Titans sign Elijah Benton, waive two

NFL: AUG 30 Browns Training Camp
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The Titans announced their signing of veteran safety Adrian Colbert, which his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, announced earlier Tuesday. They added another safety and waived two defensive backs to make room.

Safety Elijah Benton also signed with the team.

The Titans waived defensive back Kenneth George and waived/injured defensive back Michael Griffin II.

Benton entered the NFL as an undrafted college free agent with Cleveland in 2020. He played one game for the Browns as a rookie.

Last year, Benton spent time on the practice squad of the Patriots, Seahawks and Jets.

As a college player at Liberty, Benton totaled 205 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defensed, one sack and one forced fumble over 44 career games.

Reports: Torn Achilles feared for Jakeem Grant

Cleveland Browns OTAs
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Browns wide receiver/kick returner Jakeem Grant was carted off the field at practice on Tuesday and the initial word about his condition isn’t good.

According to multiple reports, the belief in Cleveland is that Grant tore his Achilles. If that is confirmed, the veteran will miss the 2022 season.

Grant signed a three-year contract with the Browns as a free agent this offseason. He was a Pro Bowler as a returner last season and was voted a second-team All-Pro in that role in each of the last two seasons.

In addition to being the lead return option for the Browns, Grant was in the mix for snaps on offense as well.

Bengals plan to use Ja’Marr Chase “all over the field”

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Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase had an outstanding first season in 2021, catching 81 passes for 1,455 yards with 13 touchdowns en route to winning AP offensive rookie of the year.

He was also a second-team All-Pro and selected to his first Pro Bowl.

But given that it was just Chase’s first season, the Bengals feel there’s plenty more out there for him. As one example, Chase appears likely to move around formations more as he begins his second season.

Cincinnati receivers coach Troy Walters noted that there’s a possibility Chase could even line up in the backfield, a la San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel.

“He’s going to be all over the field,” Walters said, via Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ website. “We’re going to use him as many ways as we can. He’s a quick learner … That’s what great players want to do. They want to play everywhere.

“They understand the value of moving around and how you stress defenses sometimes in the slot. You don’t want defenses to focus on you. He’s embraced that challenge. Just find a way to create mismatches.”

Chase said he feels like lining up in the slot can give him more space to get open because he can get a mismatch with a linebacker or safety instead of a corner on the outside.

“It’s going to make our offense more explosive,” Chase said. “If we sit in there like robots and stay in the same position, they’re going to expect what’s coming. That’s why you move around.”

Chase’s emergence helped the Bengals improve to 13th in total yards and seventh in points scored last season. If he can take a significant jump by moving around more in his second season, that could go a long way to help Cincinnati defend its AFC North title.

Kevin Stefanski knows how he will use his QBs in Jacksonville, but he isn’t saying

Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout
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Kevin Stefanski has a plan for how he will play his quarterbacks in Friday’s preseason opener at Jacksonville, but the Browns coach isn’t ready to reveal it.

PFT‘s Mike Florio reported last week that the Browns will play Deshaun Watson in the preseason but how much and in how many games remains to be seen.

“I haven’t shared it with the team yet,” Stefanski said, via Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “So I will wait on announcing that. We have a framework on how we’re going to handle this preseason. As you know, you always reserve the right to change your mind based on how practice goes and those types of things. We’re pretty confident in the plan we have.”

Stefanski did not provide a timetable for telling the team. The Browns are scheduled to conduct a closed practice Wednesday before departing for Florida.

Watson is making the trip to Jacksonville, per Easterling, and Stefanski later told WKRK 92.3 that Watson likely plays one of the three preseason games. He did indicate which game.

The only certainty at the position is Jacoby Brissett is expected to start at least the first six regular-season games while Watson is suspended for violations of the Personal Conduct Policy. The NFL is appealing Watson’s suspension, so he might have to sit out even longer.

Watson has not played in a game since Jan. 3, 2021, while with the Texans. He was inactive for every game last season.

“I mean, it’s something that we knew was going to happen,” left tackle Jedrick Wills said Tuesday of Watson’s absence. “But we’ll be ready for him whenever he comes back and the sooner the better.”

Joshua Dobbs and Josh Rosen are the other two quarterbacks on the team’s roster at the position.

Chiefs sign Danny Shelton

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Veteran defensive tackle Danny Shelton is heading to Kansas City.

Shelton has signed a one-year contract with the Chiefs, his agents told Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Although Shelton had recent visits with the Raiders and Panthers, the Chiefs apparently made him his best offer.

A first-round draft pick of the Browns in 2015, Shelton spent three years in Cleveland, two in New England, one in Detroit and last year with the Giants.

Ben McAdoo on QBs: We can get out of this pretty good if we don’t resort to cannibalism

NFL: AUG 08 Carolina Panthers Training Camp
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Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo had to backtrack when he referred to Sam Darnold as the team’s starting quarterback in April, so he’s not making any proclamations about who will win this summer’s competition between Darnold and Baker Mayfield.

McAdoo said on Tuesday that he left his “crystal ball” in his other pants and stressed that the team is going to take its time before making any call about who will be on the field against the Browns in Week 1. McAdoo also said that he’s pleased that the quarterbacks “have conversations and help each other out” because a competition could lead to a “a cold, dark room.”

McAdoo then went the colorful route to share his confidence that things will turn out for the best as long as the Panthers are able to keep operating the same way.

“As long as we don’t resort to cannibalism, I think we have a chance to get out of this pretty good,” McAdoo said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “They’re both going to be better players after we come out of camp and playing really good football. We’re just going to let it play itself out. I think the worst thing you can do is rush to a decision. Just have some patience.”

The Panthers have worked to keep things on an even footing between the two quarterbacks through the first couple of weeks of training camp. That will have to change at some point and the reaction of the No. 2 quarterback will help determine how smooth the sailing remains in Carolina.

Mac Jones: I’m going to figure it out

New England Patriots Training Camp
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The Patriots’ decision to avoid naming an offensive coordinator while putting Joe Judge and Matt Patricia in prominent offensive coaching roles despite a lack of experience on that side of the ball has been the subject of much discussion this offseason.

That discussion hasn’t died down in training camp. Dispatches from Patriots practices have painted a picture of a confused and disjointed unit being led by second-year quarterback Mac Jones.

Monday’s session was reportedly one of the low points of the summer, but Jones told reporters on Tuesday that he’s confident that everything will come together for him and the rest of the unit as they learn the new system.

“I’m going to figure it out,” Jones said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “I always have. I always will. At the end of the day, you’re going to have your ups and downs with anything new, but I’ve learned a lot of different systems and the guys around me have too. We know what football looks like, we know what a good play looks like. . . . It just needs to be more consistent. We all trust in each other at the end of the day. When there’s 10 people that look into my eyes, I know they’re going to trust me to do the right thing on game day.”

Jones’ progress came up often among coaches and teammates leading into training camp, but the story on offense in New England is now trending in another direction. Thursday night’s game against the Giants will offer a chance to see at least some of the pieces of that offense in action for the first time.

Cowboys secondary coach Joe Whitt is addressing a “private health matter”

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The Cowboys won’t have secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator for their trip to Denver later this week.

The team released a statement that Joe Whitt is addressing a private health matter.

“He has been absent from practice, but he has been participating in meetings with coaches and players,” the statement added.

The Cowboys will hold a joint practice with the Broncos on Thursday before beginning their preseason schedule in Denver on Saturday.

Whitt interviewed for a couple of defensive coordinator jobs this offseason.

A 15-year NFL veteran, Whitt followed Dan Quinn from Atlanta to Dallas in 2021 after Quinn was fired as the Falcons’ head coach and hired as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator. Whitt began his NFL career with the Falcons in 2007 before 11 seasons in Green Bay.

Whitt was the Browns’ secondary coach and passing game coordinator in 2019 before joining Quinn in Atlanta in 2020.

Rob Walton vows to make Broncos “the best team to cheer for, play for and work for”

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills
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Owners approved the sale of the Broncos Tuesday. It meant good-bye to the Pat Bowlen trust and hello to the Walton-Penner family ownership group.

Both groups released statements through the team after the unanimous vote approving the sale.

Rob Walton’s statement reads: “We are grateful for the support and trust of the National Football League and the 31 other teams with today’s vote. We couldn’t be more excited to join the Denver Broncos.

“It’s a responsibility and privilege to serve as stewards of such an iconic franchise. We have tremendous respect for what Pat Bowlen has meant to the Broncos and look forward to building on this organization’s championship legacy.

“While we’re deeply committed to fielding a great team to win Super Bowls, our family and extraordinary partners are also dedicated to our off-the-field responsibilities to Broncos Country and the Rocky Mountain region.

“Operating with integrity and accountability, we aim to draw on our individual strengths and those of the players, coaches and staff who have shaped the Broncos’ storied history. And to that end, we want to thank (CEO) Joe Ellis for his guidance throughout this process and his willingness to serve as an advisor to ownership for this season.

“Across the entire organization, we will all continue to listen and learn.

“Most importantly, we will strive to make the Denver Broncos the best team to cheer for, play for and work for in all of sports. Go Broncos!”

Ellis congratulated Walton and his group on taking the reins of the team and announced he has accepted Waltons’ request to remain as an advisor this season: “As I step down as President & CEO, it has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime to be part of the Denver Broncos for 27 seasons. I am forever thankful to our dedicated staff, the players and coaches for making this franchise what it has become today — one of the best organizations in all of sports.

“There are no words to express the gratitude I have toward Pat Bowlen for his trust, friendship and the responsibility to serve the Broncos and this community for nearly three decades. Pat’s legacy of winning, doing things the right way and giving back is unmatched. He is a Pro Football Hall of Famer in every sense for what he has meant to this organization and the National Football League.

“To Broncos Country: From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Your passion and loyalty, especially through the challenges we’ve faced over the last few years, are what make the Broncos so special. You are truly the best fans in the NFL and deserve many, many more Super Bowls.

“Most of all, I want to thank my wife Ann, daughter Catherine, and sons Si and Zander for their unwavering (mostly!) support through the ups and downs, wins and losses, and unforgettable moments during this incredible ride.

“Looking ahead, I am confident the Walton-Penner family ownership group will add to the Broncos’ championship tradition on and off the field while putting their own stamp on this great organization. I was asked by them to serve as an advisor to ownership for this season, and I’ve accepted their request to help in the transition however possible.

“The Broncos are in great hands with Rob Walton, Carrie Walton Penner, Greg Penner, Mellody Hobson, Condoleezza Rice and Sir Lewis Hamilton along with the many outstanding people in our organization. I wish them much success, happiness and fun as they begin this journey. Go Broncos!”

Jakeem Grant carted off at Browns practice

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The Browns may have a significant injury issue with one of their depth receivers.

Jakeem Grant was carted off the field during 1-on-1 drills at Cleveland’s Tuesday practice with an apparent left leg injury, according to multiple reporters on the Browns’ beat.

Grant signed a three-year deal with Cleveland in March. He’s entering his seventh pro season after Miami selected him in the sixth round of the 2016 draft.

He made the Pro Bowl last year as a returner and was a second-team All-Pro for the second consecutive season. He averaged 11.9 yards per punt return between four games with Miami and 11 with Chicago. He also averaged 23.4 yards per kick return.

Grant has four punts returned for a touchdown and two kicks returned for a touchdown in his career. He’s also recorded 100 catches for 1,140 yards with seven TDs in 81 games.

The Browns have had a string of injuries at receiver at training camp, notably with Amari Cooper, Anthony Schwartz, and David Bell all missing at least a little practice time.

Kyler Murray, Colt McCoy out for preseason opener

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The Cardinals won’t be playing either of their top two quarterbacks against the Bengals in this week’s preseason opener.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury announced that Trace McSorley will start on Friday. Jarrett Guarantano is also set to take snaps as the only other quarterback on the roster.

Murray is just returning from five days away from the team due to a positive COVID test. He was also dealing with wrist soreness early in camp, but Kingsbury said “not much” when asked if that was still bothering him.

“It’s more maintenance at this point,” Kingsbury said. “I expect to see more of him as we get into next week.”

McCoy is dealing with some arm soreness that has kept him from throwing in practice. Both players could return for the second game of the summer, but Kingsbury said Murray “won’t play much, if at all” in the preseason.

Jaguars waive Kyle Sloter

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The Jaguars signed quarterback Kyle Sloter and waived EJ Perry last month, but they’ve had a change of heart on Tuesday.

The team confirmed an announcement from Perry’s agent that his client was rejoining the AFC South team while also announcing that Sloter has been placed on waivers.

Sloter joined the Jaguars after playing for the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers earlier this season. He completed 168 of 291 passes for 1,798 yards and nine touchdowns.

Prior to his USFL excursion, Sloter spent time with the Broncos, Vikings, Cardinals, Lions, Bears, and Raiders without appearing in any regular season games. He was 13-of-25 for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Hall of Fame Game.

Perry joins C.J. Beathard and Jake Luton on the rungs below Trevor Lawrence on the quarterback depth chart in Jacksonville.

Browns sign Jordan Kunaszyk

NFL: DEC 21 Washington Football Team at Eagles
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Cleveland is adding gaining some depth at linebacker.

The Browns announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed Jordan Kunaszyk.

Entering his fourth season in the league, Kunaszyk spent the last two seasons with Washington. He appeared in 11 games last season, mainly playing on special teams. He played 12 defensive snaps, too.

Kunaszyk entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Carolina in 2019. He was let go in the team’s 2020 roster cuts to 53 players and landed with Washington’s practice squad in late September.

The Commanders released Kunaszyk in May.

As a corresponding roster move, the Browns waived linebacker Silas Kelly with an injury designation. Kelly joined Cleveland as an undrafted linebacker out of Coastal Carolina in May.

Ryan Poles: My intention is to make sure Roquan Smith is a Bear

NFL: JUN 08 Chicago Bears OTA Offseason Workouts
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Bears linebacker Roquan Smith went public with his desire to be traded on Tuesday morning and General Manager Ryan Poles offered a response from the team at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Poles said he was disappointed that things have progressed to this point because he loves Smith as a person and a player and “thought we’d be in a better situation” by this point in the summer. Poles said that he thought the offer of a new contract for Smith showed “him the respect he deserves,” but that a deal has to make sense for both sides and “obviously we’re not at that point.”

Neither that disappointment nor Smith’s request has Poles ready to say things have reached a point of no return, however.

“Right now, my intentions are to sign Roquan to this team,” Poles said. “We’re going to take it day by day. At the end of the day we have to do what’s best for this organization, but my intention is to make sure Roquan Smith is on this team.”

Smith’s stated intention is to play for someone other than the Bears, so something’s gonna have to give in Chicago for the status quo to change.

Jon Allen on Commanders firing Sam Mills: “It’s a great game but a terrible business”

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The Commanders fired defensive line coach Sam Mills III today, a surprising decision that left one of his players saddened.

Washington defensive tackle Jon Allen said it hurt to learn that the position coach he has played for since 2020 has been let go.

At the end of the day, it’s sad,” Allen said, via the Washington Post. “I think me and Coach Sam were getting along really well. We were really making some progress as a defensive unit. It’s the NFL. People just got to remember it’s a great game but a terrible business.”

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera has not explained precisely why he fired Mills, citing only “philosophical differences.” It seems likely that there’s more going on: Mills has been on Rivera’s staff for the last 12 years, first with the Panthers and then with the Commanders. It’s hard to see why “philosophical differences” would suddenly pop up during their 12th training camp together.

But whatever the reasons, Mills is now out of work, and Allen is expressing a feeling that many players and coaches have had about the business of professional football.