The Patriots released tight end Martellus Bennett on Wednesday.
Bennett was due a $2 million roster bonus next week. His release will save New England about $6 million in salary cap space.
Bennett joined New England in November of last season after being released by Green Bay for "failing to disclose a physical condition."
He started seven games for the Packers in 2017 after signing a three-year Cordarrelle Patterson Jersey , $21 million contract as a free agent. Following his release, Bennett appeared in two games for the Patriots before being placed on injured reserve with hamstring and shoulder issues.
In 2016, Bennett caught 55 passes for 701 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns on his way to earning a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots.
Tennessee wide receiver Rishard Matthews has been in the NFL the past six seasons, and now the veteran is hoping his experience learning other offenses will help him get up to speed very quickly with the Titans' newest scheme.
Matthews missed the Titans' organized team activities, mandatory minicamp in June, training camp and first three preseason games with an undisclosed injury. He passed his physical Sunday and was removed from the physically unable to perform list then practiced Monday.
That left the receiver watching teammates practice Alan Page Jersey , trying to learn new coordinator Matt LaFleur's offense in meetings and walk-throughs without taking a single snap.
Now the 6-foot receiver who led Tennessee with 1,740 yards receiving over the past two seasons can take part in an offense that has him very excited.
"This is the longest I've been out of football," Matthews said before practice. "It's tough watching, but as far as the offense I'm really excited. I think the sky's the limit for our group. We have a bunch of talented young players. I think Coach LaFleur has explained that a lot of people will be moving around, and people aren't going to be able to get a beat on us so easy, so that's also exciting."
That's a big change from last December when Matthews argued for the Titans to use a no-huddle or quick-tempo offense to give quarterback Marcus Mariota more freedom with the team mired in a three-game skid that cost Tennessee the AFC South title. He also said then that the Titans needed more creativity on offense and work more to create better matchups.
The Titans fired coach Mike Mularkey after the season ended in January and hired first-time head coach Mike Vrabel. He brought in LaFleur patrick mahomes authentic jersey , who also had interviewed for the head coaching job.
With new coaches and a new offense, Matthews found himself struggling with an undisclosed injury that he said was not related to an injured hamstring that cost him two games last season. He watched the offseason program from April into mid-June and started training camp on the physically unable to perform list. The Titans weren't too concerned about Matthews' return, signing him to an extension through 2019 last week.
Vrabel has been impressed by what he's seen of the receiver who ranks second on the Titans only to three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker with 118 catches over the past two seasons. Vrabel called Matthews' attitude "great" and a good reminder to younger players how to be professional at working hard to get back into the lineup. The coach also likes how Matthews plays.
"There's a toughness to it. There's a grit to it," Vrabel said. "I think Rishard would tell you that he's not the fastest, not the biggest, not the quickest Tim Williams Jersey , but at the end of the day, there's a lot of production, and there's some consistency there which is really valued."
Matthews, who started his NFL career with four seasons in Miami, has started 20 of his 30 games since signing with Tennessee in March 2016. He ranks ninth in the NFL averaging 14.7 yards per catch among players with at least 100 catches over the past two seasons.
He's also the key veteran in a very young receiving group. Corey Davis is expected to be the No. 1 receiver after being the fifth player drafted in 2017, but is still looking for his first touchdown catch in the regular season. Taywan Taylor is going into his second season Taron Johnson Jersey , and Tajae Sharpe spent his second season on injured reserve last year.
"I'm just thankful to be back now," Matthews said.
NOTES: LB Brian Orakpo, Walker and rookie LB Rashaan Evans all returned to practice Monday. Orakpo originally hurt a shoulder July 27, and Walker was hurt Aug. 16 in a joint practice with Tampa Bay. Evans returned to practice last week but left early. "It's good to see those guys back out there and working and just fresh faces," Vrabel said.
Follow Teresa M. Walker at teresamwalker
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The Detroit Lions have spent a lot of time and money trying to improve their offensive line.
Frank Ragnow represents the latest investment.
"It starts up front Jarran Reed Jersey ," Lions general manager Bob Quinn said. "That's kind of what we believe in."
Detroit drafted the Arkansas center with the No. 20 overall pick Thursday night, hoping he can boost their lackluster running game and keep franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford upright more often.
"Those are two things he's paid to do and he does both of them equally well," Quinn said. "He played his best games against the best defenses."
The Lions ranked last in the NFL last year in rushing offense and have been among the league's worst on the ground offensively in recent seasons. Their one-dimensional offense and banged-up line led to Stafford being sacked 47 times last season.
Ragnow will have a chance to start as a rookie, likely next to guards T.J. Lang and Graham Glasgow if he plays center. He may also play guard, giving Detroit an option of playing Glasgow at center.
"He's a guy who can help us most the quickest," Quinn said.
Quinn has used the draft and free agency to bolster the offensive line, using his first pick as a general manager two years ago to take Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker No. 16 overall and Glasgow two rounds later. Last year in free agency, Quinn spent big to sign Lang and Ricky Wagner.
And now Brooks Reed Jersey , Quinn has committed to bolster the line even more by using a first-round pick on a center and choosing to address needs on the defensive line later in the draft or free agency.
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Ragnow is a big and powerful lineman, who ended his 42-game career without giving up a sack. He had a season-ending ankle injury last year, limiting him to seven games.
"The rehab process went way smoother than I expected," said Ragnow, adding his ankle is healthy. "It was a very routine surgery."
The Minnesota native played in nine games as a freshman in 2014 and became a full-time starter at right guard as a sophomore. He moved to center as a junior and thought entering NFL draft after grading out as the top offensive lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus.
Ragnow chose to stay in college and was a second-team preseason All-America player, but injury stunted his shot at winning awards. His father, Jon Jordan Poyer Jersey , died of a heart attack during the 2016 football season.
"He was my best friend," he said. "He was my biggest fan. Especially right now, it's bittersweet. I'm just going to keep trying to make him proud."
Despite the loss, he continued to play and was stopped after a game by Alabama coach Nick Saban, who lost his father to a heart attack while in graduate school.
"Embrace the memories and the good times that he had with his father because that will be something he can keep with him forever," Saban recalled telling Ragnow.
The Lions have second- and third-round picks Friday along with slots in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds on Saturday. They went into the draft without a sixth-round selection, giving it up last year to acquire offensive tackle Greg Robinson from the Los Angeles Rams. Robinson started six games for the Lions Alex McGough Jersey , who released him in November.
The Lions had relative success a year ago in the draft, getting contributions from seven players it selected.
Detroit won three of their first four games last season and had a 6-4 record, but had setbacks in three of five games to fall out of the playoff picture and the late-season slide cost coach Jim Caldwell his job. Quinn hired Matt Patricia to lead an NFL team for the first time, reuniting with a coach he worked alongside with the New England Patriots for a dozen years.
The Cowboys will have former Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough among their roster cuts today, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Scarbrough, a seventh-round pick, had 24 carries for 69 yards — a 2.9 yards per carry average — and a touchdown during the preseason.
Scarbrough fell behind even Darius Jackson on the depth chart, but Jackson didn’t make the roster either Anthony Averett Jersey , per Todd Archer of ESPN. Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith are the team’s running backs, and the Cowboys also will use receiver Tavon Austin in the backfield.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys also have informed defensive end Charles Tapper, a fourth-round pick in 2016, of his release.
The newspaper also has safety Jeron Johnson, cornerback Marquez White and receiver Lance Lenoir among the team’s cuts.
White was a sixth-round choice in 2016.
Tapper and Lenoir are among the players the Cowboys hope to get back on their practice squad.
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With neither the Detroit Red Wings nor the Buffalo Sabres playing postseason hockey next month Michael Pierce Jersey , both teams are focusing on younger players who can help them down the road.
A pair of teams looking to post rare back-to-back wins square off when the Red Wings visit the league-worst Sabres on Thursday night.
Detroit (28-38-11) won for only the second time in 15 games after stunning the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 on Tuesday.
Perhaps the happiest player on the Red Wings was undrafted defenseman Joe Hicketts as he collected two assists for his first NHL points in only his second career game.
“I thought as the game went on, I got better and that’s all I want to do,” said Hicketts, who at 5-foot-8 clearly doesn’t have the size of a prototypical blueliner. “Second period, I kind of knew what I wanted to do. … In the third, I thought I really brought what I wanted to bring.”
Niklas Kronwall, playing in his 869th game — all with the Red Wings — picked up his 400th career point and praised the young player from British Columbia.
“His energy is contagious Kam Chancellor Jersey , and I think that speaks for his character and the person that he is,” the 37-year-old Swede said.
Hicketts could be part of the next Red Wings core of young stars that includes center Dylan Larkin (team-high 56 points), and wingers Anthony Mantha (top goal scorer with 23) and Andreas Athanasiou (31 points).
Detroit, which has lost two of three to Buffalo this season including a 1-0 setback Oct. 24 in Western New York, is out of the playoffs in consecutive campaigns for the first time since 1982 and 1983.
“We’ve worked extremely hard, we’ve competed hard, we’ve actually played good hockey and haven’t won T.J. McDonald Jersey , and that’s been tough,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
Detroit is in position to win two straight for the first time since Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, and there may not be a better opponent to do that against than Buffalo (24-40-12) which is likely headed to a last-place finish in the Atlantic Division for the fourth time in five seasons.
The Sabres snapped a four-game slide Monday with a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs behind two goals from Jack Eichel. The second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft leads Buffalo with 24 goals and 56 points.
Eichel, who missed 15 games earlier this season with an ankle injury, needs two points to set a career high and three assists for 100 in his career.
Thursday’s game will mark the Sabres debut of center Casey Mittelstadt, who was selected eighth overall in last summer’s NHL Draft, and had 30 points (11 goals Frank Clark Jersey , 19 assists) in 34 games with the University of Minnesota this season.
“I’m going to try to approach it like any other game I’ve played,” Mittelstadt told the Buffalo News. “…That’s why I’m here. I’m here to learn, and I’m here to get ready for next season.”
Buffalo will be looking for Mittelstadt to make an immediate impact. The Sabres have been outscored 11-1 in a three-game losing streak at KeyBank Center.
Robin Lehner is 2-1-0 with a 1.63 goals-against average and .951 save percentage for Buffalo versus Detroit this season. However, the eight-year veteran has surrendered eight goals over his last two starts.
The Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard has lost six straight road starts while posting a 3.60 GAA. He is 3-1-1 with a 1.43 GAA all-time in Buffalo.
Backup Jared Coreau is 0-7-2 with a 4.57 GAA in 11 starts since blanking the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 16, 2017. He’s never faced the Sabres.
According to a report last week, Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was expected to skip at least the start of the team’s OTAs as he looks for a contract adjustment that would bump up his take-home pay in 2018.
Jones has indeed been a no-show on the first two days of voluntary practice this week and that led to a question for team owner Arthur Blank at Tuesday’s league meetings in Atlanta.
“It will be fine. It鈥檚 just a process we have to go through,” Blank said Tanoh Kpassagnon Jersey , via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
Jones’ contract calls for a base salary of $10.5 million this year and the five-year pact has an average annual salary of $14.25 million. That currently ranks eighth among wide receivers.
Last week’s report indicated the Falcons are amenable to revisiting Jones’ deal, but it’s not clear whether that will happen if he stays away from the team for the remainder of the offseason program. He would be eligible for fines if he does not take part in the team’s mandatory minicamp next month.
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LeBron James was relaxed John Kuhn Jersey , reflective and even resigned to his fate.
The end of the series, season and maybe his second stint in Cleveland, are near.
The Golden State Warriors have made his eighth straight NBA Finals – and their seasonal rivalry with the Cavaliers – very one-sided.
Still weary and wrestling with emotions after losing Game 3 on Wednesday night, when Kevin Durant scored 43 points and shot the Warriors within one win of their third title in four years, James pointed out Thursday what has become terrifyingly obvious.
The Warriors are at another level. And may be for a while.
”Obviously, from a talent perspective, if you’re looking at Golden State from their top five best players to our top five players, you would say they’re stacked better than us. Let’s just speak truth,” James said before rattling off Golden State’s embarrassment of riches.
”Kevin Durant,” he said. ”You’ve got two guys with MVPs on their team. And then you’ve got a guy in Klay (Thompson) who could easily be on a team and carry a team Jonathan Stewart Jersey , scored 40 in a quarter before. And then you have Draymond (Green), who is arguably one of the best defenders and minds we have in our game. So you have that crew.
”Then you add on a Finals MVP coming off the bench (Andre Iguodala), a No. 1 pick in (Shawn) Livingston and an All-Star in David West and whatever the case may be. So they have a lot of talent.”
Too much, it seems, for these Cavs.
James wasn’t making excuses for Cleveland’s postseason pickle because if not for a reversed official’s call or J.R. Smith’s brain-lock in the closing seconds of regulation in Game 1 or Durant’s brilliance in Game 3, the Cavs could be leading the series.
The three-time champion, though, was being open and honest about the Cavs’ chances to become the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs.
To this point, 131 have tried, and 131 have failed.
”We’ve been in a position where we could win two out of these three games Jimmy Smith Jersey ,” said James, who had 33 points and his 10th Finals triple-double in Game 3. ”So what do we have to do? Do we have to make more shots? Is it we have to have our minds into it a little bit more? Is it if there is a ball on the ground we can’t reach for it but you’ve got to dive for it?”
Those were today’s relevant questions. Tomorrow, they’ll be different ones if the Warriors, who have dealt with adversity all season, sweep the Cavs.
James is headed toward free agency and then where: Los Angeles? Philadelphia? Houston?
Or will he decide it’s too painful to part again with Cleveland, his basketball home for 11 seasons and just up the highway from his actual home in Akron?
The 33-year-old plans to consider everything once the season ends, but he offered some clues about what he’ll consider before making his next move, a decision that will dwarf any other NBA news in July. James also laid out a potential blueprint for the Cavs to follow if they want to keep him.
Bottom line: James needs better, smarter teammates.
No player in the league understands the current climate better than James, who formed a super-team in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and won two NBA titles before returning to Cleveland and joining forces with All-Stars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. The Cavs’ reign lasted only one year Patrick Onwuasor Jersey , destroyed by Durant’s shocking departure from Oklahoma City for the 73-win Warriors, a team he couldn’t beat but was glad to join.
James said his decision to bolt from the Cavs the first time was simple.
”I knew that my talent level here in Cleveland couldn’t succeed getting past a Boston, getting past the San Antonios of the league or whatever the case may be,” he said.
But beyond the talent disparity, James said the key to winning a championship is ”you’ve got to be very cerebral too.”
James then explained what it takes to be the last team standing, and in the process seemed to take a swipe at unnamed current and former teammates.
”So now everyone is trying to figure that out,” he said. ”How do you put together a group of talent but also a group of minds to be able to compete with Golden State, to be able to compete for a championship? That’s what GMs and presidents and certain players, it’s not every player. Every player does not want to – sad to say – but every player doesn’t want to compete for a championship and be in a position where every possession is pressure.”
Months of weight will lifted off him once the Warriors, who haven’t lost four straight games since 2013 Morten Andersen Jersey , are crowned again.
This series has been a painful reminder to James that the great teams have more than one king.
”When you make mistakes they make you pay,” he said, ”because they’re already more talented than you are but they also have the minds behind it, too, and they also have the championship DNA.”
The Dallas Cowboys are feeling more confident that they might have replaced Dez Bryant in free agency, so another day of the NFL draft could come and go without them taking a receiver.
After picking linebacker Leighton Vander Esch of Boise State at No. 19 in the first round, the Cowboys have the 50th overall pick in the second round and the No. 81 overall selection in the third round Friday night.
Executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones says club officials talked extensively before selecting Vander Esch about how comfortable they were with the additions of receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson in free agency.
Jones says the Cowboys "believe there's some receivers, one through seven, that have some unique traits." The final four rounds of the draft are Saturday.
The Cowboys released Bryant as a cost-cutting move earlier this month. The franchise leader in touchdown catches had three sub-par seasons after signing a big contract following an All-Pro year in 2014.
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There were suggestions before the draft that some teams might want Lamar Jackson to play a position other than quarterback at the professional level Bronson Kaufusi Jersey , but there were no indications from the Ravens that they’d be moving him after they took him at the end of the first round.
There’s still no sign that they’d consider moving him permanently, but they appear to be open to something on a temporary basis. They have been experimenting with formations that include both Jackson and starting quarterback Joe Flacco at the same time.
“Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us,” coach John Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once Tahir Whitehead Jersey , what options does it create for our offense? That’s what we’re trying to figure out. …聽Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball. It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they’ve worked hard on that.”
Jackson said it has been fun seeing “what they’re going to come up with next” and time will tell how many of these ideas survive the drawing board to become an actual part of the Baltimore offense during the 2018 season.
The Washington Redskins signed former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson to a five-year deal in the hopes that he provides them the outside speed threat they lacked last season after the departure of DeSean Jackson.
Richardson had 95 catches for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons with the Seahawks after they drafted him in the second round in 2014. He had 44 receptions for 703 yards and six touchdowns last season.
The 25-year-old said he can ”beat guys downfield, take the top off the coverages, challenge people downfield.” He’ll be tasked to do that after his breakout 2017.
”Stretch the offense Sammy Watkins Jersey , stretch the defense,” senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said Thursday.
”When the defense knows that you don’t have the speed, they all come up and just cover you up and make you throw the ball underneath and it kind of kills the offense. Now they’ve got to respect Paul Richardson.”
According to multiple reports, Richardson’s deal is worth $40 million. Richardson joins a Redskins receiving group that also includes Jamison Crowder, 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson and Brian Quick O. J. Simpson Jersey , who was re-signed this week.
The Redskins will look very different in the passing game with recently acquired quarterback Alex Smith replacing Kirk Cousins and receivers Ryan Grant and Terrelle Pryor and tight end Niles Paul gone. Richardson said he looks forward to developing chemistry and trust with Smith.
”I want him to know I’m always available,” Richardson said. ”Just throw it. It don’t matter where it is. I’m going to go get it. And I’m going to turn him into a believer.”
On Thursday, Washington wrapped up a three-year deal with linebacker Zach Brown, who led the league with 127 tackles through Week 15 before his season was cut short by injury.
”We’re glad to have Zach back,” coach Jay Gruden said. ”To have him in his second year in this system is very important. He’ll be a lot more comfortable. To get him back here for another year is important for our defense.”
Washington also signed former Dallas Cowboys punter Sam Irwin-Hill Everson Griffen Jersey , according to a tweet from his agent. The 27-year-old figures to be training camp competition for established punter Tress Way.
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