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Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Career QBR: 52.6

What A League Insider Says: Solid NFL starter. Not high-end, but you can win with him. You can trust him to make sound decisions with the ball. You feel like he has leadership skills. He is quirky, but I think people get his quirks because he can go out there and play.”

Team’s QBs Under Contract: Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, Joel Stave
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This Match: Plausible
The Jets are in better position than most other teams to make a competitive offer with cash flow that would be appealing from Cousins’ perspective. The Jets also have an obvious need and should be motivated to upgrade the position.

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With QB vacancy needing to be filled, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says team ‘close’ to Super Bowl



INDIANAPOLIS — Colts owner Jim Irsay has gone from not having to really worry about the quarterback position for nearly 20 years to now heading into his second straight offseason not knowing who will be the starter in 2021.

“The type of team we have, it would really benefit us most if we could have someone who can come in and play at a high level, with a veteran vision,” Irsay said Wednesday.

The Colts have a young and talented roster led by linebacker Darius Leonard and guard Quenton Nelson, but they have a substantial void at quarterback. Veteran Philip Rivers, 39, led the Colts to the playoffs for just the second time since 2014, but he announced Jan. 20 that he was retiring after 17 seasons.

Rivers’ retirement means the Colts could have their fifth different Week 1 starting quarterback in 2021 after they had Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck basically from 1998 until 2019. Rookie Jacob Eason is the only quarterback currently under contract for the Colts. Jacoby Brissett, who started Week 1 in 2019, is scheduled to be a free agent.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s belief is that a team is not all about the quarterback; it’s about having a complete roster. But there has to be stability at quarterback, as the four teams that reached the NFC and AFC Championship Games — Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Buffalo — all have that.

“Our belief is we’re close, that we have a tremendous nucleus of players that are capable of competing for the Super Bowl very soon,” Irsay said. “Ideally if you can get someone to come in this year who’s ready to go, it gives you your best opportunity.”

The Colts are projected to have around $69 million in salary-cap space, but it’s not really a hot free-agent market at quarterback, as players like Cam Newton and Jameis Winston highlight that group. Ballard didn’t sound optimistic about finding a quarterback at their current position, No. 21, in the first round of the draft either.

The other option is the trade market, where Detroit‘s Matthew Stafford continues to be linked to the Colts as a possible destination.

Irsay acknowledged that the franchise would gladly welcome back Luck, who suddenly retired in August 2019, if he decides to resume his career. The two haven’t discussed a possible return, but the owner did joke that he will continue to look at his fax machine in case the quarterback decided to take a page out of Michael Jordan’s book by sending a message that simply said, “I’m back,” like Jordan following his first retirement from the Chicago Bulls.

“He knows how much we’d love to have him be our quarterback, there’s just no question about that,” Irsay said. “But at the same time, we know for it to work out, he has to be the one that says ‘You know what? I’m ready. I want to really create a little bit of history, in unprecedented aspects.'”

Irsay added, “I don’t know if we’ll see that. I think he’s happy. He’s raising his daughter. He has a wonderful family. He’s a great Colt and he knows that can come back any time he wants, but at the same time, we respect that he’s made that decision.”

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Seattle Seahawks say Chad Wheeler is no longer with team, condemn domestic violence, encourage him ‘to get the help he needs’



SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks say offensive tackle Chad Wheeler is no longer with the team following his arrest on suspicion of felony assault-domestic violence.

The 27-year-old Wheeler is accused of choking his girlfriend until she lost consciousness.

A spokesperson with the King County prosecutor’s office told ESPN that a charging decision is expected to be made by Wednesday afternoon.

The Seahawks released a statement Wednesday that read, in part: “The Seahawks are saddened by the details emerging against Chad Wheeler and strongly condemn this act of domestic violence. Our thoughts and support are with the victim. Chad is a free agent and no longer with the team.”

Wheeler was arrested early Saturday morning after the alleged assault at a residence in the Seattle suburb of Kent.

According to a police report obtained by ESPN, the woman called 911 from inside a locked bathroom and said she was being “killed.” The report states that the woman had fled into the bathroom after Wheeler threw her onto a bed and choked her long enough for her to lose consciousness, at one point removing one hand to press it against her nose and mouth to try to stop her from breathing while continuing to choke her with his other hand.

When the woman regained consciousness, according to the report, Wheeler was standing near the bed and said, “Wow, you’re alive?”

The woman told police that Wheeler suffers from bipolar disorder and has not been taking his medication recently.

“We encourage Chad to get the help he needs,” the Seahawks said in their statement. “If you are experiencing mental health issues, please reach out for help.”

Prosecutors asked for Wheeler to be held on $500,000 bail following his weekend arrest. The judge set bail at $400,000 and ordered Wheeler to have no contact with the woman and to surrender any weapons.

Wheeler appeared in court Monday to determine if there was probable cause to continue holding him in jail. He was released Tuesday morning after posting a $400,000 bail bond.

An NFL spokesperson told ESPN: “The matter is under review of the personal conduct policy.”

Wheeler is scheduled to become a restricted free agent. He would become an unrestricted free agent if the team does not tender him. The Seahawks removed Wheeler from their online roster, which still lists other pending RFAs.

A message to Wheeler’s agent from ESPN has not been returned.

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Washington Football Team’s Jennifer King proud to make history as NFL’s first Black female assistant



When Jennifer King got the news late in the season that she would make history by becoming the NFL’s first Black female assistant coach for Washington next season, she responded by doing what came natural. She went back to work.

Though coach Ron Rivera told her of the pending move before the team’s 2020 season had ended, King was officially announced Tuesday as Washington’s assistant running backs coach for next season.

But although she viewed this as the logical next step, having coached parts of three seasons as an intern, she understands the significance.

“Representation means so much,” King said. “It’s really important right now to be a good representative, what I didn’t have growing up. I didn’t have anyone that looked anything like me working. To be able to see that, I think, is big. It’s super cool to be a part of this.”

However, King said she doesn’t feel like a trailblazer. At least not yet.

“I really think this is something that 10 to 15 years down the road you can look back on and I will feel the magnitude of it,” King said. “I’ve been working with the guys already, so it doesn’t feel a lot different for me.”

The moment has resulted in sporting dignitaries reaching out to King, including a recorded video from tennis great Billie Jean King to offer her congratulations.

“There have been some cool stories of just kids seeing it and little girls wanting to get into football and things like that,” Jennifer King said. “Those are really cool.”

King already made history twice this season. Washington’s playoff loss to Tampa Bay featured the first postseason game in which both teams had female assistants; the Buccaneers had assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar. Earlier in the season, King was part of the NFL’s first game that featured female assistants for both teams — Callie Brownson was Cleveland’s chief of staff — plus female referee Sarah Thomas.

“It’s so important to open the entire pool of applicants when you have a position,” King said. “So far historically in football, it’s only 50% of the people; no women were considered. For future female coaches coming up, this gives them a foot in the door. It’s up to us to do a good job.”

King served as a full-year coaching intern last season, helping with Washington’s running backs. She also worked as an intern for two years under Rivera when he was in Carolina, in 2018 and ’19. King also was an assistant receivers coach for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football.

Rivera has spoken at the women’s coaching forum at the NFL’s scouting combine multiple times. That’s how King first came to his attention.

“It’s so important to have those people reach back,” King said. “They’re realizing that there are females capable of working in football at a high level, and they’re giving them opportunities. It’s that simple. It’s crazy. They’re just realizing that: ‘There are people out there that can help us, and they may not look like everybody else, but I want to give them an opportunity.’ I’m thankful for that, but super thankful for them having an open mind.”

Rivera said she’s earned the opportunity.

“Every time I’ve increased her responsibilities, she stepped up to the plate and has done a great job,” Rivera said. “With this move we’ll see an even more competitive, more outgoing Jennifer King. It’s a heck of an opportunity for her to show what she’s capable of.”

King said she didn’t dream of pursuing this path growing up or while coaching in college. Then, in 2016, she noticed Katie Sowers was a training camp assistant in Atlanta.

King finally got an opening with the Panthers. She said she initially thought she’d be there for two days during a minicamp, but she stayed for four months. Then she was invited back the following year. That’s when King knew there was a chance.

“The hardest part about getting in the building was done; now it’s up to me,” said King, who was an offensive assistant at Dartmouth College in 2019 before joining Washington last offseason.

She was a regular participant in the NFL’s coaching clinics from 2015 to 2018, when she also attended the NFL Women’s Career in Football Forum. She also played for three professional women’s football teams from 2006 to 2019: the Carolina Phoenix, with whom she spent 11 years, the New York Sharks and the D.C. Divas.

King also served as the head coach of Johnson & Wales University Charlotte from 2016 to 2018, guiding them to a USCAA Division II National Championship. She was an assistant on the Greensboro College women’s basketball team from 2006 to 2016.

In the last year, Washington has hired a minority head coach (Rivera), the NFL’s first Black team president (Jason Wright) and the first female to be part of an NFL team’s radio crew (Julie Donaldson).

“There are people of all races and genders that can do really good things at all levels of football,” King said. “That’s what we did — went out and found people that work at different positions and work for our organization.”

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