Giants sign Azeez Ojulari, Gary Brightwell, Rodarius Williams

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Cincinnati v Georgia
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The Giants signed three of their six-player draft class Thursday, the team announced.

The team’s second-round selection, outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, and the two sixth-round choices, running back Gary Brightwell and cornerback Rodarius Williams, have signed.

The Giants made Ojulari the 50th overall choice. He played 27 games with 23 starts in three seasons at Georgia, where his totals included 71 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed.

Brightwell became the No. 196 overall choice. He appeared in 40 games with seven starts at Arizona, where he led the team with 88 carries for 390 yards and a touchdown in five games in 2020. Brightwell also caught 13 passes for 53 yards.

Williams, the 201st overall selection, set an Oklahoma State record with 48 consecutive starts. That was the longest streak among all FBS defensive backs in his senior season. Williams totaled 168 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 31 passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Receiver Kadarius Toney (first round, Florida), cornerback Aaron Robinson (third round, Central Florida) and outside linebacker Elerson Smith (fourth round, Northern Iowa) remain unsigned.

The Giants also announced they have signed three rookie free agents — Florida offensive linemen Brett Heggie and Baylor offensive lineman Jake Burton of Baylor and Georgia Southern defensive end Raymond Johnson III.

Jets claim Austin Walter off waivers

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Jets head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur will be welcoming a familiar face to the team.

The Jets announced that they have claimed running back Austin Walter off of waivers. Walter was let go by the 49ers on Wednesday while Saleh and LaFleur took their jobs with the Jets earlier this year.

Walter initially signed with the 49ers after going undrafted in 2019, but moved to the Giants practice squad after being cut. He played one game for the Giants and spent time in the XFL before returning to play four games for the Niners last year.

Walter had one catch for 27 yards and one carry for three yards while averaging 18.6 yards per kickoff return in that 2020 action.

The Jets waived running back Pete Guerriero in a corresponding move.

Titans agree to terms with four more draft picks

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After agreeing to terms with first-round pick Caleb Farley earlier on Thursday, the Titans formally announced that deal plus four more on Thursday afternoon.

The club has agreed to terms with second-round offensive lineman Dillon Radunz, fourth-round receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, sixth-round receiver Racey McMath, and sixth-round safety Brady Breeze.

Radunz appeared in 33 games with 32 starts at North Dakota State, becoming a two-time FCS All-American. Fitzpatrick caught 154 passes for 2,589 yards with 21 touchdowns at Louisville. McMath started just four games at LSU, but was a heavy special teams contributor. He had 33 career receptions for 522 yards and four touchdowns. Breeze elected to opt out of the 2020 season, but played in 38 career games for Oregon. He recorded three interceptions in 2019.

Tennessee has three remaining picks who have not yet agreed to terms: third-round linebacker Monty Rice, third-round cornerback Elijah Molden, and fourth-round linebacker Rashad Weaver.

Colts sign kicker Eddy Pineiro

NFL: NOV 24 Giants at Bears
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Free agent kicker Eddy Pineiro is getting a chance to compete for a roster spot.

Pineiro is signing a one-year contract with the Colts today.

Pineiro will likely compete in training camp with Rodrigo Blankenship, who had an up-and-down season in 2020. Blankenship was fairly accurate on short kicks but went just 1-for-3 beyond 50 yards. Punter Rigoberto Sanchez handled most of the kickoffs for the Colts.

The 25-year-old Pineiro was the Bears’ kicker in 2019 and then spent the entire 2020 season on injured reserve.

Patriots work out guard Alex Redmond

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The Patriots are kicking the tires on a veteran offensive lineman.

Alex Redmond worked out for New England today, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

A 26-year-old guard who has played his entire career in Cincinnati, Redmond started seven games last season and has started 24 games in his career.

The Patriots are currently expecting to start Michael Onwenu and Shaq Mason at guard. Redmond would be competing for a roster spot to provide some depth on the offensive line.

49ers sign four more draft picks

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Second-round guard Aaron Banks wasn’t the only 49ers draft pick to reach agreement on his first NFL contract on Thursday.

The team announced that four others have also signed their four-year deals. Fifth-round offensive lineman Jaylon Moore, fifth-round defensive back Deommodore Lenoir, fifth-round safety Talanoa Hufanga, and sixth-round running back Elijah Mitchell also signed with the team.

Three picks remain unsigned, including third-overall pick Trey Lance.

Moore made 26 starts as a left tackle at Western Michigan and will likely be competing for a backup spot once on-field work begins. Lenoir had 158 tackles, four tackles for loss, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in 45 games at Oregon.

Hufanga also comes from the Pac-12 and had 203 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, four interceptions, and four forced fumbles while at USC. Mitchell had 527 carries for 3,267 yards and 41 touchdowns to go with 49 catches for 597 yards and five touchdowns at Louisiana.

The 49ers, who kick off rookie minicamp on Friday, also announced the signing of four undrafted rookies. Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard, Louisiana Monroe tight end Josh Pederson, Kansas State linebacker Elijah Sullivan, and UAB wide receiver Austin Watkins Jr. make up that quartet.

Cowboys agree to terms with draft choices Israel Mukuamu, Matt Farniok

Vanderbilt v South Carolina
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The Cowboys have agreed to terms with a pair of draft picks, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports.

South Carolina defensive back Israel Mukuamu and Nebraska interior offensive lineman Matt Farniok are in the fold.

The Cowboys drafted 11 players and signed 13 undrafted free agents.

Mukuamu will begin his career at safety for the Cowboys. He made 86 tackles, seven interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 22 games over three college seasons.

Farniok played 39 games with 32 consecutive starts in four years with the Huskers, playing his first three seasons at right tackle before moving inside to right guard in 2020.

Dolphins sign seventh-rounders Larnel Coleman, Gerrid Doaks

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The Dolphins signed their last two picks from the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.

The team announced that tackle Larnel Coleman and running back Gerrid Doaks have agreed to their four-year deals with the team. Five other picks, including first-rounders Jaylen Waddlen and Jaelan Phillips, remain unsigned.

Coleman started at left tackle at UMass the last two years and spent his sophomore season starting on the right side. Doaks ran 331 times for 1,712 yards and 14 touchdowns while at Cincinnati. The running back also caught 36 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns.

The Dolphins also announced that they have signed Georgia Tech cornerback Jaytlin Askew, Indiana defensive tackle Jerome Johnson, Middle Tennessee State guard Robert Jones, and Alabama fullback Carl Tucker as undrafted free agents.

Aaron Jones doesn’t know much about Aaron Rodgers’ situation

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At a time when plenty of former and current Packers players seem to know a little something about what’s going on with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Aaron Jones doesn’t know anything — and he doesn’t want to.

“I’m just sitting back,” Jones told Rich Eisen on Thursday. “I mean, I see what everybody else sees. I mean, I haven’t heard from Aaron or anybody, so I’m gonna wait until I get up to Green Bay and see for myself or hear it from him myself. I don’t get caught up in reading the articles and things like that. I just wait until it plays out and control what I can control.”

How much is Jones getting questions like this from people he knows? “A lot,” he said. “A lot.”

Asked whether Jones believes Rodgers will be the quarterback when the Packers play the Saints in Week One, Jones said, “I hope so. That’s my quarterback. That’s our quarterback. So I would hope. That’s all I can think. I hope he’s our quarterback. Hope he’s there Week One, handing it off and it all works out.”

It all remains to be seen. And it will continue to be a question for Jones and every other teammate, publicly and privately, from now until the situation is resolved, and perhaps beyond.

Isn’t this precisely the reason why teams don’t want players who bring so-called “distractions” to the locker room? As a given coach will say, “We don’t want our players to constantly be asked questions about a situation involving one of their teammates.”

Of course, when it’s Aaron Rodgers, a team happily will tolerate that and any other type of distraction. But even if the team isn’t troubled by the players having to answer questions for Rodgers, who won’t walk, at some point players like Jones may grow weary of constantly having to speak about a guy who refuses to speak for himself.

Packers announce the signing of Blake Bortles

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The Packers made it official, announcing the signing of quarterback Blake Bortles.

The team begins its on-field work next week, and Aaron Rodgers is not expected to participate. That was set to leave Jordan Love as the only quarterback at the organized team activities.

Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was with Bortles for four seasons in Jacksonville.

Bortles, 29, has not played since 2019 when he was with the Rams and last started a game in 2018 in his final season with the Jaguars.

The former first-round pick has played 78 games with 73 starts and has 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions.

Zach Wilson “doing something new” in choosing to wear No. 2

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Zach Wilson wore No. 11 and No. 1 during his college career at BYU. He will wear No. 2 with the Jets, the team announced Thursday.

“I’m just mixing it up, doing something new,” Wilson said at rookie minicamp, via Ethan Greenberg of the team website. “I like any single-digit number, I think they’re cool. I was the second pick, so that’s a good reason to switch it up. Not much reason behind it, but I just think it’s a cool number.”

The Jets released jersey numbers for their first three draft choices. Offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker will wear No. 75 and receiver Elijah Moore has picked No. 8. Those were their college numbers.

Numbers for the remaining draft choices and the undrafted free agents still hasn’t been finalized.

Buccaneers sign three draft picks to rookie deals

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Outback Bowl - Minnesota v Auburn
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The Buccaneers have taken care of some business before the start of rookie minicamp, signing three of their 2021 draft picks to their rookie deals.

Tampa Bay announced linebacker K.J. Britt, cornerback Chris Wilcox, and linebacker Grant Stuard have all signed their standard four-year contracts.

Britt was the team’s fifth-round pick at No. 176 overall out of Auburn. He finished his Auburn career with 119 total tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He missed most of the 2020 season with a hand injury. Wilcox, a seventh-round pick, recorded eight passes defensed and 3.0 tackles for loss in 41 games with BYU. And Stuard, also a seventh-round pick, had four passes defensed, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks for Houston.

The Bucs have four more draft picks to sign, including first-round pick Joe Tryon and second-round selection Kyle Trask.

Dre Kirkpatrick visiting Patriots

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Free agent cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is visiting the Patriots today, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

Kirkpatrick signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Aug. 23, 2020, and played 14 games with 11 starts with Arizona last season.

The Bengals made him a first-round choice in 2012, and he played eight seasons with Cincinnati.

In nine NFL seasons, Kirkpatrick has 358 tackles, 13 interceptions, 72 pass breakups, three sacks and nine tackles for loss.

The Patriots have J.C. Jackson and Stephon Gilmore as starters with Jonathan Jones, Jalen Mills, Dee Virgin and Michael Jackson Sr. among those competing behind them.

Buccaneers will be favored in every game

Super Bowl LV
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Betting lines are not yet available for all 272 NFL regular-season games in 2021. When they are, one team will be favored to win each of its 17 contests.

According to the folks at PointsBet, the Buccaneers will be favored to win each of their 17 games. The closest line will apply to the Week Three game at the Rams. It’s likely to be 1.5 points.

Last year, no team was a preseason favorite to win all games. In 2019, the Patriots were favored to win every game. The Patriots went 12-4 that year, losing to the Titans in the wild-card round.

It’s no surprise that the Bucs are favored to win every game. For the first time since the 1970s, the defending Super Bowl champion is returning all 22 starters. It helps that the most prominent of them is quarterback Tom Brady.

Sixth-rounder Cole Van Lanen signs with Packers

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Wisconsin at Illinois
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Add the Packers to the list of teams who have started signing their draft picks.

According to multiple reports, they have agreed to a deal with sixth-round offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen. It will be a four-year contract for Van Lanen in Green Bay, although his run in the town has already lasted a lot longer.

Van Lanen grew up and went to high school in Green Bay and then spent his college years in-state at the University of Wisconsin.

He spent his final two seasons with the Badgers as the team’s left tackle, but could be headed inside to guard in a bid to make the Packers.

The Packers have eight other picks left to sign with their rookie minicamp taking place this weekend.