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New York Giants trading Jason Pierre-Paul, fourth-round pick to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The New York Giants are trading defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and a 2018 fourth-round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for third- and fourth-round picks in 2018, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Thursday.

Pierre-Paul, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, had 68 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles for the Giants in 2017 after signing a four-year, $62 million deal last offseason. He carries a $17.5 million salary-cap hit for the 2018 season, which is tied for third among all defensive players.

It was the first time since 2014 that the 29-year-old defender had played all 16 games in a season, though he played through hand, shoulder and knee injuries last season.

Pierre-Paul will join a revamped defensive line in Tampa Bay, which includes defensive end Vinny Curry, who signed a three-year deal last week, and tackle Beau Allen, both formerly of the Eagles. Gerald McCoy anchors the other tackle position.

As part of Thursday’s trade, the Giants, who have the second overall selection in the NFL draft, acquired picks Nos. 69 and 108 from the Bucs, who get No. 102 from New York.

Tampa Bay had the fewest sacks in the NFL last season with 22 — the team’s lowest total since 1994, when they had 20. The Bucs’ pass rush also ranked last when it came to pressuring opposing quarterbacks (22 percent).

Pierre-Paul re-established himself during the 2016 season after a fireworks accident on July 4, 2015, that cost him his right index finger and parts of several others. He had seven sacks in 2016 and was tied for the NFL lead with eight batted passes before a sports hernia surgery ended his season early.

A 2010 first-round pick out of South Florida, which is located in Tampa, Pierre-Paul was a key member of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI team. He had 58 career sacks with New York — the seventh-highest total since sacks became an official stat in 1982. According to ESPN Stats & Information, his 39 batted passes since entering the league in 2010 is second only to J.J. Watt (46) during that span.

Pierre-Paul will get a chance to face the Giants next season as the Buccaneers are scheduled to visit MetLife Stadium.

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Minnesota Vikings sign LB Todd Davis to fill void after Anthony Barr, Troy Dye injuries

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The Minnesota Vikings signed veteran linebacker Todd Davis on Thursday after losing linebacker Anthony Barr to injury in their Week 2 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Barr, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, was placed on injured reserve earlier this week after he tore his pectoral muscle in the second quarter of the Vikings’ 28-11 loss to the Colts in Week 2. Barr is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Fourth-round rookie Troy Dye replaced Barr on Sunday before suffering an ankle injury. The injuries to both Barr and Dye led to Ryan Connelly making his debut two weeks after being claimed by Minnesota.

Dye was placed on injured reserve Thursday in a corresponding move.

Davis was released by the Denver Broncos earlier this month after five seaons with the team. He missed most of training camp with a calf injury.

Davis, 28, started at least 14 games for the Broncos in each of the past four seasons. He played in 82 games for Denver since the team claimed him off of waivers in November 2014.

He had become a productive player for the Broncos as he played in all 16 games on a 2015 team that went on to win Super Bowl 50. He then had at least 97 tackles in three of the past four seasons, and he topped 100 tackles in both 2018 (114) and 2019 (134).

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin and Jeff Legwold contributed to this report.

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Ravens’ Lamar Jackson downplays matchup vs. Chiefs — ‘It’s just like any other game.’

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens can send a message to the rest of the NFL by beating Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

On Thursday, Jackson’s statement was this: “It’s just like any other game.”

During his 10-minute media session with reporters, Jackson downplayed Monday’s game, which is a showdown of the two hottest teams in the league and the last two NFL MVPs.

In fact, this will mark the first matchup in NFL history between former MVPs who are 25 years or younger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“I don’t have to focus on Mahomes,” Jackson said. “I got to focus on their defense. I got focus on scoring. I got to focus on my job and making my offense do our thing.”

When the Ravens play host to the Chiefs, it will feature two teams who hold the two longest active win streaks in the league.

The Ravens have won 14 straight regular-season games, and the Chiefs have won eight consecutive games, including the playoffs. The last two teams to meet on eight-plus game win streaks as 1969, when the Rams (winners of 11 straight) played host to the Vikings (10 straight), according to ESPN Stats & Information.

While many of Jackson’s teammates recognized the significance of this game, Jackson essentially answered questions with a shrug.

How important is it for Jackson to beat the Chiefs after losing the last two meetings? “It’s always a statement,” Jackson said.

Is it too early to think of home-field ramifications from this game? “We’re focusing on winning this game,” he said.

To take the Ravens where you want to go, do you feel you have to eventually beat the Chiefs? “Yeah, eventually.”

For Jackson, Mahomes represents one of the few hurdles in his career. Jackson is 21-3 as a starter in the regular season, with two of his losses coming against Mahomes.

“I don’t think [there’s] any more pressure than [what] Lamar ever puts on himself all the time,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s the same Lamar, week in, week out, play in, play out at practice, from meeting to meeting. He’s always excited to play; he’s ready to roll. I don’t believe he looks at it like that; I think he’s looking at it like our offense against their defense; that’s what he’s focusing on, and trying to find a way to put the best performance he can, and put up as many points as he can.”

While Jackson prefers not to hype up the game, others acknowledged that there’s a different feel between the two Super Bowl favorites. Both are listed as 4-to-1 odds, according to Caesars Sportsbook. “It’s a team that we know we need to beat. If we want to be champions, this is one of those teams that you have to get past,” Ravens All-Pro offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley said. “We all understand we can’t afford to make mistakes. We have to be at our best. Anything less will come up with results we had in the past.”

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MetLife turf ruled OK upon review after San Francisco 49ers’ gripes, source says

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Representatives from the NFL, NFLPA, MetLife Stadium, the Giants and Jets, Field Turf and the independent field inspector conducted an additional review of the field surface at MetLife Stadium on Wednesday, a league source tells ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

It was again verified that the field meets all applicable standards and protocols for NFL field surfaces, the source told Raanan.

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his players had expressed concern about the turf after his team’s 31-13 victory over the Jets in Week 2 as defensive end Nick Bosa, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas all suffered game-ending lower body injuries.

Bosa and Thomas each suffered season-ending torn ACLs, Mostert has a sprained MCL, Coleman has a knee injury that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks and Garoppolo has a high ankle sprain.

The 49ers are playing this Sunday at MetLife for the second consecutive week, this time against the Giants. New FieldTurf was installed in the stadium this summer, and it had only been played on previously in Jets and Giants scrimmages, as well as the Giants’ season opener on Monday night in Week 1.

Multiple 49ers complained of how “sticky” the playing surface was and took to Twitter and their Zoom media sessions to vent their frustration after the game. While Shanahan acknowledged it was hard to draw a direct correlation between the injuries and the playing surface, he did say it was something his team talked about throughout the game.

“I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf as I have ever been a part of,” Shanahan said. “From what I saw, the other team did, too. I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. … It was something our guys were concerned about right away and the results definitely made that a lot stronger.”

On Wednesday, Shanahan acknowledged the NFL and NFLPA were looking at the MetLife turf and said he was waiting to hear the findings.

“The NFL and NFLPA is having people look at it right now,” Shanahan said. “So we’ll go with that. If they don’t find anything, you go out there and play. Other people tore their ACL in this league last week and they weren’t all on turf. So you know how we felt about it. We’ll see what the professionals say, and hopefully we’ll learn something.”

ESPN’s Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.

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