Dec 18, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

New Titans GM insists team will keep Ryan Tannehill

The Tennessee Titans are moving forward with Ryan Tannehill as their starting quarterback in 2023.

So says general manager Ran Carthon, who didn’t sound sold during his introductory press conference last month. Carthon said then that he needed to further evaluate Tannehill, who turns 35 in July.

It was a different tune at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

“Ryan is under contract,” Carthon said. “I know everybody wants to make a big deal out of the quarterback position and whether he will or won’t be here, but you guys just have to accept the fact that Ryan is under contract for us. Right now, he’s a Titan and he will be a Titan.”

Part of what’s fueling speculation of a departure is Tannehill’s $36.6 million cap hit for 2023. The Titans could save roughly half that amount by releasing the 10-year veteran.

But Carthon likes what he has been seeing in the team facility since taking over the GM duties.

“He’s been a diligent worker, been in the building every day rehabbing and getting his work in,” Carthon said. “So he is under contract and I am excited about moving forward with him and have a ton of respect for him.”

Tannehill is slated to receive a $27 million base salary after being limited to just 12 games last season due to a season-ending ankle injury.

But perhaps part of the decision process revolves around the poor showing by 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis, who looked overmatched by the speed of the NFL.

Willis went 1-2 as a starter but passed for just 276 yards while completing a paltry 50.8 percent of his passes. He was intercepted three times and didn’t throw a touchdown pass.

In fact, when Tennessee was facing two pivotal games late in the season, they plucked Joshua Dobbs off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad and immediately started the journeyman.

Tannehill passed for 2,536 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions prior to his injury. The 2023 campaign would be his fifth with the Titans after he spent six campaigns with the Miami Dolphins.

New Tennessee offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said he is looking forward to working with Tannehill.

“He’s a great pro,” Kelly said. “He checks every box in terms of what you’re looking for from that position. I’m excited to continue to work with Ryan.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrate while leaving the field after their game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants believe they can retain both Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants remain hopeful they can reach long-term agreements with both quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley this offseason.

Both players are slated to become free agents with the franchise tag possibly being utilized on one of them.

Giants general manager Joe Schoen said Tuesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” the team would get deals done with both Jones and Barkley.

Schoen reiterated that Jones will be on the 2023 roster. What isn’t clear is whether the team can reach a long-term deal with Jones or will use the franchise tag by the March 7 deadline.

Last April, the Giants declined Jones’ fifth-year option worth $22.3 million for 2023.

Then Jones enjoyed the best season of his four-year career by throwing just five interceptions and leading the Giants to the postseason. He passed for 15 touchdowns and set career highs for yardage (3,205), completion percentage (67.2), rushing yardage (708) and rushing scores (seven).

Jones is reportedly seeking a deal worth at least $45 million per season. Schoen didn’t have much to say about that report.

“I’m not going to get into that,” Schoen said at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. “I don’t want to get any divide on that stuff. We’re going to keep the negotiations between the two parties, and I think it’s best to do it that way.”

If the Giants use the franchise tag on Jones, his pay would be $32.4 million in 2023.

Meanwhile, Barkley played for $7.2 million in his fifth-year option last season and is looking for a sizable raise as part of a long-term deal.

Barkley rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards and added 10 rushing touchdowns last season after battling injuries the previous two seasons. He reportedly previously turned down a deal worth over $12 million annually.

Schoen feels the two sides have narrowed the difference in recent negotiations.

“We haven’t totally bridged (the difference). We’re a little bit closer,” Schoen said. “There’s still a gap. (Otherwise) would’ve done it. We’ll still work through that.”

The franchise tag for running backs is $10.09 million.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks on from the field during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins weighing variables with Tua Tagovailoa’s contract option

Decision day for the fifth-year option facing teams with 2020 first-round picks are due in two months, and Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel knows there are many variables to consider in the case of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa’s 2022 season ended on Christmas Eve after his second documented concussion of the season. He was also out Sept. 30-Oct. 22 following a head injury at Cincinnati that caused the NFL to revise the league concussion protocol.

Miami used the fifth pick in the 2020 draft to select Tagovailoa. The fifth-year option for Tagovailoa is worth $23.2 million.

“You know like any other player you factor in every variable,” McDaniel said on Tuesday. “I think one thing that when you’re talking about those type of decisions, I think it’s important to recognize that we have a congruence of interest by the Dolphins and the player Tua, both parties really want him to play at a very high level for the Miami Dolphins.”

Miami has until May 1, one week after the 2023 NFL Draft, to exercise the option for 2024. Tagovailoa turns 25 on March 2, and came into the 2020 NFL Draft with questions about durability because of hip and ankle surgeries during his three seasons at Alabama.

In 2022, his first season with McDaniel, Tagovailoa posted career bests in nearly every category and was 8-5 as a starter. He had 3,548 passing yards, averaged 13.7 yards per completion with 25 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a passer rating of 105.5.

Tagovailoa said he’s taking martial arts classes with the goal of learning how to absorb a fall with his body. He entered the NFL with a known injury history at Alabama, including hip and ankle surgeries.

“You factor in everything as best you can,” McDaniel said. “But you know that’s a part of this game that we’re all involved in, there are some unknowns and … you make the best decision for the organization.”

–Field Level Media

Former Baltimore Colts star DT Fred Miller dies at 82

Former Baltimore Colts star defensive tackle Fred Miller died on Sunday at age 82.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed the death of Miller, who spent his entire NFL career with the franchise when it was located in Baltimore.

“Rest in peace, FRED MILLER, #76, 10-year starting DT of the Baltimore Colts. A three-time Pro Bowl selection,” Irsay said on Twitter.

Miller played 133 games (124 starts) with the Colts from 1963-72 and was a key figure on the team’s defense. He played in two Super Bowls and had five tackles in Baltimore’s 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.

Miller’s Pro Bowl selections were in 1967, 1968 and 1969. He was second-team All-Pro in 1967 and 1968. Unofficially, he was credited with 52 career sacks.

Miller was a seventh-round pick in the 1962 draft after a standout career at LSU. He started on both the offensive and defensive lines during his three college seasons and was a first-team All-American. He was inducted into the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1964.

–Field Level Media

Dec 24, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Seattle Seahawks center Austin Blythe (63) during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks OL Austin Blythe retires after 7 seasons

Seattle Seahawks starting center Austin Blythe announced his retirement Tuesday after seven seasons in the league.

“The last 7 years have been nothing short of amazing,” Blythe wrote in an Instagram post. “For a short, unathletic, undersized kid from Iowa, I’ve played a lot of football, met countless coaches and teammates that I can call friends, and made enough memories for myself and my family to last a lifetime. I am so grateful, and extremely blessed, to have played the game for any amount of time, let alone 7 years.”

Blythe, 30, started all 17 games for Seattle in 2022. He started 66 of 92 career games with four different teams, including the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-20.

Blythe was a seventh-round selection of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Blythe signed a one-year deal worth $4 million with Seattle in March 2022 and was set to become a free agent.

–Field Level Media

Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett scrambles to get away from New York Jets lineman Jacob Martin on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 in Cleveland.

Akr 9 18 Browns 17

Jets-Browns to play in Hall of Fame game

The New York Jets and Cleveland Browns will play in the 2023 Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3.

The teams combine for three former players to be inducted into the HOF two days later – offensive tackle Joe Thomas of the Browns, and defensive lineman Joe Klecko and cornerback Darrelle Revis of the Jets.

It’ll be the first HOF game for the Browns since 1999 and their sixth overall.

The appearance will be the third for the Jets.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (7) rushes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) in the first half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bucs to release RB Leonard Fournette

Running back Leonard Fournette is expected to be released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the start of the new league year, NFL Network reported on Tuesday.

The new league year begins March 15.

Fournette is in line to receive $2 million in guaranteed salary for 2023. Provided Fournette’s exit comes as a post-June 1 designation, the Bucs will save over $1.5 million on the salary cap, per NFL Network.

The move to cut bait is not a surprise considering Fournette was supplanted by then-rookie Rachaad White toward the end of last season.

Fournette, 28, signed a three-year, $21 million extension prior to the 2022 season. He rushed for 668 yards and three touchdowns and added 73 catches for 523 yards and three scores in 16 games (nine starts).

Fournette has rushed for 4,478 yards and 34 touchdowns and added 312 catches for 2,219 yards and seven scores in 79 career games (61 starts) with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buccaneers. He was selected by the Jaguars with the fourth overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft out of LSU.

White, 24, rushed for 481 yards and one touchdown in 17 games last season. He was selected by the Bucs in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

49ers: Brock Purdy (swelling) could have surgery next week

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy still has not had elbow surgery due to continued swelling.

Niners general manager John Lynch said Tuesday that Purdy will meet with Texas Rangers team physician Keith Meister in Arizona this week. Lynch added that surgery could finally happen next week if swelling and inflammation improve.

Purdy was originally scheduled to undergo surgery Feb. 22 to repair his torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm.

“That’s a tough decision to make, but I really appreciate the courage and the conviction to make that decision,” Lynch said of Meister postponing Purdy’s surgery. “It’s all about the best outcome. Is it ideal? No. You want, for a variety of reasons, time being No. 1. You want every waking minute that you have.

“We want the best outcome, and that’s what Dr. Meister made, a really tough decision, and we’re very appreciative, and he’s done thousands of these surgeries, and when you have all the swelling out, when you have all the stiffness out, is when he’s had the best success with the outcomes,” Lynch added.

Purdy is expected to have an internal brace inserted during the procedure. Recovery time is six months, which would be right at the start of the 2023 season, with the regular-season scheduled to begin Sept. 7.

Meister could opt for a hybrid procedure – ligament reconstruction plus insertion of a brace. That decision won’t get made until Meister begins the procedure, one that would increase Purdy’s recovery to 7 to 9 months.

“A lot of people talk about the ambiguity because you hear, ‘Well, you never know until you get in there,’” Lynch said. “I get told that every time one of our players has a surgery, and I think that’s surgeons just covering their bases. They never know.

“MRIs tell a whole lot of the picture, but you really, truly don’t know until you get in there and see exactly what’s going on. So we’re doing lots of praying and pulling for Brock.”

Purdy, 23, made a stunning rise from being the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to leading the 49ers into the NFC Championship Game.

After 49ers quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo got injured in the regular season, Purdy took over and led the team to wins in each of the final five games. Purdy and the 49ers then defeated the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs before falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game when Purdy sustained the elbow injury.

After fourth-stringer Josh Johnson went down with a concussion against Philadelphia, Purdy returned to action but was unable to throw the ball more than a few yards downfield.

In the regular season, Purdy completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards with 13 scoring passes and four interceptions. In the postseason, he had a 65.1 percent completion rate while throwing for 569 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Lynch said he can see the practice fields from his second floor office at the team facility and has noted Lance making progress. He repeated what he said after the season regarding Garoppolo not returning in 2023. He is expected to find a new home in free agency.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Browns GM: Restructuring QB Deshaun Watson’s contract ‘on the table’

One year after Deshaun Watson signed a fully guaranteed $230 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, the franchise is looking to restructure the deal to create much-needed salary cap space.

Watson’s cap charge for the next four seasons is a record $54,993,000, and general manager Andrew Berry said restructuring the contract is an option.

“It could be on the table,” Berry said, “But there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of what we can do.”

Watson is scheduled for a base salary of $46 million and is charged $8.993 million for his signing bonus.

Cleveland is projected to be $14.373 million over the 2023 salary cap as of Tuesday.

The highest salary cap charge in the history of the NFL for a single season to date was $39 million.

NFL teams have until March 15 to align their finances and be compliant with the 2023 salary cap of $224.8 million.

–Field Level Media

Jul 25, 2019; Renton, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks with general manager John Schneider during training camp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Carroll: Seahawks ‘deeply involved’ with top QB prospects

Don’t rule out the Seattle Seahawks making a move for a top quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Even if the team is able to re-sign free agent quarterback Geno Smith as planned, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he and general manager John Schneider are diving headlong into the 2023 QB draft class.

“We are totally connected to the quarterbacks that are coming out,” said Carroll. “This is a really huge opportunity for us. It’s a rare opportunity for us. We’ve been drafting in the low 20s for such a long time, you just don’t get the chance for these guys. So we’re deeply involved with all of them.”

The Seahawks are discussing a multi-year contract with Smith, Carroll said. The 2022 Pro Bowl selection handled last season “impeccably,” Carroll said Tuesday.

“We are working hard to keep it going,” he said.

Carroll said there a “number of guys in the past” who were put on the shelf for awhile only to get another chance.

“It’s a message for us,” Carroll said of Smith. “There’s other guys that can do the same thing. … Maybe we have given up on guys too soon. Some of that is themselves. They have to maintain the belief in themselves. Geno is a remarkable illustration of that. He never wavered. He expected to win the job. He expected to be successful. He expected to be where he is right now.”

Seattle has the fifth pick in the draft and five selections in the top 85. The No. 5 pick is Seattle’s highest draft choice since 2009 as return for trading Russell Wilson to the Broncos. Seattle also has the 37th pick from Denver.

Carroll said keeping Smith and drafting a quarterback is a “definite” possibility.

Field Level Media ranks three quarterbacks among the top seven prospects in the 2023 draft.

–Field Level Media