

    The release of Valdes-Scantling was widely expected given his overall lack of production and the other needs faced by the Chiefs as they retool their roster and begin pursuit of an NFL-record third consecutive Lombardi Trophy.

    The Chiefs' defense, which largely shut down the 49ers in the Super Bowl, has several important pieces hitting free agency, headlined by Jones and Sneed. General manager Brett Veach said at the NFL scouting combine the team could use the franchise tag on one — Sneed is the more likely candidate — but that the Chiefs would try to secure long-term deals with both of them.

    The deadline to use the franchise tag is Tuesday. If the Chiefs use it on Jones or Sneed but cannot work out a long-term deal with them, there is also the possibility that Kansas City would trade them for draft compensation.

    “You’d like to be able to tag all the guys and pay all the guys, and it’s tough, because the more you win the more you have to pay players,” Veach said Tuesday. "And obviously, when you have this amount of success, you’re paying players a lot of money.”

    Among the Chiefs' other free agents on the defense, safety Mike Edwards became an important player alongside Justin Reid after a season-ending injury to Bryan Cook; Drue Tranquill became a regular at linebacker after signing a one-year deal to come over from the AFC West-rival Chargers this past season; Willie Gay Jr. has proven to be their most athletic and versatile linebacker; and defensive linemen Tershawn Wharton, Derrick Nnadi and Mike Danna played important roles.

    The Chiefs also have positions to address on offense.

    Left tackle Donovan Edwards will be a free agent along with Nick Allegretti, who started in the Super Bowl in place of injured left guard Joe Thuney. Backup running backs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon, wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Richie James, tight end Blake Bell and backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert also are free agents.

    Longtime long snapper James Winchester and punter Tommy Townsend also will be free agents, though the Chiefs already appear to have moved on from Townsend after signing Matt Araiza to a contract late last week.

    Araiza was dropped from a lawsuit in December that had been filed by a woman who alleged she was raped by San Diego State football players in 2021. Veach said the Chiefs went through “a long process” before they were comfortable signing him.

    “When that came through, there was pretty much a green light in that it was an opportunity for him. Probably should have been in the league sooner than he was,” Veach said. “As far as the information and our process, there was no holdup there.”

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

    Kirk Cousins and Chris Jones head an NFL free agents list filled with star-quality players
    By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer | 
    2/27/24

    Kirk Cousins and Chris Jones head an NFL free agents list filled with star-quality players By ROB MAADDI AP Pro Football Writer The Associated Press

    Need a Pro Bowl quarterback, an All-Pro defensive lineman or a future Hall of Fame wide receiver?

    NFL teams could find one of these guys and plenty more star-quality players when the free agency period begins on March 13. Kirk Cousins, Chris Jones and Mike Evans are among the best players who will be available on the open market unless their teams use a franchise tag by March 5. The Bengals already used it on wideout Tee Higgins .

    They’ll be joined by running backs Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs , edge rushers Josh Allen, Brian Burns and Danielle Hunter and several other talented players at various positions, including wide receiver, safety and linebacker.

    Defensive line is the deepest position while offensive tackle has the fewest starting-caliber players on the list.

    Here are the top 25 players set to become free agents:

    1. KIRK COUSINS, QUARTERBACK, MINNESOTA VIKINGS: The four-time Pro Bowl QB was having an excellent season before he tore an Achilles tendon in October. He has said he wants to stay in Minnesota and coach Kevin O’Connell reiterated the team feels the same way.

    “I believe Kirk wants to be a Viking, and we’re going to work to try and make that the outcome,” O’Connell said Tuesday.

    2. CHRIS JONES, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: The two-time All-Pro is a game-changer, as evidenced in Kansas City’s win over San Francisco in the Super Bowl. It would cost the Chiefs about $32 million to use the franchise tag on Jones again this season, a decision they haven’t yet made .

    “That’s certainly a guy we want back and love,” general manager Brett Veach said. “We want to see him finish his career here in Kansas City.”

    3. JOSH ALLEN, EDGE RUSHER, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Allen had a career-high 17 1/2 sacks in his contract year. Allen is Jacksonville’s best defensive player. They can’t afford to let him leave but many teams will be interested.

    4. CHRISTIAN WILKINS, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, MIAMI DOLPHINS: Already one of the best run defenders in the NFL, Wilkins had a career-best nine sacks to increase his value on the open market.

    5. JUSTIN MADUBUIKE, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, BALTIMORE RAVENS: Madubuike had more sacks last season (13) than his first three seasons combined. His breakout season will land him a significant deal, and perhaps a franchise tag.

    6. BRIAN BURNS, EDGE RUSHER, CAROLINA PANTHERS: He’s been the best defensive player on a terrible team and would seem eager to get a fresh start elsewhere but the Panthers aren’t going to let him get away easily.

    GM Dan Morgan already said the team would likely use the $24 million franchise tag on Burns.

    “We would definitely use it if we had to use it,” Morgan said. “We love Brian.”

    7. ANTOINE WINFIELD JR., SAFETY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: The versatile Winfield had an All-Pro season, helping the Buccaneers win a third straight division title and advance to the second round of the playoffs. The Buccaneers are aiming to sign Winfield to a long-term deal instead of giving him the franchise tag at $17.1 million.

    8. L’JARIUS SNEED, CORNERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: A tough, physical cornerback, Sneed didn’t allow a touchdown and was an instrumental part of Steve Spagnuolo’s championship defense. The Chiefs could use the franchise tag, which is about $19 million for cornerbacks.

    9. MIKE EVANS, WIDE RECEIVER, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: He’s the only player to start his career with 10 seasons with 1,000 yards receiving. Evans turns 31 in August but hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. The Buccaneers want to keep him but he’d be a great fit for several teams.

    10. DANIELLE HUNTER, EDGE RUSHER, MINNESOTA VIKINGS: The four-time Pro Bowl pick had a career-best 16 1/2 sacks, his fifth season reaching double digits in eight years.

    11. JAYLON JOHNSON, CORNERBACK, CHICAGO BEARS: He’s physical, consistent and has the ability to be a lockdown player.

    12. MICHAEL PITTMAN, WIDE RECEIVER, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Pittman had a career-best 109 catches and 1,152 yards receiving. He’ll be 27 in October and is a candidate for a franchise tag.

    13. SAQUON BARKLEY, RUNNING BACK, NEW YORK GIANTS: The two-time Pro Bowl pick could get the franchise tag for the second straight season. If not, Barkley should get plenty of interest in free agency despite the league’s overall devaluing of the running back position.

    14. TYRON SMITH, LEFT TACKLE, DALLAS COWBOYS: After being limited to just 17 games over the previous three seasons, Smith started 13 and returned to his dominant form.

    15. BAKER MAYFIELD, QUARTERBACK, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: After bouncing around in 2022, Mayfield signed a one-year deal to replace Tom Brady in Tampa Bay and had the best season of his career. He wants to remain with the Buccaneers and they want to keep him.

    16. DERRICK HENRY, RUNNING BACK, TENNESSEE TITANS: The 30-year-old four-time Pro Bowl pick has plenty of wear and tear but he just started 17 games, ran for 1,167 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. He’s had five 1,000-yard seasons in the last six years, including 2,027 yards in 2020, and he’s scored double-digit TDs six straight years. He’s a perfect fit on a contender.

    17. LEONARD WILLIAMS, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: A tough run defender, Williams was a force rushing the passer last year. He cost Seattle two draft picks in a trade so the Seahawks will make a strong push to keep him.

    18. KENDALL FULLER, CORNERBACK, WASHINGTON COMMANDERS: He’s a versatile defensive back with ability to play outside, in the slot or at safety.

    19. JOSH JACOBS, RUNNING BACK, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: Struggled to follow up an All-Pro 2022 season but finished strong.

    20. KYLE DUGGER, SAFETY, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Excels against the run but needs more consistency in pass coverage.

    21. MIKE ONWENU, RIGHT TACKLE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: He has versatility to play guard and be a bookend tackle.

    22. CALVIN RIDLEY, WIDE RECEIVER, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Put up solid numbers — 76-1,016-8 — in his first season back from a suspension and would be an excellent fit on a team that already has a star No. 1 receiver.

    23. STEPHON GILMORE, CORNERBACK, DALLAS COWBOYS: The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year has played for four teams in the past four seasons but still is among the top guys at his position.

    24. MARQUISE BROWN, WIDE RECEIVER, ARIZONA CARDINALS: Still waiting for that breakout year after his best season with Baltimore in 2021. Has game-changing deep speed that will interest many teams.

    25. BRYCE HUFF, EDGE RUSHER, NEW YORK JETS: Huff goes from undrafted to a big payday after recording a career-best 10 sacks last season. He still needs to develop as a run defender to be more than a pass-rush specialist.

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

    Social media influencer says Dolphins' Tyreek Hill broke her leg during football drill at his home
    By ALANIS THAMES, AP Sports Writer | 
    2/27/24

    Social media influencer says Dolphins' Tyreek Hill broke her leg during football drill at his home By ALANIS THAMES AP Sports Writer The Associated Press

    A social media influencer is suing Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill over an alleged incident that happened at the NFL star's South Florida home last summer.

    In a lawsuit that Sophie Hall's attorneys filed in Broward County circuit court on Feb. 23, the influencer claims that Hill “forcefully and purposefully” shoved her while the two were participating in a football drill at his Southwest Ranches mansion.

    Hill was “humiliated” after Hall knocked him backward during a “friendly football lesson,” according to the lawsuit, which led to him charging at her “violently and with great force.”

    “The crushing force was so great that she sustained a right leg fracture, necessitating surgery with metal hardware implantation,” the lawsuit says.

    Hall is seeking up to $75,000 in damages. It is unclear whether she reported the incident to authorities. Her attorneys are suing Hill for battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

    “We were made aware of it,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said at the NFL combine on Wednesday. "We were in communication with NFL security, so I really can’t comment on anything of that until we get all our information and find out what happened. For us, Tyreek has been a good addition for us, but in terms of all the off-field stuff, we’ll have to get all the information before we can really comment on it.”

    The Dolphins acquired Hill in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in March 2022.

    Hall, whom the suit describes as a model, actress and influencer with over 2 million followers across multiple social media platforms, met Hill in May 2023 after she bought a ticket for her 10-year-old son to attend Hill's summer football camp in Boca Raton, Florida.

    The Dolphins receiver messaged Hall on Instagram a day after she registered, wanting to “meet up and get to know her,” the court documents say.

    The two continued to exchange messages, the documents show, including one in which Hill says he has been “known to be a good stepdad.”

    Hill then shared his cellphone number with Hall and invited her to his home. The All-Pro receiver purchased flight and travel arrangements for Hall to stay with him for a few days, the lawsuit says.

    Hall arrived at Hill's home on June 28, according to the complaint. That afternoon, she stood and watched Hill practice with his trainer in his backyard before Hill invited her to participate in offensive line drills with him.

    Hall, who in her Instagram bio says she is 6-foot-1, caused Hill to be pushed backward during the first drill, which the suit claims garnered laughter from those watching, including his mother, sister, friend and trainer.

    “Apparently embarrassed by his loss of stability as a result of contact by a woman during the ‘football play,’ Mr. Hill's attitude changed and he became angry,” the complaint says.

    Hall was in excruciating pain and unable to get up and walk around as a result of Hill charging at her. The suit claims that Hill downplayed Hall's injuries but allowed her to stay at his home until he secured travel arrangements for her to return home.

    The lawsuit says she was diagnosed with a right leg fracture in July, attends weekly therapy sessions and has persistent pain and weakness in her leg. The suit was first reported by the Daily Mail.

    In 2019, the Chiefs suspended Hill amid allegations that he had physically abused his son. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation after choking his then-pregnant fianceé. He received three years' probation as a result. Last August, Hill was under investigation by Miami-Dade police after a man claimed the receiver hit him after a verbal altercation. No charges were filed.

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

    Lions and standout special teams player Jalen Reeves-Maybin agree to $7.5 million, 2-year contract
    2/26/24

    Lions and standout special teams player Jalen Reeves-Maybin agree to $7.5 million, 2-year contract The Associated Press ALLEN PARK, Mich.

    ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions and standout special teams player Jalen Reeves-Maybin have agreed to a $7.5 million, two-year contract that could be worth $8 million with incentives.

    Brian McLaughlin, Reeves-Maybin's agent, confirmed Monday that the deal includes more than $5 million in guarantees, including a $2.5 million signing bonus.

    Reeves-Maybin was a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl player last season for the NFC North champion Lions, and he helped them win two playoff games in one postseason for the first time since they claimed the 1957 NFL title.

    Detroit drafted Reeves-Maybin out of Tennessee in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL draft and he has played for the franchise in every season other than in 2022, when he was with the Houston Texans.

    Reeves-Maybin matched a career high with 13 tackles on special teams last season and has 60 special teams tackles during his career. He has played in 104 games, including 11 starts at linebacker during the 2021 season, and has made 207 tackles.

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

    Sean Payton hints at moving on from Russell Wilson, says Broncos have to hit on 'the next one' at QB
    By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer | 
    2/26/24

    Sean Payton hints at moving on from Russell Wilson, says Broncos have to hit on 'the next one' at QB By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer The Associated Press ENGLEWOOD, Colo.

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Sean Payton isn't providing anything definitive on Russell Wilson's time in Denver but he did hint at the Broncos moving on from him when he suggested the team cannot afford to miss on “the next one” at quarterback.

    Payton met with the media at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday and said the club should know by the end of next week what direction they'll take at QB.

    Asked if he embraced the idea of finding a solution at quarterback, one that's eluded coaches and GMs ever since Peyton Manning retired eight years ago, Payton retorted, “Yeah, we better. In this league, which is very competitive in our division, it's vital.”

    Payton then relayed a funny meme that caught his attention recently.

    “There’s a Broncos fan with a shirt on with like eight quarterbacks' names crossed through them and he’s drinking the quarterback ‘Kool-Aid,'” Payton said. "Our job is to make sure this next one doesn’t have a line through it.”

    The next one.

    That sounds as though Wilson's time in Denver might be over, something that's seemed imminent since he was benched for Jarrett Stidham the last two weeks of the season.

    The Broncos have delved into the free agency class of quarterbacks and will meet with the college passing prospects at the combine this week.

    Wilson, who has won just 11 of 30 starts with the Broncos since his trade from Seattle two years ago, said over the weekend that he hopes to return to Denver in 2024.

    Wilson said he still aims to win a pair of Super Bowls in the next half decade.

    "I want to go back to Denver. I hope I get to go back. I'd love to go back, to be honest with you. I've got amazing teammates," Wilson said on former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall's “I Am Athlete” podcast that went live Sunday night.

    Wilson also repeated his contention that the Broncos threatened to bench him at midseason if he didn't adjust an injury guarantee in his contract, something the team has called a mischaracterization.

    Wilson declined to remove the injury guarantee from the approximately $245 million contract he’d signed about a year earlier and ended up starting seven more games before Payton benched him for the final two games.

    “I didn’t want to set a precedent for players to remove their injury guarantees,” Wilson told Marshall. “... No way I was going to do that.”

    On Tuesday, Payton said he didn't watch Wilson's appearance on the podcast and general manager George Paton demurred when asked about Wilson raising anew the notion that he was threatened with a benching if he didn't alter his contract.

    “We’ve addressed that, and we moved forward. Everything we did was above board,” Paton said. "I appreciate Russ, but we moved forward. We have a lot of work to do. We’re here at the combine. We have free agency around the corner, and we’re focused on bettering our team and winning football games.”

    If the Broncos are going to move on from Wilson after two mostly disappointing seasons, they'll have to do so before March 17, when his $37 million base salary for 2025 becomes fully guaranteed.

    The Broncos owe Wilson $39 million in salary this upcoming season whether he's on their team or not. If they part ways, they'll also have to take an $85 million dead cap hit , more than doubling the record $40-plus million the Falcons incurred in dead cap charges following QB Matt Ryan’s departure from Atlanta last year.

    Despite benching Wilson after he threw for 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in a bounce-back 2023 season, the Broncos have hinted a Wilson return was possible.

    Wilson said he could play for Payton again and that he hadn't pondered other possible destinations. At one point in the podcast, Marshall joked with Wilson about where he'd live if he stayed in Denver given a recent report that Wilson and his wife, Ciara, are showing their $25 million Cherry Hills mansion to potential buyers.

    “It's not on the market right now,” Wilson said.

    That could change soon.

    Since Manning retired following Denver's triumph in Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have churned through five head coaches and 13 starting quarterbacks while going 52-79, missing the playoffs all eight seasons and posting seven consecutive losing seasons.

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

    Jets releasing durable guard Laken Tomlinson, AP source says. Move saves New York about $8.1 million
    By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Pro Football Writer | 
    2/26/24

    Jets releasing durable guard Laken Tomlinson, AP source says. Move saves New York about $8.1 million By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. AP Pro Football Writer The Associated Press

    The New York Jets are releasing durable veteran left guard Laken Tomlinson, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

    The 32-year-old Tomlinson spent the last two seasons with New York and started every game, but his release — which was not a total surprise — will save the Jets about $8.1 million in cap space this offseason.

    The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday night because the team hadn’t announced the move. ESPN first reported the Jets’ plan to release Tomlinson.

    The move is part of an offseason overhaul on the offensive line for the Jets, who used 13 starting combinations while struggling with consistency and performance. Starting left tackle Mekhi Becton is a free agent, who might not return. Starting center Connor McGovern is also a free agent, but he missed the last 10 games with a knee injury and rookie Joe Tippmann was solid in his place.

    General manager Joe Douglas will focus on revamping the offensive line in the offseason while trying to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is expected to be healthy after missing all but four snaps with a torn left Achilles tendon. Tippmann and versatile guard/tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, who missed all but five games with a torn Achilles tendon, are the only certain returning starters.

    Tomlinson was one of Douglas' big free-agent signings two years ago, bringing in the one-time Pro Bowl selection on a three-year, $40 million contract in 2022. But Tomlinson, who has started 114 consecutive games dating to 2017, struggled at times — along with the rest of the ever-changing O-line beside him.

    Tomlinson was due to count $18.9 million on the Jets' salary cap next season. He'll count $10.7 million in dead money for New York.

    The 28th overall pick by Detroit out of Duke in 2015, Tomlinson spent his first two seasons with the Lions before being traded to San Francisco just before the 2017 season. He was mostly solid in five years with the 49ers and was selected to his only Pro Bowl during the 2021 season.

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    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

    NFL-worst Carolina Panthers increasing overall ticket prices by more than 4% for 2024 season
    By STEVE REED, AP Sports Writer | 
    2/26/24

    NFL-worst Carolina Panthers increasing overall ticket prices by more than 4% for 2024 season By STEVE REED AP Sports Writer The Associated Press CHARLOTTE, N.C.

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers are raising overall ticket prices by slightly more than 4% in 2024 following a season in which they finished with an NFL-worst 2-15 record and were shutout in the final two games.

    The lower level seating at Bank of America Stadium will see the most significant impact, with season ticket prices increasing by an average of 7% from last year for permanent seat license owners, according to a team spokesman. The upper level seating will see a blended increase of less than 1%, with 90% of those ticket prices remaining flat.

    Premium tickets, which includes club seats and suites, will increase based on the terms in their contracts.

    The team did not release the new actual cost of a season ticket by section, except to say the most affordable season ticket package is $510 — the same as last season.

    The Panthers struggled through the 2023 season after spending the No. 1 overall pick on quarterback Bryce Young. Carolina sent top wide receiver D.J. Moore and four draft picks to the Chicago Bears in order to move up in the draft and get Young, including what turned out to be the No. 1 overall pick in 2024.

    Frustration and apathy reigned among Carolina fans last season, and head coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer were fired.

    The Panthers faced half-empty stadiums near the end of the season and, in the case of a home game against Dallas, a crowd filled with mostly Cowboys fans.

    According to research conducted by the team, Panthers ranked 19th in the 32-team NFL in non-premium ticket pricing in 2023 and still expect to remain comparable this season despite the 4% increase. The team says its research indicates that 93% of NFL teams are increasing ticket prices for 2024 with four teams still yet to release pricing information.

    PSL owners will receive an email notice on Tuesday detailing the changes in ticket pricing.

    The team says PSL owners have until May 1 to renew their season tickets. Those who sign up for a payment play or pay in full before April 1 will be eligible to win an all-inclusive trip to the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.

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    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

    Browns QB Deshaun Watson to resume throwing next month following season-ending shoulder surgery
    By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer | 
    2/26/24

    Browns QB Deshaun Watson to resume throwing next month following season-ending shoulder surgery By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer The Associated Press CLEVELAND

    CLEVELAND (AP) — Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will resume throwing next month following right shoulder surgery t hat cut short his second season with Cleveland after just six starts.

    Watson, who fractured a bone in his throwing shoulder in a win over Baltimore on Nov. 12, has been cleared to throw in a few weeks, general manager Andrew Berry said Tuesday at the NFL combine.

    “He has worked his tail off in terms of rehab and recovery,” Berry told reporters in Indianapolis. "He’s in a really good place. We’re excited when the spring hits and we can get him back on the field, but he’s making really good progress and we’re excited to see that continue.”

    Watson's 2023 season ended after he got hurt w hile mounting a comeback win against the Ravens. Despite hurting his shoulder and playing on a badly sprained ankle, Watson completed all 14 passes in the second half as the Browns rallied for a 33-31 win.

    Watson's injury was not initially thought to be serious, but an MRI revealed that he fractured his glenoid (socket) bone and needed an operation.

    The 28-year-old Watson has made just 12 starts for the Browns, who acquired him in a blockbuster trade from Houston in 2022.

    Cleveland sent three first-round draft picks to the Texans for Watson, and convinced him to waive his no-trade clause by giving him a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

    After Watson's injury, the Browns signed veteran Joe Flacco, who revived his career and led Cleveland to just its second playoff appearance since 2002. Flacco went 4-1 as a starter, threw 13 touchdown passes and was voted the AP Comeback Player of the Year at NFL Honors.

    It's unlikely the Browns will re-sign Flacco as a free agent, but after what the team endured last season in starting four quarterbacks, Berry said depth at QB is a must. Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson was Watson's primary backup last season before getting hurt.

    “Quarterback will always be a high priority for us,” Berry said. “From one to three, what that room looks like as we get into the summer, that I’m not sure yet. It’ll largely just depend on who’s available and at what cost.”

    ___

    AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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