Report: Dez Bryant signs to Ravens practice squad

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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh didn’t have much to say about the possibility of the team signing veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad on Monday.

Harbaugh said the team would make an announcement and “go from there” when asked about the interest in Bryant. The Ravens have not made an announcement, but it appears a deal is done.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Bryant has signed with the Ravens.

It’s the first time Bryant has been signed to an NFL club since 2018. That was when he tore his Achilles in practice a couple of days after signing with the Saints.

Bryant’s last game action came with the Cowboys in 2017. He had 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns that season and it remains to be seen if he’ll get a chance to add to his career totals with Baltimore at some point this season.

Joe Judge: We’ll deal with Friday night player gathering internally

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The NFL and NFLPA agreed to ban gatherings of players outside team facilities earlier this month, so videos of Giants players doing that last Friday night garnered attention last weekend.

Quarterback Daniel Jones, injured running back Saquon Barkley and other Giants players were seen having dinner and drinks inside a New York City restaurant and bar in the videos. Face coverings were not being widely used and questions about the players’ behavior made their way to head coach Joe Judge on Tuesday.

Judge said he thinks the team’s players have been diligent about following the protocols put in place by the league and that they will handle the matter internally.

“I believe they were trying to do the right thing as teammateswith getting together and having dinner the other night,” Judge said, via SNY.

Judge added that everyone in the organization has to be conscious about what they do before turning to other topics.

Landon Collins set for surgery on Achilles Monday

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Word on Sunday was that Washington Football Team safety Landon Collins was headed for an MRI to confirm an initial diagnosis of a torn Achilles.

Head coach Ron Rivera was dealing with other medical matters Monday, which left it up to Collins to provide an update on his condition. Collins told Josina Anderson that he is scheduled to have surgery on his Achilles on Monday.

The injury will cut Collins’ second season in Washington short. He had 41 tackles, two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the seven starts he was able to make this year.

Seventh-round pick Kamren Curl stepped in next to Deshazor Everett after Collins left Sunday’s win over the Cowboys. He made three tackles.

Antonio Brown can make up to $2.5 million this year

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Antonio Brown has lost millions as a result of his own decisions and behavior. He can make up to $2.5 million this season.

Albert Breer of SI.com has the details on Brown’s one-year deal with the Buccaneers.

Brown receives a base salary rate of $1.416 million, which translates to $750,000 over the final nine weeks of the season.

He gets another $31,250 for every game that includes Brown on the active roster, up to $250,000 for the season. He will receive another $250,000 for six touchdowns and a playoff appearance. He’s eligible for another $250,000 for 650 yards and a playoff appearance. He will earn another $250,000 for 45 receptions and a playoff appearance.

Finally, he gets $750,000 for 35 percent playing time and a Super Bowl win.

The use of individual incentives could create a potential problem, if Brown isn’t being used as much as he’d like to be used. As it stands, he’ll need to average 5.6 catches per game, 81.25 yards per game, and 0.75 touchdowns per game to get up to $750,000 on top of his salary and per-game roster bonuses.

The last $750,000 is tied to both a Super Bowl win and a workload much more significant than cameo/insurance policy.

And so it could become a challenge for Brown to not become frustrated if he’s not on track to earn those incentives. (Bruce Arians reportedly will tell Brown, “Be a team player, or be gone.”)

Regardless, a lot of very good things will have to happen for him and the Buccaneers to unlock a maximum package of $2.5 million, making it a low-risk, high-reward proposition for the Buccaneers — even if one of the intangible costs of the transaction is a slice of their soul.

Chris Godwin out at least one game with broken finger

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The Buccaneers will be without a key part of their passing game on Monday night against the Giants.

Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin suffered a broken left index finger and had surgery to repair it, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. He suffered the injury while catching a touchdown pass against the Raiders.

The Bucs hope the injury will heal quickly enough that Godwin could return for the next game, a big NFC South showdown against the Saints.

Godwin has already missed three games this season but is still tied with Mike Evans for the team lead, with 25 catches. When healthy Godwin is playing well this season, catching 86.2 percent of the passes thrown to him for 9.6 yards per target.

Bill Belichick on sticking with Cam Newton: I think he’s our best player there

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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t hesitate before saying that Cam Newton was “absolutely” still the team’s starting quarterback in the wake of Sunday’s loss to the 49ers and he elaborated on why he made that choice during a Monday appearance on WEEI.

Newton struggled in the 33-6 loss and was 9-15 for 98 yards and three interceptions before Jarrett Stidham took over in the fouth quarter. Stidham may have gotten the call at that moment, but Belichick left little doubt about how he thinks the two quarterbacks stack up in the bigger picture.

“I think he’s our best player there, so again there are other problems offensively,” Belichick said. “There are things we need to do better and that is what we’re going to work on. I think we have our best players out there. We just have to find a way to be more productive. We have been at times, but we certainly weren’t yesterday, and we need to see if we can improve that.”

The sooner the Patriots can improve the better. They face the Bills this weekend and have the Ravens in Week 10 in a pair of games that will help determine how much hope the team will carry into the second half of the season.

Cam Newton says he won’t change the way he dresses

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Cam Newton may be changing as a player, but he’s not changing his style.

Newton said Monday that, while he agrees with sharp criticism from former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia regarding Newton’s sartorial choices, Newton won’t be dressing any differently.

“You go into this game with two touchdowns, four interceptions, you threw what? Three more interceptions?” Garcia said after New England’s 33-6 loss, via USA Today. “You get yanked in the second half, there’s nothing good going your way. Why are you dressing like that to bring more attention to yourself? I’d be trying to ask the equipment managers, ‘Put me in your jock-sock cart and sneak me in the back door and I’ll show up on the field and do the best that I can.'”

“You know what’s crazy? I agree with him,” Newton said Monday on WEEI, via USA Today. “And the fact that he’s a former player, he has every right to say that. And until that happens, so be it. But that’s another opinionated theory, and it’s fair to say. I know I come off to so many different people so many different ways, and that’s fine. You know what, he’s exactly right. But I’m not changing the way I dress. I’m sorry. . . .

“I don’t know Jeff, but I would say this: I do certain things because of the culture I’m from. And where I’m from — I don’t know where Jeff is from, and I don’t want to harp on it too long — but let’s just say he’s right.”

Nowadays, most people would look at Newton’s off-field attire and on-field performance and say, “Who cares?” And those who do care, frankly, shouldn’t. At a time when all of us have far better things to worry about, no one should spend a second obsessing about the things other people do when it comes to their personal lives.

Jets may be open to Quinnen Williams trade

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The Jets have reached the point in their winless season when any player on the roster who might be able to fetch some draft picks in a trade has to be considered on the block.

So it was no surprise that Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the “Jets are shopping” defensive lineman Quinnen Williams.

That report, however, was immediately contradicted by multiple other Jets beat reporters, who said that the Jets are not shopping Williams.

The difference might just be a matter of whether the Jets are actively shopping Williams or whether they’re merely making it known that they’re open to taking calls for Williams. The Jets are at the starting point in what is sure to be a major rebuild, so it makes sense that they’d be open to taking calls for just about anyone.

Still, it’s unusual that the Jets would consider a Williams trade only a year and a half after taking him with the third overall pick in the NFL draft. Williams is talented and only 22 years old, so he’s the kind of player you’d think they’d want to build around, not trade away.

But Jets General Manager Joe Douglas didn’t draft Williams. Mike Maccagnan drafted him, and then was fired. It’s possible Douglas has never been high on Williams and doesn’t think he’s worth what the Jets have invested in him.

The original report says the Jets would demand more than a second-round pick for Williams, so it seems unlikely that anything is going to happen before the trade deadline a week from today.

Jerry Jones: There’s no leadership void with Cowboys

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Another blowout loss has led to another round of questions for the Cowboys regarding whether head coach Mike McCarthy is the right man for the job.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones reiterated his belief in McCarthy on Monday and it was his father’s turn to do the same thing on Tuesday. Jerry Jones made an appearance on 105.3 The Fan and said the Cowboys wanted someone who can “stand tall and strong as the head coach” when “the you-know-what hit the fan” by way of explaining his faith in McCarthy.

“Well, shut up and let me answer. No. . . . You’re not asking me that,” Jones said, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “I gave you the answer. When I go into the locker room, there’s no leadership void in my eyes. Now, that’s your answer. Let’s move on.”

Jones would apologize to the hosts before the interview came to an end, but it seems his belief that he hired the right head coach may not be enough to overcome the frustration that a 2-5 start to the season has created for the Cowboys owner.

PFT’s Week 8 2020 Power Rankings

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1. Steelers (last week No. 3; 6-0): Good news, the Steelers are No. 1. Bad news, a trip to Baltimore is up next.

2. Chiefs (No. 4; 6-1): They’ve gotten back on track quickly, as they always seem to do.

3. Titans (No. 2; 5-1): Down 20 in the second half, the fact that their game against the Steelers came down to a missed field goal makes it a very encouraging sign for the Titans.

4. Ravens (No. 5; 5-1): Five tests are coming, with Colts, Patriots, and Titans serving as the three layers of meat in a Steelers sandwich.

5. Buccaneers (No. 8; 5-2): The most complete team in the NFC is now the best, too.

6. Packers (No. 6; 5-1): After shredding the Texans in Week Seven, Aaron Rodgers said the Week Six loss to the Buccaneers was an anomaly. They may need to reverse that anomaly at some point in the postseason.

7. Seahawks (No. 1; 5-1): The Seahawks have been living on the edge far too often, and it finally caught up with them.

8. Saints (No. 9; 4-2): They’ve become the forgotten elite team in the NFL. It will be hard to forget them once Michael Thomas returns (especially since no one made the Saints an offer they couldn’t refuse for him).

9. Bills (No. 10; 5-2): The inability to run and stop the run doesn’t bode well with Part One of the annual Patriots series looming.

10. Rams (No. 11; 5-2): They’ll be fine, as long as they don’t have to play other teams in the NFC West.

11. Cardinals (No. 15; 5-2): Can we please have Kyler Murray in prime time every week?

12. Browns (No. 16; 5-2): They won’t miss OBJ as much as many believe.

13. Colts (No. 14; 4-2): The best kind of bye is the bye during which the other three teams in the division play, and lose.

14. Bears (No. 7; 5-2): Winning ugly > losing pretty >>>>>>>>> losing ugly.

15. 49ers (No. 19; 4-3): Dr. Jekyll wishes the 49ers would figure out who they are.

16. Raiders (No. 13; 3-3): If they’re on the cutting edge of beating the virus, we’d hate to see where they’re be if they weren’t.

17. Patriots (No. 12, 2-4): They’re on the ropes, and every AFC playoff contender should be hoping that someone punches them through.

18. Dolphins (No. 18; 3-3): Tua Time > Hammer Time.

19. Panthers (No. 17; 3-4): Don’t rule out a run at the No. 7 seed, especially with Christian McCaffrey getting healthy.

20. Chargers (No. 21; 2-4): I have seen the future. And it is the Chargers becoming the kings of L.A., thanks to Justin Herbert.

21. Eagles (No. 22; 2-4-1): They’re picking themselves up off the mat earlier than usual.

22. Lions (No. 24; 3-3): Don’t look now but the lowly Lions quietly have become contenders.

23. Broncos (No. 20; 2-4): Doubts already are growing about whether Drew Lock can be a franchise quarterback.

24. Washington (No. 30; 2-5): The sentimental favorites to win the division just might.

25. Bengals (No. 23; 1-5-1): Joe Burrow deserves better.

26. Falcons (No. 25; 1-6): Todd Gurley is the Bizarro Brian Westbrook.

27. Vikings (No. 28; 1-5): Hey, Vikings, take next week off, too.

28. Cowboys (No. 26; 2-5): They’re bad, and they’re increasingly not competitive.

29. Giants (No. 27; 1-6): Tom Brady picked a good time to try to get some revenge on the Giants.

30. Texans (No. 29; 1-6): Deshaun Watson deserves better.

31. Jaguars (No. 31; 1-6): It made sense to see what Gardner Minshew can do with a full season as starter. And now we’ve seen it.

32. Jets (No. 32; 0-7): “We only lost by eight points!”

Antonio Brown officially signs with the Buccaneers

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Antonio Brown will be getting his latest second chance in Tampa.

Per multiple reports, the Buccaneers officially have signed Brown to a one-year deal.

He’ll be eligible to practice and play after Tampa Bay’s Week Eight game at the Giants. Which means he’ll make his debut on Sunday, November 8 against the Saints on Sunday Night Football.

It was against the Saints in December 2018 that the football-following world last saw Brown perform at a high level. In a game at the Superdome, Brown caught 14 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. A late fumble from receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster helped cost Pittsburgh the win, which in turn killed their playoff hopes.

Two days later, the Steelers named Smith-Schuster the team MVP, Brown reportedly got upset about it and stormed out of practice, and the rest is history. History that quite possibly will repeat itself.

Anthony Lynn doesn’t want Justin Herbert running the ball too much

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Philip Rivers was a starter for the Chargers for a long time and that meant there wasn’t much running going on by the team’s quarterback while many teams were beginning to incorporate such wrinkles into their offenses.

Rivers is now in Indianapolis and Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert brings a different skill set to the team. He led the Chargers in rushing with 66 yards in Sunday’s win against the Jaguars and his 31-yard run was the longest by any Chargers quarterback since 1988.

One of Herbert’s runs saw him lower his shoulder to run over Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon late in the fourth quarter. It led to cheers from his teammates, but it wasn’t what head coach Anthony Lynn wants to see.

“He put his shoulders down and he ran over someone,” Lynn said, via Gilbert Manzano of the Los Angeles Daily News. “The sideline kind of erupted when he did that. That’s the way he leads sometimes. But in this league, I want you to slide. . . . I don’t want to put Justin in a situation where he may have to run the football too many times. I don’t like my quarterback getting hit.”

Given Herbert’s 347 passing yards and three touchdowns, Lynn’s desire to see Herbert remain healthy easy to understand and the start of Herbert’s career has not provided much reason to think that he’ll be running the ball too often. His nine attempts were as much as the previous two weeks combined and included three kneeldowns at the end of the game.

Bears’ offense has been worse since Nick Foles became the starter

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In Week Three, the Bears benched a struggling Mitchell Trubisky for Nick Foles, and they promptly came back from a 26-10 deficit to beat the Falcons 30-26. It looked like Foles was the right man to lead their offense.

In four games since then, it has looked a lot different.

The Bears’ offense has actually been worse in the four games started by Foles than it was with Trubisky, including last night’s ugly showing in a 24-10 loss to the Rams.

Since Foles became the Bears’ starter in Week Four, the Bears are dead last in the NFL with an average of 263 yards per game. In the three games Trubisky started, the Bears’ offense was never held under 300 yards. The Bears have gained fewer than 300 yards in all four games Foles has started. The Bears averaged 22.0 first downs in Trubisky’s two full games; they’ve averaged 17.5 first downs in Foles’ four full games.

Foles has worse stats than Trubisky across the board, whether judging by passer rating (Trubisky is at 87.4 and Foles at 77.6), ESPN’s QBR metric (Trubisky is at 56.4 and Foles at 46.2) or yards per attempt (Trubisky 6.5, Foles 5.9). Trubisky and Foles have both thrown six touchdown passes this season, but Foles has thrown six interceptions while Trubisky threw three. Trubisky is also a threat as a runner who was averaging 10.9 yards per carry on the season; Foles actually has negative rushing yards this season.

From all appearances, Bears coach Matt Nagy has made his decision and is sticking with Foles as the starter. But there’s little reason to believe Foles is going to turn the Bears’ offense around. He did it briefly against a Falcons team known for allowing fourth-quarter comebacks, but he hasn’t done it since.

Cowboys expect Zack Martin, Chidobe Awuzie back this week

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It remains to be seen if quarterback Andy Dalton can clear the concussion protocol in time for the Cowboys to face the Eagles in Week 8, but the team does expect to have a couple of other players back in action.

Right guard Zack Martin suffered a concussion against the Cardinals in Week 6 and missed the Week 7 loss to Washington as a result. Vice president Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan on Monday that the team believes he will be back in action along with cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

“We get Zack Martin back this week,” Jones said, via the team’s website. “We get Chidobe Awuzie back this week. Looks like [center] Joe Looney may have a chance to come back, and then we’ve got the guys who are going to work every day. That’s what we have to do as a team.”

Awuzie was designated for return from injured reserve last week. He’s been out since Week 2 with a hamstring injury. Looney has been out since early October with a knee injury.

Report: Quinton Spain visiting, likely to sign with Bengals

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The Bengals may be getting some veteran offensive line help.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported on Sunday that former Bills and Titans guard Quinton Spain would visit with the team. Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Monday that Spain is expected to sign with the team assuming all goes well with that meeting and COVID-19 protocols.

The Bills released Spain last week after signing him to a three-year, $15 million contract during the offseason. He had been a starter with the team last year, but took on a reserve role in Buffalo this season before being let go.

Cincinnati’s line has struggled to protect quarterback Joe Burrow all year and they had three linemen go down with injuries in Sunday’s loss to the Browns. Left tackle Jonah Williams has a neck injury, center Trey Hopkins is in the concussion protocol and right tackle Bobby Hart hurt his knee. Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo was already on injured reserve, so a healthy, experienced player would be a welcome addition to the group.