Raiders could be planning to squat on Derek Carr, for now

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The Raiders have 16 days to figure out a potential trade for quarterback Derek Carr before $40.4 million in future compensation becomes fully guaranteed. So why haven’t they given Carr permission to try to find a suitor?

Here’s the problem. The Raiders likely fear that those discussions would result in a wink-nod understanding that Carr will tell the Raiders he won’t waive his no-trade clause, forcing a release — and then allowing him to get more than the new team would be willing to pay, if it has to also compensate the Raiders.

From Carr’s perspective, it’s better to be cut than traded. He picks his destination, he maximizes his compensation, and his new team can pay him more because it didn’t have to send a draft pick or two to his old team.

The Raiders are smart enough to realize this. Thus, the goal for now seems to be keeping Carr from finding out what’s behind Door No. 2. The more he knows about what other teams will or won’t do, the more likely he realizes that his best play would be to fold his arms and refuse to cooperate.

Then there’s this possibility. The Raiders, in lieu of cutting him, will keep him. And keep him. And keep him, until they get the deal they want.

It would be similar to what the Browns did with Baker Mayfield. Yes, he had a $19.9 million salary for 2022. But he had nowhere to play. And the longer it played out, the harder it would be for him to get ready for the regular season.

Eventually, he gave up $4.6 million, and the Browns saved $9.4 million.

The Raiders actually could benefit from sitting on Carr until after the upcoming game of veteran quarterback musical chairs ends. Assuming that at least one quarterback-needy team doesn’t get the guy it wants, the Raiders will operate from a position of strength.

If, in contract, they hustle to strike a deal for Carr before February 15, they’ll be operating from a position of weakness.

If that’s what the Raiders are doing, it’s quite a gamble. A $40.4 million gamble, more than twice the $19.9 million the Browns gambled with.

Carr could just say, “Fine. I’ll show up for practice and games and collect your checks and not play.” They can’t lock him out, if he wants to be there.

But the Raiders could be banking on Carr desperately not wanting to be there, and also desperately wanting to be elsewhere. That’s the way to get him to trim enough of that $40.4 million to facilitate a trade — even if the Raiders end up paying some of it.

It’s far better than paying all of it.

With salary cap in place, franchise and transition tag amounts for 2023 are known

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The formulas for determining the franchise and transition tags ultimately tie the amount at each position to a percentage of the salary cap. Thus, once the salary cap is known, the tag amounts are known.

With the salary cap at a record-high $224.8 million for 2023, the tags have been determined.

Per multiple reports, the franchise tags are as follows:

Quarterback: $32,416,000.

Running back: $10,091,000.

Receiver: $19,743,000.

Tight end: $11,345,000.

Offensive line: $18,244,000.

Defensive end: $19,727,000.

Defensive tackle: $18,937,000.

Linebacker: $20,926,000.

Cornerback: $18,140,000.

Safety: $14,460,000.

Kicker/punter: $5,393,000.

The franchise tag allows a player to negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet. If his current team doesn’t match the offer, the new team gives up two first-round picks.

The transition tag provides only a right to match, with no compensation. The transition tags are as follows:

Quarterback: $29,504,000.

Running back: $8,429,000.

Receiver: $17,991,000.

Tight end: $9,716,000.

Offensive line: $16,660,000.

Defensive end: $17,452,000.

Defensive tackle: $16,068,000.

Linebacker: $17,478,000.

Cornerback: $15,791,000.

Safety: $11,867,000.

Kicker/punter: $4,869,000.

The window for applying the tags opens on February 21 and closes on March 7. All that really matters is the deadline; unless, however, teams want to apply it before the Scouting Combine in an effort to tamp down the rampant tampering that happens in Indianapolis.

Germaine Pratt apologizes for calling out Joseph Ossai: I wasn’t a great teammate in that moment

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Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt called out teammate Joseph Ossai as he walked to the locker room after a frustrating, last-second loss. Pratt was caught on video voicing his displeasure at Ossai’s unnecessary roughness penalty on Patrick Mahomes that moved the Chiefs into field goal range with eight seconds left.

Pratt tweeted Sunday night after seeing that the video had gone viral, explaining it was an emotional response to a painful moment.

Pratt apologized Monday.

“It’s a reaction that anybody has that’s a competitor. You know what was at stake in that moment,” Pratt said, via Shelby Dermer of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “A guy made a mistake, over and done with it. I was emotional. I was in the moment. As a man, you can look yourself in the mirror and say I was wrong. I wasn’t a great teammate in that moment.”

Other Bengals had Ossai’s back in postgame interviews, with defensive tackle BJ Hill standing beside his teammate.

Ossai had five tackles, two quarterback hits and a pass breakup, but his 15-yard penalty set up Harrison Butker‘s 45-yard, game-winning field goal with three seconds left.

49ers expect Brock Purdy to miss six months with torn UCL in throwing elbow

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The injury suffered by 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy during the NFC Championship Game was a serious one.

Purdy has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will likely be sidelined for about six months, according to multiple reports.

That timeline would have Purdy back before the start of the 2023 preseason, but it will definitely affect the 49ers’ quarterback plans. After the way he played during the regular season, Purdy appeared poised to start for the 49ers next season. Now he’ll be out of the offseason program, which may open the door to Trey Lance — or to the 49ers acquiring another quarterback.

The last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Purdy had an outstanding rookie season after both Lance and backup Jimmy Garoppolo were lost to injuries. On the basis of his rookie year he appears to have a bright future, but he now has a long rehab ahead of him.

Vic Fangio to Dolphins isn’t official until it’s official

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In the red corner, a flurry of reports that Vic Fangio will become the next defensive coordinator of the Dolphins. In the blue corner, Fangio himself has repeatedly said it’s not a done deal yet.

While it’s entirely possible that Fangio will sign the contract and become the next defensive coordinator of the Dolphins, no deal is done until it’s done. We learned this (or at least we should have) five years ago, when Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was supposed to become the next head coach of the Colts — until he didn’t.

On Sunday, Fangio told both Mike Klis of 9News.com and Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle that the deal isn’t done.

Silver posted earlier today that Fangio said, last Sunday night, “Nothing has been decided on my end.”

Silver also pointed out that “there is a huge amount of mutual respect between [49ers coach] Kyle Shanahan and Fangio.” Fangio served as 49ers defensive coordinator in the past, under Jim Harbaugh. And it looks as if the 49ers will have a vacancy at that position, soon.

Bottom line? This isn’t a battle between reporters who are pushing conflicting information from unnamed sources. Fangio himself is saying the deal isn’t done. It would be seventh-level stupid to ignore the words from his own mouth.

Zac Taylor on Joe Burrow’s second contract: I think that starts now internally

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Now that Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has completed his third season, he’s eligible for a contract extension.

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 draft, Burrow has certainly lived up to the lofty expectations that come with being selected first overall. He brought the Bengals to the Super Bowl last season and Cincinnati was a part of the NFL’s final four in 2022.

The Bengals will surely pick up his fifth-year option in the spring — unless they sign him to a lofty contract extension first. Either way, it stands to reason that Burrow will receive some financial security before the start of the 2023 regular season.

“Yeah, I think that starts now internally,” head coach Zac Taylor said in his Monday press conference when asked about Burrow being eligible for a second contract. “And so, again, just wrapped up with the team today. And as you go forward, you get a chance to start talking about Joe and all the other players who are up.”

Taylor was also asked how he’d quantify Burrow’s value to the franchise.

“Fortunately, I don’t have to put that on paper, in terms of what that is,” Taylor said. “That’s just the business we’re in right now. He’s everything we want to be about. He’s a hard worker. He cares about his teammates. He cares about where he’s from — Ohio. This fanbase, I think he represents us the right way.

“And so, we take a lot of pride in having Joe Burrow as our quarterback.”

In 2022, Burrow completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,475 yards with 35 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 16 games. The Bengals are 24-17-1 in games Burrow has started since he entered the league in 2020.

Chargers announce Kellen Moore as their new offensive coordinator

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Kellen Moore has officially landed a new job.

Word on Monday was that Moore would be hired as the Chargers’ new offensive coordinator and the team officially announced their agreement with Moore on Monday afternoon. Moore parted ways with the Cowboys on Sunday after four years as their offensive coordinator.

The Cowboys finished in the top six in points scored in three of Moore’s four seasons — the outlier was when Dak Prescott broke his ankle in 2020 — and they finished fourth during the 2022 season.

The Chargers slipped from 474 points scored in 2021 to 391 this season and they finished 30th in the league in rushing yards. The inability to take a step forward offensively with Justin Herbert at quarterback led to Joe Lombardi’s firing after the playoff loss to the Jaguars and Moore will be charged with amping things up right off the bat in Los Angeles.

NFL sets 2023 salary cap at $224.8 million

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The offseason is underway for 30 of the NFL’s 32 teams and they now know the salary cap they’ll be working with in 2023.

The NFL informed teams that the cap will be set at $224.8 million for next season.

That’s up from $208.2 million for the current season and reflects the uptick in revenue that the league will enjoy from new broadcasting deals that kick in during the 2023 season. It also shows that the league has rebounded well from the drop to a $182.5 million salary cap in 2021 due to the impact of COVID on attendance and other revenues.

With the cap set, teams can now use that figure as they make decisions about contract options, roster bonuses and extensions. Franchise tags can be applied starting on February 21 and the new league year begins on March 15.

Report: Chargers are expected to hire Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator

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It looks like former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore won’t be out of a job long.

Shortly after word of Moore’s departure broke on Sunday, there was word that the Chargers planned to speak with him about their offensive coordinator vacancy. A report on Monday indicates things have moved beyond a conversation.

NFL Media now reports that the Chargers are expected to hire Moore to run their offense. He will replace Joe Lombardi, who was fired after the Chargers lost to the Jaguars in the playoffs this month, and the hope in L.A. will be that his arrival results in bigger and better things from a unit that was not productive enough despite the presence of quarterback Justin Herbert.

Moore will get a chance to catch up with the Cowboys next season as Dallas will make a visit to SoFi Stadium during the regular season.

Cardinals request interview with Lou Anarumo

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One of the popular questions that’s come up in this year’s coaching cycle has been, “Why hasn’t Lou Anarumo received an interview request?”

Monday morning has brought news that the inquiry no longer applies.

The Cardinals have put in a request to interview Anarumo, Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator, for their head coaching vacancy, according to Peter Schrager of NFL Media and FOX Sports.

Anarumo, 56, has been the Bengals defensive coordinator since Zac Taylor took over as the team’s head coach in 2019.

Cincinnati finished No. 16 in yards allowed in 2022 but No. 6 in points allowed. But Anarumo’s game plans and adjustments have been notable for how they’ve frustrated and limited top quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen over the last couple of years.

Arizona hired General Manager Monti Ossenfort earlier this month but is still looking for its next head coach. Sean Payton and Brian Flores are still thought of as being in the mix. But by requesting to interview Anarumo, the club clearly feels there’s more due diligence to be done.

Joe Burrow: This one hurts, but we will come back stronger

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On third-and-8 with 44 seconds left in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked by Chris Jones.

It would be Burrow’s last play, as Kansas City squibbed the kickoff following Harrison Butker’s game-winning 45-yard field goal that sailed through the uprights with three seconds on the clock.

Burrow finished the game 26-of-41 passing for 270 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions. It was the first time Burrow had thrown multiple interceptions in a postseason game.

But Burrow also made some incredible, timely throws — like the 27-yard touchdown to Tee Higgins, the 35-yard pass to Ja’Marr Chase on fourth-and-6, and the 23-yard pass to Hayden Hurst on third-and-16 with 1:03 on the clock.

Even as Burrow and the Bengals won’t head to the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year, the quarterback said postgame that he’s encouraged the future.

“Even last year, the expectation was to always be in this game and to win it,” Burrow said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “I think we have the guys in that room, going forward, that will put us in that position, along with the front office and the coaching staff.

“I feel very good about the direction that we’re headed in. We’ve been in this game for two straight years. We have won one and lost one. Obviously, this one hurts but we will come back stronger.”

Three years into his career, Burrow has undoubtedly positioned himself as one of the league’s top quarterbacks. Cincinnati picking up his fifth-year option in the spring will be nothing but a formality. But Burrow is also now eligible for a contract extension and arguably should become one of the highest-paid players in league history before the 2023 season begins.

FMIA Conference Championships: Eagles rout Niners, Chiefs outlast Bengals to set Super Bowl LVII stage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — How is he doing this? High-ankle sprains are six-week injuries, or something like that. And Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked fairly fine through 36 minutes Sunday in the AFC Championship Game—not running with abandon, but when he had to, Mahomes could get out of harm’s way and do Mahomes things.Nine [more]

Key play included a missed holding penalty by Orlando Brown

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The late hit that gave the Chiefs 15 extra yards and a 45-yard game-winning field goal try came at the end of a play that began with something that has happened over and over in 2022.

Offensive holding. Not called.

Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown clearly held Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson. No flag was thrown.

It happens too often to be brushed off as gross incompetence. Between consistent failures to call holding and a rash of tackles starting into their pass-block set a split second before the snap without being called for illegal procedure, officials are making it easier for quarterbacks to operate by balancing out the simple fact that, currently, defensive linemen are bigger, faster, and/or stronger than the men trying to stop them from hitting the quarterback.

Remember the outcry over roughing the passer from October? NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent candidly admitted that the officials overprotect quarterbacks because, without healthy quarterbacks, the games stink.

So, in addition to calling ticky-tack roughing penalties when quarterbacks get hit, the officials are looking the other way far too often on tactics that help keep quarterbacks from getting hit.

It’s why Joey Bosa blew a gasket two weeks ago. It happens over and over again.

In this instance, it should have been called.

In two weeks, Andy Reid faces the team that fired him 10 years ago

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Of the final four NFL teams, any combination would have been a great one in the Super Bowl.

This one may be the best.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid will be facing the team that fired him a decade ago, after 14 seasons as head coach of the Eagles. He quickly landed in Kansas City, and now he’ll go for his second Super Bowl win as the Eagles try to do the same thing.

It’s also the fourth career Super Bowl for Reid. He’s 1-3 in those games.

A win in Arizona over the Eagles would surely be the sweetest one yet for Reid, who will likely have several more chances with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback — and with an organization that constantly puts high-end talent around him.

The Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl after 23-20 win over Bengals

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The Chiefs are heading to the Super Bowl after a 45-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with three seconds left to play at Arrowhead Stadium.

Butker’s field goal came after a penalty that will live in infamy in Cincinnati. Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai was flagged for hitting Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes out of bounds at the end of a scramble. The 15-yard penalty came with eight seconds left on the clock and Butker’s kick made the Chiefs 23-20 winners

It’s the third Super Bowl trip in the last four seasons for the Chiefs and they’ll be facing head coach Andy Reid’s former team after the Eagles beat the 49ers earlier on Sunday. The game also sets up a matchup of brothers between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce.

The Chiefs’ game-winning drive was set up by an excellent punt return by Skyy Moore. Chris Jones‘ second sack of the game forced a Bengals punt and Moore returned the ball 29 yards to give the Chiefs the ball near midfield. A short pass to Isiah Pacheco got them into Bengals territory and Mahomes’ scramble would have bought them at least one more play even without Ossai’s penalty.

Mahomes’ run came after a week spent wondering how he’d fare after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs’ win over the Jaguars. He finished 29-of-43 for 326 yards and two touchdowns, so it is safe to say that there wasn’t much of a negative impact even before his crucial run.

The Chiefs were also down a number of receivers. Justin Watson was inactive and Kadarius Toney, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mecole Hardman all left the game with injuries. Kansas City persevered without them and the Jones-led defense made plays when they had to in order to get their team back into the Super Bowl.

Joe Burrow took a little time to get going, but ended the game 26-of-41 for 270 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Chiefs weren’t able to turn those turnovers into points, but the lack of points came back to haunt the Bengals on a night when they needed to be just a little bit cleaner across the board.

That will be something for them to work on this offseason while the Chiefs will get their chance at the third Super Bowl title in franchise history.