For the Kansas City Chiefs, their faithful and coach Andy Reid, this offseason has seen the departure of three veteran defensive stalwarts: pass rusher Justin Houston (released and signed by the Colts), pass rusher Dee Ford (traded to the 49ers) and safety Eric Berry (released and still looking).
It’s a harsh reality that Reid isn’t overjoyed with, but realizes is the nature of the game.
”That’s the name of this game right now,” Reid told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche on Saturday in a one-on-one sitdown. “I mean, the NFL now ... it’s hard to hold on to players for as long as you’d like to. I mean these are three of my favorite guys and good football players who can still do this thing.
With Gronk stepping away, the mantle of best tight end in the NFL likely will fall to either Chiefs star Travis Kelce or George Kittle.
After a decent rookie season in 2017, Kittle cemented himself as an All-Pro tight end in 2018. The 25-year-old caught 88 passes for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns in last season while breaking Gronkowski and later Kelce’s record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a season.
While Kelce and Eagles tight end Zach Ertz will continue to be in the conversation for best tight end along with Kittle, the 49ers star appears primed to take the mantle from Gronk and become the premier tight end in the NFL.
Rooney weighs in on other potential rule changes
NFL owners will vote on 16 potential rule changes at their meetings next week, ranging from expanding defenseless players’ protections to automatic reviews on goal line plays, and Rooney did tip his hand on a few others.
Rooney is in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs’ proposal to allow both teams to have a possession in overtime, although he was not in favor of adding an eighth official to the field.
After bringing in a few safeties for visits in free agency, the Cowboys finally signed one when they reached a one-year deal with George Iloka. The natural reaction was that the Cowboys have now signed their safety, and any new additions at the position would come from the draft. But is that necessarily so?
The Iloka signing does not preclude the Cowboys from pursuing Eric Berry if they think his health is worth the risk. It may just be about what kind of contract Berry would sign. The fact is that a healthy Berry is better than any safety on the Cowboys roster.
Cleveland Browns: Sign Eric Berry
One candidate for his services should be the Cleveland Browns, who have former Chiefs general manager John Dorsey in the same role. The Browns are one of five teams with less than $20 million in cap space in 2020, not including two years’ worth of rookie contracts. Berry and Dorsey would probably have to reunite on a one-year deal, but that fits both of their motives. Berry should want to sign a multiyear free-agent deal in 2020 after improving his stock, and Dorsey is clearly in win-now mode with how he has built Cleveland’s roster.
Around the league
General manager Kevin Colbert said from the NFL owners meetings that talks with Roethlisberger are “still ongoing.” Roethlisberger turned 37 on March 2 and has one year left on his current contract.
”It’s probably his last contract as an NFL player, so it’s significant. It’s significant for us,” said Colbert about the status of a new deal. “We’re in a different dynamic from a financial standpoint as far as the cap because we don’t have a couple of players with us before. So we have to make sure it all makes sense. It has to make sense for both sides, and we’re comfortable at some point we hope it does.”
“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today,” Gronkowski wrote. “I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriotsorganization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine.
“In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks. To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks. I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.
”Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years. As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson underwent foot surgery on a nagging ailment and will be hobbled in Arizona for the NFL Annual Meetings this week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed.
There’s no timetable, but Pederson should be ready for the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Tahoe in July, Rapoport added.
A week after releasing AJ McCarron, who was acquired for a fifth-round draft pick in 2018, Oakland announced Friday that it has signed former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter Mike Glennon.
“This isn’t a joke,” Eugene Monroe, former offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, told Yahoo Finance. “This is men’s lives that you have decision to make a huge impact on. There are players suffering.”
“It’s a well known fact that NFL players experience a high degree of pain,” Monroe said. “We also see synonymous with that fact, a higher usage of opioid drugs. Our goal is really to use this as an example, to use this as the beacon to say, ‘Hey this is a population of people who are experiencing a great benefit of using this drug for their pain relief for their insomnia, for their stress, for all of these things that there are millions of people around the world that are fighting for.’”
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Sherman, 30, is being signed to a one-year contract that will return him to the team for his ninth NFL season — seven of them with the Chiefs. He is the first Chiefs free agent to be resigned by the team.
How he fits in KC: How does a receiver that averaged 20 yards per catch and scored 11 touchdowns in his final season get little buzz by the end of his final season? McLaurin wasn’t looked at as more than a potential special-teams ace mere months ago, but his ascension through the draft process has positioned him to potential day-two consideration.
Now we’re on to the “Elite Eight” and need YOUR votes. You have until Tuesday, March 26 at Midnight Arrowhead Time to vote.
As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the Chiefs have a couple of proposals in the works. One of them is about overtime rules, and has three parts:
The Chiefs have proposed that overtime be eliminated from preseason games, which makes perfect sense; there’s little reason for meaningless preseason games to be extended because they are tied at the end of regulation.
The Chiefs have also proposed that the coin flip be eliminated from overtime. Instead, the team that won the opening toss would have the same options they do at the beginning of the game: to decide whether they will kick or receive. The other team would then chose which goal to defend.
But third part of the Chiefs proposal will only make sense if the second part is also adopted: in overtime, each team will be guaranteed at least one possession of the ball. The Chiefs have also proposed allowing coaches to challenge personal fouls without regard to whether they were called on the field. Several teams have proposed similar rules that would apply to other player safety fouls.
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