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Source — Franchise designation period on players pushed back

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The NFL Players Association and the NFL management council have pushed back the start of the franchise designation period from February 25 to February 27 and the period will now end on March 12 instead of March 10, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Absent a new collective bargaining agreement, each team can use a franchise and transition tag on players.

The NFLPA is expected to vote on a new collective bargaining agreement next week, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

The vote is still expected despite an NFLPA statement saying its board of representatives has declined to vote on a recommendation in hopes of further meetings with NFL management.

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Construction worker at new Raiders stadium tests positive for COVID-19

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A construction worker at the Raiders‘ new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mortenson-McCarthy Builders said Wednesday the worker had not been in close contact with any other project worker and had been offsite since last week. The worker is self-isolating for 14 days and won’t return to work until cleared.

Mortenson-McCarthy says the area of the stadium where the worker was assigned and the surrounding vicinity were immediately shut down and sanitized. Work in other parts of the stadium has been unaffected and the stadium is still scheduled to be completed this summer.

Fox5 in Las Vegas first reported the news.

The Raiders are set to begin play in the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat indoor stadium this fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Steelers sign DT Cavon Walker, OT Jarron Jones, S Tyree Kinnel

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PITTSBURGH — The Steelers signed a trio of XFL products on Wednesday, supplementing their free-agency signings with two members of the New York Guardians — including the league’s sacks leader — and one alum of the DC Defenders.

The Steelers agreed to contracts with defensive tackle Cavon Walker, offensive tackle Jarron Jones and safety Tyree Kinnel. The positions filled are ones of need for the Steelers, who lost depth at all three spots during free agency with the departures of defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, offensive linemen Ramon Foster and B.J. Finney, and safety Sean Davis.

The Steelers have been open in the past to signing players from alternative football leagues, signing safety Kameron Kelly from the Alliance of American Football prior to last season. Kelly started one game for the Steelers but was released after he was arrested at a local bar late in the season.

In an interview with local beat writers in February, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team would be monitoring and evaluating the XFL for talent.

“The XFL has taken some of the guys we would have signed as futures [contracts],” Colbert said prior to the NFL scouting combine. “We’ll have to do more work on undrafted guys because of that. Traditionally, we sign about 15, but we might have to sign 20-22.”

“We got an initial feel for that group, and we’ll continue to monitor those teams throughout the season.”

Though the XFL season was shortened due to COVID-19, the Steelers saw enough to merit signing the trio of players.

Listed at 6-foot-2, 284 pounds, Walker led the XFL with 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits as a member of Guardians. The Maryland product went undrafted in 2018, but spent preseasons with the Bears and the Chiefs. Walker became the second defensive lineman added by the Steelers in free agency, joining former Baltimore DL Chris Wormley, who arrived in Pittsburgh via trade.

Jones, a Notre Dame product, spent training camp or preseason with the Bills, Cowboys, Giants and Seahawks, but couldn’t stick with any of them. He converted from defensive line to offensive line upon joining the Giants, and the much-needed reps as the Guardians’ left tackle should allow the the 6-6, 320-pound offensive tackle to compete for a roster spot in Pittsburgh.

Kinnel was the final signing of the group after his stint with the Defenders. Kinnel had 17 total tackles in the shortened season. After a Michigan career during which he had 170 tackles, two interceptions and one sack, Kinnel signed with the Bengals as a undrafted free agent in 2019 but was cut after training camp.

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Redskins, WR Cody Latimer reach agreement on deal

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The Washington Redskins have agreed to terms on a deal with wide receiver Cody Latimer, a source confirmed to ESPN’s John Keim.

Latimer had 24 receptions, 300 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 15 games (10 starts) for the New York Giants last season.

Before 2019, Latimer had started only five games since being a second-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2014. But Latimer was able to get into the Giants’ lineup and make the most of his opportunities last season because starters Sterling Shepard (concussion) and Golden Tate (suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, concussion) missed time.

Latimer, 27, spent his first four seasons with the Broncos before signing with the Giants in 2018. For his career, Latimer has 70 receptions, 935 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

The NFL Network first reported the news about Latimer.

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