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New York Jets have been quiet for a reason but that will change – New York Jets Blog



Are the New York Jets asleep at the wheel?

Concerned fans might be pondering that question because the Jets have remained quiet during this unprecedented, pre-free-agency trading frenzy. It started Super Bowl week with the Alex Smith trade, and it got really crazy last week, led by the aggressive Cleveland Browns.

All told, there have been 11 trades involving 13 teams, 13 players and a lot of draft picks. Some of the players who changed teams could have helped the Jets, namely Smith and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. General manager Mike Maccagnan, never shy about making trades (see: Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015, and Jermaine Kearse and a draft pick for Sheldon Richardson in 2017), decided to sit out “Let’s Make a Deal” week.

A certain segment of the fan base probably is ready to panic because, well, that’s part of the Jets fans’ DNA.

My advice: Chill out, and let’s see what happens over the next week or so. Let’s see how Mike Maccagnan’s offseason plan unfolds before we start with the Twitter rage.

The plan is obvious. Of the three primary ways to improve a roster in the offseason — trades, free agency and draft — the Jets are putting their eggs in the latter two baskets. The reasons for that aren’t hard to figure out.

With a league-high $90 million in cap room, they have the money to buy free agents. “Straight cash, homie,” as Randy Moss would say. The Jets also have eight draft picks, including five in the top 107, making this their most front-loaded draft since 2006.

Maccagnan wants to preserve his draft capital because, if he doesn’t sign free agent Kirk Cousins, he might need those picks to trade up for a quarterback. He also needs his picks to, you know, plug holes in the roster. If he starts dealing away draft picks for short-term solutions, the Jets will be repeating their mistakes from 2012 to 2014 that got them into this mess: barren drafts that forced an over-reliance on free agency.

Sure, it’s exciting to have $90 million in cap room, but no team wants to be in this position too often because it underscores a lack of talent on the roster. Ideally, Maccagnan would like to accumulate extra draft picks, but the Jets don’t have any assets to trade. The last good bargaining chip was Richardson, who brought back a second-round pick — a terrific return, considering what some recently traded players fetched.

Oh, sure, the Jets have a few young players with movable contracts who would draw interest — Leonard Williams, Marcus Maye and Darron Lee — but the Jets see them as part of the foundation. (I didn’t mention Jamal Adams because his contract includes too much guaranteed money to trade.) Robby Anderson would have some trade value if it weren’t for his legal issues.

Right now, the Jets’ top assets are the sixth pick in the draft and their war chest of cap room. Although it might have been tempting to pursue Peters or Talib, this wild and crazy trade market doesn’t suit them. That explains the lack of activity. But that’s about to change.

The “legal tampering” period begins at noon Monday, and free agency starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

“Obviously, we’ll be very active on the first day in terms of the higher profile guys,” Maccagnan said at the scouting combine. “I think the one thing I’ve noticed in the NFL this year or in the past years, I should say, is free agency moves very quickly. If you have guys targeted and you have your range how you value them, we’ll be very active.

“We may sign a big-ticket guy, we may sign a small-ticket guy. It’ll will be very interesting to see how it plays out.”

It’s time to wake up.

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Washington Football Team puts top O-lineman Brandon Scherff on IR with knee injury



The Washington Football Team placed guard Brandon Scherff on injured reserve Monday after he suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Scherff has a sprained right MCL and is expected to miss three to five weeks, a source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report.

Players must miss a minimum of three weeks when placed on IR under rules instituted for the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coach Ron Rivera had said on his Zoom presser Monday that they had received good news about Scherff, but that he would still miss time.

Wes Schweitzer will replace Scherff, as he did Sunday. Schweitzer has made 36 career starts.

Scherff is playing this season on a franchise tender after being tagged by the team, for which he has played his entire career since being drafted fifth overall in 2015. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has missed time for injury each of the previous two seasons.

Washington promoted Cam Sims from its practice squad Tuesday in a corresponding move.

Washington travels to Cleveland to face the Browns on Sunday.

ESPN’s John Keim contributed to this report.

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Source — Denver Broncos to sign QB Blake Bortles after Drew Lock injury



The Denver Broncos are signing quarterback Blake Bortles to a one-year deal, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday.

He will join the team after passing COVID-19 protocols, a source told ESPN.

Broncos starting quarterback Drew Lock suffered a severe strain of the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder on Sunday and will miss three to five weeks.

Jeff Driskel took over after Lock left Sunday’s game in the first quarter. He wound up playing 64 of the offense’s 77 snaps in the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, completing 18 of 34 passes for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Bortles spent five seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2014-2018, playing in 75 games and throwing for 17,646 yards with 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. He threw only two passes in three games during the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Rams.

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Browns duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt punishing NFL defenses – Cleveland Browns Blog



BEREA, Ohio — To cap off the Cleveland Browns‘ opening drive Thursday, Nick Chubb bounced off two Cincinnati Bengals defenders before carrying a third into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, it was Kareem Hunt‘s turn. On a key third-and-4, Hunt barreled through an arm tackle for the first down. Then, he finished off the possession with a touchdown grab from Baker Mayfield.

The Browns have big names attached to their passing attack, most notably Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who each shined in the Browns’ 35-30 victory over the Bengals. Yet through the first two weeks of the season, Chubb and Hunt — and their prowess for running through tackles — are proving to be the backbone of the Cleveland attack.

“We ask them to make some dirty runs,” coach Kevin Stefanski said of his two runners. “If there’s a guy unblocked or there’s an arm hanging out there, they’ve got to run through it. When (the blocking) is perfect these guys can make some big-time plays. But even when it’s not perfect, I feel confident in their abilities to gain yards on dirty runs.”

The duo, which combined for 210 yards rushing against the Bengals, is achieving that as well as any backs in the league. Chubb, in fact, tops the NFL with 116 yards after contact, and Hunt is tied for second with the Dallas CowboysEzekiel Elliott with 99 yards. Hunt, however, is leading the NFL averaging 4.3 yards per rush after contact. Chubb is third with 3.6 yards per, which trails only Hunt and the Tampa Bay BuccaneersLeonard Fournette (4.0 yards).

Though the sample size is small, those would be the highest averages after contact since at least 2009, when ESPN Stats & Information began tracking the data. In 2010, LeGarrette Blount averaged 2.94 yards after contact; Adrian Peterson posted the next-best average with 2.93 yards in 2012.

In turn, 23% of Cleveland’s rushes this season have gone for at least 10 yards, by far the highest rate in the league. The Baltimore Ravens and Green Bay Packers are tied for second in rate of such runs at 18%.

“Those guys are really special,” Mayfield said Thursday of Chubb and Hunt. “The offensive line played great. Those were some big holes, and those guys were not going down by just one single guy.”

A revamped offensive line certainly has been part of Cleveland’s early but enviable success running the ball. The Browns are fifth in run block win rate, a new metric ESPN utilizes to measure run-blocking success. That includes Austin Hooper, who ranks fifth among tight ends in run block win rate. Fullback Andy Janovich, who had a monster kick-out block on Chubb’s opening-drive touchdown run, has brought physicality to the Cleveland ground game, as well.

But the ability of Chubb and Hunt to break tackles is what stands to elevate the Browns’ rushing attack from good to potentially elite, and sustain drives in critical moments. Hunt is fourth league-wide with 10 rushing conversions on third down. Chubb is tied for fifth with nine third-down conversion runs.

“We both have some special talents,” Hunt said, “and we both can do some great things with the ball in our hands.”

That might not be changing in Cleveland any time soon, either.

Before the opener, Hunt, 25, signed a two-year extension worth $13.25 million, including $8.5 million guaranteed. That puts him under contract with the Browns for the next three seasons. Chubb, 24, will be extension-eligible, as well, after this season, though he still has another year left on his rookie deal.

Given how seamlessly Chubb and Hunt have operated together, the Browns figure to still be just as incentivized to extend Chubb, even with Hunt on such a reasonable deal for a running back. After Thursday’s win, Chubb actually clamored for Hunt to be more involved in the game plan early, underscoring their chemistry off the field.

“You see what he can do,” Chubb said. “He’s a great back.”

The Browns boast two of them. Special talents, who break through tackles and reel off dirty runs. Giving Cleveland a backfield tandem primed to be the envy of the entire league.

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