Packers sign long snapper Jack Coco, waive Jahmir Johnson

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The Packers signed long snapper Jack Coco on Wednesday, the team announced.

They waived undrafted rookie offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson in a corresponding move.

Coco is an undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech. He participated in the Packers’ rookie minicamp as a tryout player earlier this month.

Coco appeared in 39 games with two starts during his four seasons with the Yellow Jackets. He served as the team’s long snapper for three seasons, while also seeing time at tight end.

He had five career receptions for 26 yards.

Coco joins Steven Wirtel on the depth chart at the position.

Dalvin Cook likes Vikings’ running back depth

NFL: JUL 29 Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
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Dalvin Cook clearly is the Vikings’ RB1, but he has never played a full season in his five NFL seasons. He missed four games last season after sitting out 21 in his first four seasons.

The Vikings have had Alexander Mattison behind Cook the past three seasons and will again this season.

They have upgraded the depth behind those two.

The Vikings selected North Carolina running back Ty Chandler in the fifth round of last month’s draft. He will join Kene Nwangwu on the depth chart behind Cook and Mattison.

“We’re in the NFL. Things happen. Guys go down,’’ Cook said, via Chris Tomasson of The Pioneer-Press.

Nwangwu, a fourth-round choice in 2021, played 11 games as a rookie and had only 17 touches for 70 yards but returned two of 18 kickoff returns for touchdowns.

The Vikings plan to get Nwangwu more involved on offense this season.

“He doesn’t have a ceiling,’’ Cook said. “He’s got it all. We see it on special teams. . . . The thing I haven’t seen is him run the ball more consistently and get the ball more. I think that’s going to happen coming up. He’s special with the ball in his hands, and I want to see him make more plays.”

Freddie Kitchens hired as senior football analyst on South Carolina staff

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Former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens has found his next job, getting the title of senior football analyst at South Carolina.

Kitchens and South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer have known each other for years; they were both on the Mississippi State staff in 2004 and 2005. That was the last time Kitchens coached at the college level.

It’s a fairly significant step down for Kitchens, who was the Giants’ offensive coordinator last year after Jason Garrett was fired.

Kitchens spent one season as the Browns’ head coach, going 6-10 in 2019.

Commanders sign Jahan Dotson

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The Commanders have their top choice of the 2022 draft under contract.

Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post reports that wide receiver Jahan Dotson has signed with the team. It’s a four-year deal with a team option for the fifth season for the 16th overall pick.

Dotson capped his time at Penn State with 91 catches for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns during the 2021 season. He has the second-most catches, fourth-most receiving yards, and is tied for the second-most receiving touchdowns in school history.

Dotson, who missed some rookie minicamp time to attend his college graduation, is expected to join Terry McLaurin as top receiving options in Washington.

Packers announce Jaire Alexander extension

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The Packers have made it official.

Green Bay announced that the team has signed cornerback Jaire Alexander to a contract extension.

“We are very excited to be able to come to an agreement that keeps Jaire in Green Bay,” General Manager Brian Gutekunst said in a statement. “He has consistently performed at a high level during his time with the Packers and we look forward to his continued growth as both a player and a leader for this team.”

Alexander’s is now under contract through 2026. His deal is set to pay out will pay out $98.076 million over five seasons if all of his per-game roster bonuses are earned.

In 48 career games, Alexander has recorded five interceptions and 44 passes defensed.

Dolphins officially sign Melvin Ingram, cut Chris Streveler

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Veteran edge rusher Melvin Ingram is officially a member of the Dolphins.

Word of an agreement with Ingram broke over the weekend and the Dolphins announced that the contract was a done deal on Wednesday. They also announced the move they made to make room for Ingram on the 90-man roster.

The Dolphins waived quarterback Chris Streveler. Streveler appeared in seven games for the Cardinals over the last two seasons. He was 17-of-25 for 68 yards, a touchdown and an interception in those outings. Streveler won a Grey Cup with Winnipeg of the CFL before coming to the NFL.

Streveler’s departure leaves Teddy Bridgewater and seventh-round pick Skylar Thompson behind Tua Tagovailoa on the depth chart.

Cowboys and Broncos set for joint practices in August

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Defensive end Randy Gregory will get a chance to renew acquaintances with the Cowboys this summer.

Gregory signed with the Broncos as a free agent in March after initially agreeing to a deal to re-sign with Dallas. Any hard feelings about that departure can be ironed out in Denver in August.

Jori Epstein of USA Today reports that the Cowboys are set to practice with the Broncos before they play a preseason game against each other on August 13.

The Cowboys also have workouts scheduled with the Chargers for this summer, so they’ll get a sneak preview of a couple of AFC West contenders before the season gets underway.

Chargers signing Morgan Fox

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The Chargers are adding a player with experience in head coach Brandon Staley’s system.

Los Angeles is signing defensive lineman Morgan Fox, per agent David Canter.

Fox played under Staley with the Rams in 2020 when the coach was the club’s defensive coordinator. That season, Fox recorded a career-high 6.0 sacks with eight tackles for loss and nine QB hits. he also had a pair of passes defensed, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

Fox played for the Panthers last season, appearing in all 17 games with nine starts. He finished the year with 34 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and seven QB hits. He was released on March 14.

The defensive lineman entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State-Pueblo back in 2016. he was on the Rams’ practice squad for most of that season but became a rotational player in 2017. Fox missed the 2018 season with a torn ACL but has not missed a game since.

Fox has 12.0 career sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 24 QB hits in 69 career games with 15 starts.

He’s now the fourth member of the 2020 Rams to join Staley in the opposite locker room at SoFi Stadium this offseason, along with defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, linebacker Gerald Everett, and linebacker Troy Reeder. The Chargers have also added edge rusher Khalil Mack and cornerback Bryce Callahan who previously played under Staley.

Former Cowboys director of scouting Larry Lacewell dies at 85

NFL: NOV 21 Cowboys at Chiefs
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Larry Lacewell, the Cowboys’ longtime director of college and pro scouting, died Wednesday, the team announced. He was 85.

Lacewell started with the Cowboys in 1992, serving as the director of college scouting. In 1994, he was named director of college and pro scouting, a position he held until 2005.

He was instrumental in helping the Cowboys build the Team of the 1990s, with Dallas winning three Super Bowls.

Lacewell played football at Arkansas State and began a coaching career after his playing career ended. His 32-year coaching career was highlighted by two national championships as an assistant at Oklahoma and a decade as the head coach at his alma mater.

He also served as Arkansas State’s athletic director from 1979-90.

Lacewell is in Arkansas State’s ring of honor, as well as the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Parris Campbell enjoying “first real healthy offseason” of NFL career

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The Colts took wide receiver Alec Pierce in the second round of this year’s draft and the way Parris Campbell‘s career has unfolded likely impacted that decision.

Campbell has only played in 15 games over his first three seasons because of injuries, including the foot injury that limited him to six appearances in 2021. The last of those appearances came in Week 18 when he played in the Colts’ crushing loss to the Jaguars with plates and screws in his foot.

They were removed after the end of the season and Campbell said on Wednesday that he’s enjoying his “first real healthy offseason” as a pro as a result. He also responded to those who believe he can’t stay healthy.

“Excuse my language, to hell with that,” Campbell said, via Larra Overton of the Colts website.

Campbell flashed the playmaking ability that made him a second-round pick when he went 51 yards for a touchdown on his final catch last season. This is the final year of his contract and likely the final chance he has to show the Colts he’s capable of more than the occasional splash play.

Kevin O’Connell: Irv Smith Jr. is going to be a major part of what we do

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Irv Smith Jr. was slated to be the Vikings’ starting tight end in 2021. But then he suffered a torn meniscus just before the start of the regular season and ended up missing the entire year.

Smith has been participating in Minnesota’s offseason program and was spotted by reporters running routes during an open portion of practice this week. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said in his Wednesday press conference that Smith is making steady progress by doing more and more every day.

“I think for Irv, this whole spring is a great example of a player figuring out where he is coming off of his injury,” O’Connell said. “But also understanding that he can really get a lot out of every day knowing he’s preparing himself for when he’s 100 percent and ready to go.”

O’Connell noted that he’s well aware of how Smith was perceived entering last season, while adding the club has to be responsible with how it handles Smith’s return.

“I know there were a lot of folks excited about him last fall before that injury,” O’Connell said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “He’s going to be a major part of what we do.”

Playing alongside Kyle Rudolph for his first two seasons, Smith caught 36 passes for 311 yards with a pair of touchdowns as a rookie in 2019. HE then caught 30 passes for 365 yards with five TDs in 2020.

Cardinals sign Myjai Sanders

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The Cardinals took a pair of edge defenders in the third round of the draft and one of them signed with the team on Wednesday.

Myjai Sanders has agreed to a four-year deal with the team.

Sanders was credited with more than 60 quarterback pressures during his final season at Cincinnati, but only came up with 2.5 sacks. He had 11 sacks in 24 games over the two previous seasons and the Cardinals will be hoping that there are a lot more to come as he jumps to the professional level.

Sanders’ signing leaves Cameron Thomas, the other third-round edge rusher, as the team’s only unsigned draft pick.

Will NFL fans flock to Amazon Prime for Thursday Night Football?

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Eight years ago, the NFL enlisted Hall of Famer Lynn Swann to assist with a clumsy and clunky effort to preserve the blackout rule.

The league, facing mounting pressure for its position that games not sold out within 72 hours of kickoff would not be televised in the local market, linked the anti-blackout crowd with the “Pay-TV” bogeyman.

“Pay-TV lobbyists have manufactured a controversy in an effort to change the current rule and charge fans for games they currently watch for free,” the website pushing the league’s “Protect Football on Free TV” initiative declared in 2015. “We cannot let these special interests dictate what is best for NFL fans and their communities.”

Fast forward to 2022, and one of the league’s most important TV packages is, you guessed it, available exclusively on Pay TV. Although the teams that play in the Thursday night games on Amazon Prime will have their contests televised for free in the local markets, everyone else will have to: (1) have access to Amazon Prime; (2) enjoy high-speed Internet access that will allow the games to be televised in an enjoyable and effective way; and (3) understand how to activate and utilize Amazon Prime from a smart TV or other device.

The league has given Amazon Prime a strong package of games for Thursday night, with the obvious goal of propping up efforts to get people to pay for this Pay-TV product. (That said, it was inevitable that most teams would appear in the Thursday night package, since the league imposes the Sunday-to-Thursday turnaround on a given team only once per year, at most.) The real test comes in September, when the casual fan prepares to watch Chargers-Chiefs on Thursday, September 15, checks his or her local listings, and realizes that, unless Amazon Prime has been purchased, the game will not be seen in that household.

The audiences will be much smaller on Thursdays in 2022 than they were in years that featured an NFL Network and three-letter network simulcast. It’s a long-term play for the NFL and Amazon. And it will be interesting to see whether the league and/or Amazon employ full transparency and honesty when disclosing viewership numbers.

In 2017, the NFL didn’t release numbers for a Ravens-Jaguars game in London that streamed for free on Yahoo.com, claiming that they weren’t ready. A month later, they still weren’t ready. Six years later, is the NFL ready for what potentially will happen if fans aren’t ready to embrace Amazon Prime?

This means that the NFL and Amazon Prime will need to work diligently and persistently to raise awareness as to the shift of Thursday Night Football from broadcast to streaming. Although hard-core fans of the sport know it’s coming, most casual fans are and will remain clueless — possibly until the early evening of September 15, when they switch ’round and ’round ’til half past dawn through 57 channels and no NFL on.

Avonte Maddox wants “every ball to come my way” after James Bradberry signing

NFL: DEC 21 Washington Football Team at Eagles
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The Eagles added cornerback James Bradberry to their roster on Wednesday in a signing that gives a serious boost to the position group.

Bradberry joins Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox as the expected first-stringers at cornerback. Maddox is the only member of that group that has never been selected for the Pro Bowl and he told reporters on Wednesday that he thinks the unit is “pretty lit” as a result of the Bradberry move.

Maddox said he has “high praise” for the signing and that he welcomes the target he expects to be on his back from opposing offenses.

“I want every ball to come my way. Gives me an opportunity to make a play,” Maddox said.

Maddox probably isn’t wrong about the chances he’ll get while playing with Slay and Bradberry and the Eagles pass defense will be a tough one to crack if he proves up to the moment.

Jets agree to terms with Garrett Wilson

NFL: APR 28 2022 Draft
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The Jets now have all three of their first-round picks under contract.

Jets rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson agreed to terms on his four-year, $20.55 million fully guaranteed rookie contract, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Wilson caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns at Ohio State last year, and he was widely regarded as one of the elite wide receivers in college football. The Jets got him with the Seahawks’ first-round pick, one of the picks they got for trading Jamal Adams.

The Jets had three first-round picks this year. No. 4 overall pick Sauce Gardner and No. 26 overall pick Jermaine Johnson have already signed their rookie deals.