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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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All 22 women suing Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson to disclose names in amended lawsuits, attorney says

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HOUSTON — Houston attorney Tony Buzbee said in a statement Tuesday night that his law firm will amend all 22 of the lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson to disclose the names of the plaintiffs, “even those not currently subject to any court order.”

The lawsuits, all originally filed on behalf of Jane Does from March 16 to April 2, allege inappropriate behavior and sexual assault against the Houston Texans quarterback.

On Friday, two judges ruled that most of the plaintiffs suing Watson must identify themselves. The rulings from two hearings Friday covered 13 of the 22 lawsuits filed against Watson, while the attorneys also agreed to release a 14th name later in the day. Prior to Friday, only two women had been publicly identified.

The new lawsuits did not appear on the Harris County District Clerk’s website as of Tuesday night.

In his statement, Buzbee said his law firm “previously attempted to make available to Defense Counsel the names of the plaintiffs suing Deshaun Watson, and intended to do so in due course.”

“We were concerned about the safety of these plaintiffs, and asked the Watson team to agree to a protective order where the identities could be used in litigation, but not broadcast to the world,” Buzbee’s statement continued.

In a statement last week, Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said when his law firm asked Buzbee “to identify his clients weeks ago, he refused and told us to file a motion.”

“While I understand that anonymity often is used as a shield for victims, Mr. Buzbee is using it as a sword,” Hardin said in a statement on Thursday. “While shielding his clients from public scrutiny, Mr. Buzbee continues to use their anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson. This is simply not right. And we look forward to resolving these matters in court.”

Hardin acknowledged during a news conference on Friday that there were some “consensual encounters” between Watson and some of the 22 women who have filed lawsuits against him, but he said at no point did Watson engage in any acts that were not “mutually desired.”

“Were there sometimes consensual encounters? Yes,” Hardin said.

When asked to clarify his comments about Watson taking part in sex acts with some of the women who have filed lawsuits against him, Hardin replied, “In some of these massages there’s going to be no question. We’ve never run from it.”

In his statement on Tuesday, Buzbee said that while Watson “may now claim he had consent to do what he did” to these women, “in their minds he didn’t have consent.”

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Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks players say they won’t report to voluntary offseason workouts

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks players will not formally report to their respective team facilities next week to begin voluntary offseason workouts, both teams said in statements released by the NFL Players Association on Tuesday.

In their statement, the Broncos players cited rising COVID-19 positivity rates in Denver and surrounding communities, as well as the lack of “adequate protocols in place.” Sources told ESPN that the players voted to take this action, and notified coach Vic Fangio earlier Tuesday morning that the vote had taken place.

The Seahawks players issued a similar statement in which they noted, “The NFLPA has provided us with thorough research and information regarding our safety as players as we enter voluntary workouts this year, especially the benefits on our health and safety from a virtual off-season last year. After considering all the facts, we as a team have decided to make a decision that is uncomfortable but necessary.”

There has been no formal agreement announced between the NFLPA and the NFL regarding how offseason programs will be conducted in terms of testing players for COVID-19. Offseason programs were scheduled to begin April 19 leaguewide.

The Seahawks’ decision to not take part in voluntary workouts won’t be as financially costly as it would be for players on teams, such as the Green Bay Packers, that put offseason workout bonuses into their contracts. Those bonuses are tied to participation in offseason workouts. The Seahawks do not include them in their contracts, though safety Quandre Diggs has a $100,000 workout bonus in his. The Seahawks acquired Diggs and his contract in a 2019 trade with the Detroit Lions. He’s the only Seahawks player whose contract includes a workout bonus, according to Roster Management System.

“With offseason programs starting in less than a week and without adequate protocols in place in order for us players to return safely, we will be exercising our right to not participate in voluntary offseason workouts,” the Broncos players’ statement read in part. “COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our families and our communities, and it makes no sense for us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period. Positivity rates in our city are higher than they were at this time last year and we know players have been infected at club facilities in recent weeks. Despite having a completely virtual offseason last year, the quality of play across the NFL was better than ever by almost every measure.”

Kicker Brandon McManus is the Broncos’ player representative in the NFLPA and has been vocal over the past year regarding the need for consistent health and safety protocols.

Privately, several Broncos players said Tuesday that one of the biggest issues they are unclear about is testing. Voluntary workouts are held Monday through Thursday, with Friday through Sunday as off days.

Many players leave the area for the weekend, including those who don’t live in the Denver area in the offseason. So how the players would be tested and on what days when they return to the facility for the next week of workouts are issues that some players say they want resolved.

Some Broncos players have been in the team’s facility in recent weeks, including players who are recovering from injuries or offseason surgeries. Coaches, trainers and other team personnel have been working in the building under certain guidelines, including wearing facial coverings.

The Broncos organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Vaccinations are increasing in the Denver area, with individuals 16 years or older eligible to receive the vaccine. Positivity rates released Tuesday for Arapahoe County, where the Broncos’ complex is located, was 5.6%.

The NFL sent a memo to teams Tuesday that said Tier 1 or Tier 2 personnel will be required to be vaccinated in order to work in the team facilities, unless they must abstain for health or religious reasons.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.



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NFL memo says it expects all teams’ ops staffs to get vaccine unless ‘bona fide’ reason not to

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The NFL expects the key members of each team’s football operations staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a “bona fide” medical or religious reason not to, according to a memo issued to all clubs Tuesday.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said last month that no NFL employee, including players, would be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, and that remains the case. Tuesday’s edict, however, outlines the repercussions for those Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees who choose not to. Those groups do not include players, but rather coaches, front-office executives, medical personnel, video specialists and others who traditionally work closely with players.

According to the memo, “any staffer that refuses to be vaccinated without either a religious or medical reason will not be eligible for Tier 1 or 2 status and therefore will not be permitted access to the ‘football only’ restricted area and may not work directly or in close proximity with players.” Non-vaccinated employees also won’t be eligible for an anticipated relaxation of certain COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated individuals.

The league’s vaccination arrangement with players is being negotiated separately with the NFL Players Association, along with other pandemic-related offseason protocols. In the meantime, teams have been asked to file weekly reports on employee vaccination numbers. The NFL and NFLPA are exchanging proposals on a vaccination threshold for individual teams that, according to Tuesday’s memo, would “give vaccinated individuals significant relief from requirements relating to testing, PPE use, physical distancing, travel and other subjects.”

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