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Source: Jets to keep DE Anderson on 3-year deal

Spurned earlier in the day by linebacker Anthony Barr, the New York Jets addressed their front seven by agreeing Tuesday with their top free agent, Henry Anderson, on a three-year, $25.2 million deal, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

The New York Daily News was first to report the news.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Barr had told the Jets he intended to sign with them but changed his mind and informed the Vikings that he would be returning to Minnesota, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

Anderson, 27, was one of the biggest surprises last season for the Jets, tying for the team lead with a career-high seven sacks. He made $1.9 million in the final year of his rookie contract.12

The Jets acquired Anderson on draft day, sending a seventh-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts because they wanted a veteran presence on the defensive line after releasing Muhammad Wilkerson. They never imagined he’d record more than twice as many sacks as he did in three seasons with the Colts; he had only three from 2015 to 2017.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Initially, Anderson was used by the Jets primarily on passing downs, which he felt contributed to his improved production. That enabled him to stay fresh throughout games. He saw an uptick in playing time over the second half of the season and wound up playing 60 percent of the defensive snaps for the year, second among the Jets’ defensive linemen.

Anderson, a third-round pick of the Colts in 2015, was traded because he didn’t fit their new 4-3 front. It made for a taxing offseason. He dropped 30 pounds before the trade with the hope of improving his viability in a 4-3 front. When he went to the Jets, who played a 3-4 base, he regained the weight so he could hold up against double-team blocks.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 301 pounds, Anderson also has a knack for blocking field goals and extra points. He became the first Jets player since 1997 to block kicks in back-to-back games.

10

DE Bennett calls Belichick the ‘Yoda of football’

Michael Bennett will soon be a New England Patriot. After the initial shock wore off, Bennett said he is looking forward to this next chapter.

“I’m excited about it,” Bennett said Monday during an appearance at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.

Bennett, who was scheduled to take a physical with the Patriots in Boston on Tuesday, said he looked forward to being coached by Bill Belichick and playing on a team led by Tom Brady.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“From a football perspective there’s a respect for Belichick,” Bennett said. “I consider him the Yoda of football when it comes to the ins and outs of what’s happening around how to prepare for a game.”10

As for leaving the Eagles after a season and joining what many fans consider the NFL’s Evil Empire, Bennett said he embraces the change.

“The Patriots are a team that people love to hate because they always win,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from that and be in that environment is good.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Bennett said the trade to New England initially surprised him. He was one of a core of NFL players who followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead beginning in 2016 and protested during the playing of the national anthem.

The protest agitated many fans and drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who condemned the protesting players and suggested they should be fired.

Belichick and Brady are enthusiastic supporters of the president. In meetings with Patriots executives, Bennett said he would continue to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem.

“I explained to them that my integrity means everything,” Bennett said. “I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.”

He added: “The Patriots have been trying to trade for me for two years. Last year they tried to get me, the year before they tried to get me.”

12

Michael Bennett’s arrival shouldn’t close door on Trey Flowers

Defensive end Michael Bennett is in, so does that mean Trey Flowers is out?

This was one of the first, and most obvious, questions that resulted from the New England Patriots’ agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday to acquire Bennett and a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Bennett’s arrival shouldn’t automatically close the door on Flowers’ return — it’s more likely to affect Adrian Clayborn’s return for a second season — as it’s a trade the Patriots would have made regardless of Flowers’ free-agent status.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Flowers has proven to be a versatile chess piece along the line of scrimmage in the Patriots’ multiple scheme, aligning everywhere from outside the tackle to over the center. Off the field, he would be a leading candidate to be a team captain if he returns in 2019.12

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound Bennett might be able to do some of the same things as Flowers, but it’s notable that most defenses he has been part of over his 10-year career have played a notably different style. The Buccaneers, Seahawks and Eagles have primarily been 4-3 units, and seldom altered their looks — or what techniques they asked their linemen to execute — as frequently as New England does.

Because of this, many defensive linemen who play in New England have relayed that it takes a certain selflessness to thrive in the scheme.

Flowers has proven to be an ideal fit, and that’s why it’s hard to imagine the Patriots simply letting him walk out the door without an earnest attempt to retain him. The team still has the salary-cap space to do so after acquiring Bennett, while also leaving itself room to make other necessary moves.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

But should Flowers’ market expand to a point that the Patriots aren’t comfortable going — similar to what unfolded last offseason with offensive tackle Nate Solder and the New York Giants — Bennett’s arrival would at least soften the blow.

11

Olivier Vernon trade signals another Giants move is coming

The Giants were toeing the line with Vernon. He had a big contract (counting $19.5 million against the salary cap this season) and an injury history in recent years. But he was still the team’s best pass-rusher, by a wide margin. The plan, according to a source close to the team, was to move Vernon only if they could find a suitable replacement.

That would indicate something is in the works either via free agency or trade. Vernon is gone, and now we’re left to wait for the other shoe to drop.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

One intriguing name on the trade market that would fill their desire to replace Vernon with a top pass-rusher is Kansas City’s Dee Ford. He is probably a better fit in the Giants’ 3-4 defense than the 4-3 defense Steve Spagnuolo is bringing to the Chiefs.

In free agency, there are players such as Baltimore’s Za’Darius Smith and Washington’s Preston Smith near the top of the list. Za’Darius Smith had 8.5 sacks in 2018 and would be a natural fit with the Giants. Markus Golden, with his familiarity with Giants coordinator James Bettcher’s defense, is also a strong possibility.11

As currently constituted, the Giants’ cupboard is bare. Vernon will officially be traded next week and Connor Barwin was released last month. That leaves Lorenzo Carter, Kareem Martin and Avery Moss as the team’s only edge rushers. Carter flashed some promise as a rookie and Martin isn’t known for his pass-rushing skills. Moss spent the season on the practice squad.

The Giants can’t wait until the draft to address these gaping holes, no matter how strong and deep it is in pass-rushers. They are going to make a significant move either via trade or free agency in the next week or so.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Legal tampering begins on Monday. Teams can officially start signing players at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The trade for Vernon makes sense for both parties. The Browns upgraded on the edge and the Giants added a right guard. Jamon Brown filled in admirably at that spot in the second half of the season, but Zeitler is at a different level.

12

Combine is huge for biggest names on NFL’s top-ranked defense

General manager Eric DeCosta estimated half of his week at the combine will be devoted to talking to agents, including those who represent middle linebacker C.J. Mosley, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Eric Weddle.

Mosley and Suggs are unrestricted free agents for the first time in their careers, and Smith and Weddle are potential salary-cap cuts. They have combined for 17 Pro Bowls in their careers, totaled 3,059 snaps last season and built reputations for being core leaders for a defense that became the second in team history to finish atop the league in fewest yards allowed.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Historically, we’ve been a team that’s been built on defense,” DeCosta said. “We take pride in that. I think our fan base takes pride in that. We always want to be the strongest defense we can be, understanding that the salary cap does place parameters on us that aren’t always easy to work with, to keep all your best players. We live in a salary-cap age, so we’ve got to find the right combination of players that we can keep [and] the right combination of players that we can bring back.”

DeCosta expressed a desire to keep Mosley and Suggs. He was not as effusive when addressing Weddle and Smith.12

Mosley, 26, was the Ravens’ leading tackler last season and is Baltimore’s highest-profile free agent this offseason. He is one of two players to record at least 500 tackles, eight sacks and eight interceptions since he entered the NFL in 2014 (Carolina’s Luke Kuechly is the other).

“C.J. is a critical part of our team, a big part of our defense,” DeCosta said. “We hope that we can bring him back next week. We have expectations that we’ll have some progress this week.”

Suggs, 36, is one of the most accomplished pass-rushers in NFL history, ranking first among active players with 132.5 sacks and tying Lawrence Taylor and Leslie O’Neal for 13th all time. The big question is how much does Suggs have left. His 34 total tackles were his fewest in a full season since his 2003 rookie campaign, and he managed 1.5 sacks in his final 10 games last season (including the playoff loss to the Chargers).cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I think ‘Sizz’ is definitely a guy we want back,” DeCosta said. “He’s a guy that means a lot to our franchise, as a player, but also as a leader. I would love to have him back next year.”

11

Why Bills should consider trading sacks leader Jerry Hughes

The Buffalo Bills will be under pressure over the upcoming two months to improve what was the 30th-ranked offense in 2018 and put pieces around second-year quarterback Josh Allen, whose late-season play fueled optimism about his future.

Yet as the Bills approach the start of free agency in March with $79 million in cap space and April’s draft with the No. 9 overall pick, some of the team’s most important decisions involve the defensive line.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

This NFL offseason is a prime opportunity for teams to reshape their defensive lines. Of the 32 picks in ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft, 13 are either defensive linemen or edge rushers — including the first five players off the board. Defensive linemen, especially pass-rushers, dominate the top of ESPN’s top 50 free agents.11

Some of those players might not be available to the Bills because of the franchise tag (in the case of free agents) or because they are drafted ahead of where Buffalo selects in the first round. But the Bills should not avoid adding to their defensive line in free agency or the draft simply because they have more pressing needs on offense.

The Bills’ defensive line is in a state of flux. Stalwart defensive tackle Kyle Williams retired at the end of this past season, and rotational backup Jordan Phillips will become an unrestricted free agent March 13. Defensive end Jerry Hughes’ contract expires after the 2019 season, as does that of fellow end Shaq Lawson.

How the Bills handle Hughes, 30, will be particularly important. The former first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2010 was traded to Buffalo in 2013 and has played in all 96 games since, making 80 starts. He is Buffalo’s longest-tenured player following Williams’ retirement.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Statistically, Hughes’ production has tapered off since he posted back-to-back 10-sack seasons in 2013 and 2014. However, his impact was still felt with a team-high seven sacks in 2018, including three forced fumbles that matched his career high. Pro Football Focus graded Hughes as the NFL’s seventh-best edge defender last season and the best player on Buffalo’s roster.

12

Bills release tight end Charles Clay

The Buffalo Bills have released tight end Charles Clay, the team announced Friday.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Clay, 30, was scheduled to count $9 million against the Bills’ salary cap in the final season of a five-year, $38 million contract. He finished last season with a career-low 184 receiving yards while averaging a career-low 8.8 yards per catch. Despite playing in 13 games and making 12 starts, his 21 catches were his fewest since 2012.12

Former Bills general manager Doug Whaley made signing the transition-tagged Clay away from the division-rival Miami Dolphins one of his signature moves of the 2015 offseason. The Bills guaranteed $24.5 million of Clay’s deal, but his production in Buffalo never matched what remain his two best seasons — for Miami in 2013 and 2014.

Clay’s most recent touchdown came in Week 3 of the 2017 season. He surpassed 30 receiving yards in only two games during the 2018 season and was made a healthy scratch for a Week 16 contest at New England.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

In eight NFL seasons, Clay has caught 339 passes for 3,631 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also rushed for a score in 2013.

11

Cohen says Trump inflated his wealth in Bills bid

Michael Cohen said during his congressional testimony Wednesday that Donald Trump grossly overstated his wealth before becoming president, including inflating his assets during a failed bid to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

The claim raises questions about whether Trump could face even more legal trouble if, as Cohen said, he misrepresented his worth in applying for a loan to buy the NFL team.

Experts said a criminal case against Trump appears unlikely for several reasons. But Cohen’s latest assertions could affect the court of public opinion at a time when lawmakers are discussing the possibility of impeachment.

Trump was one of three known finalists in the bid to purchase the Bills in the summer of 2014 following the death of franchise founder and Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson. He lost out to the owners of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, Terry and Kim Pegula, who purchased the Bills for $1.4 billion. The third group was led by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Cohen, once Trump’s lawyer and one of his closest advisers before he pleaded guilty to tax crimes, fraud, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations, testified for hours Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee.11

As part of the effort to buy the Bills, Cohen said, Trump gave financial statements to Deutsche Bank in hopes of getting a loan.

The documents, which Cohen provided to the committee, said Trump’s net worth was $4.55 billion in 2012 and soared to $8.66 billion in 2013 because of the addition of a line item for $4 billion worth of “brand value” — essentially the value Trump placed on his name.

Cohen told lawmakers Trump inflated his wealth “when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes,” even as he deflated assets to reduce his real estate taxes.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

He didn’t go into specifics as to how the financial statements provided to Deutsche Bank were inaccurate or offer evidence backing his assertion they were inflated.

Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor, said Cohen is accusing Trump of a crime similar to mortgage fraud, a common offense in which a homebuyer lies about his assets to get a loan.

“What he is laying out is something that is not only criminal but the type of behavior that authorities investigate and prosecute every day,” Levin said. “It’s a bread-and-butter offense.”

If what Cohen said is true, he added, the president could be charged under federal law for wire and mail fraud or under New York state law for what is called “causing a false filing.” Such cases usually involve instances where the borrower gets the loan, but that isn’t required for all prosecutions.

12

Steelers GM says team will not use tag on Le’Veon Bell

Leading up to Colbert’s announcement, the value of a transition tag for Bell and how the Steelers might apply it were up for debate. Though Colbert said Bell’s tag would have been $14.5 million, which was the NFLPA’s number, the Steelers and the NFL considered arguing the number should be closer to $9.5 million because Bell sat out, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That point is now moot.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

If the Steelers tried to execute a sign-and-trade off the transition tag — matching another team’s offer sheet and then dealing him — the NFLPA would likely argue the team was breaking the spirit of the tag and the CBA, according to a source.

Colbert also said the Steelers will not offer a discount in a trade to get rid of disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown. The GM said no relationship is irreparable, so if the team can’t find good value for him, keeping Brown might be an option.12

“We’re all disappointed we’re at this point. How things transpired, we’re all disappointed,” Colbert said. “Respectfully, we did agree [that looking] into a trade would probably be the best course of action for both sides. …. By no means are we going to make a trade or any type of move that will not be beneficial to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. We will not be discounting you on the trade market and we will not release you.”

He added that the Steelers have not had any active trade talks about Brown with other teams to this point. Colbert said that Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus will be involved but “we will control this.”

Team president Art Rooney II spent 20-to-30 minutes with Brown in South Florida on Tuesday to discuss Brown’s situation, Colbert said.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

As for what went wrong with Brown, Colbert deferred to Rooney’s discussion but pointed out on two different occasions that Brown is a “highly emotional” player, which is good “98 percent” of the time.

“We know we have a significant player. We know it’s probably best to move on,” Colbert said. “But we’ll also know we’ll only do that if it benefits us.”

11

Steelers GM: Ben Roethlisberger ‘unquestioned leader’ of locker room

The Pittsburgh Steelers are unquestionably quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s team, according to general manager Kevin Colbert.

Colbert called Roethlisberger the “unquestioned leader” of the locker room who has the freedom to publicly criticize teammates if he sees fit.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

After a Week 12 loss to Denver, Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show that Antonio Brown — who’s now on the trading block — should have run a flatter route at the goal line. He added he wished he had thrown to JuJu Smith-Schuster instead.

Privately, Brown took exception to that. And publicly, Brown tweeted Saturday that Roethlisberger had an “owner mentality” because of his willingness to call out players and coaches.11

Roethlisberger says his role as a team captain and 15-year veteran gives him credibility to criticize when warranted but that he won’t abuse that privilege and criticizes himself as well.

Colbert points out Roethlisberger is the only Steeler left from the Super Bowl XLIII team.

“I honestly believe that that can be a burden on him more often than he may like to admit, because he has to … he’s got 52 kids under him quite honestly,” Colbert said.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I want them to step up and say, ‘Hey Ben, what do I have to do? Can I do this better? What do we have to do to win a Super Bowl?’ I think that once you win it, you’ve got 53 guys who can say what it took. Right now, he’s the only one, so I have no problem with him. He can call me out and that’s fine. What he does, I totally respect because I see him too many times win games for us and come through in situations.”

The Steelers are working on a contract extension for Roethlisberger, whose deal expires after the 2019 season and who led the NFL in passing yards in 2018 with 5,129. He also logged a career-high 34 touchdowns.

Colbert cited Roethlisberger’s fiery halftime speech in a come-from-behind win in Jacksonville last season as an example of Roethlisberger’s leadership.