Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) gestures downfield in the second quarter during Super Bowl 56 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Cincinnati Bengals lost, 23-20.

Nfl Super Bowl 56 Los Angeles Rams Vs Cincinnati Bengals Feb 13 2022 1393

Bills-Rams season opener among highlights of 2022 NFL schedule

The defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams will open the 2022 NFL season at home against a leading contender in the AFC, the Buffalo Bills.

That was one of many missing pieces finalized Thursday when the NFL revealed the complete 272-game regular-season schedule. For the second straight season, the slate covers 18 weeks.

Teams have known the 17 opponents they will face since the end of the 2021 season, but the schedule reveal, complete with bye weeks and primetime broadcast assignments, has become a made-for-TV offseason event for the league.

The league announced a series of select games in the week-plus leading up to Thursday, including five international games to be played across London, Munich and Mexico City, and the Rams’ game against the Denver Broncos as part of the first-ever Christmas Day tripleheader.

Among other Week 1 fixtures, the unretired Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers will hit the road to play the Dallas Cowboys for the first “Sunday Night Football” game of the year, and the Broncos will visit the Seattle Seahawks on “Monday Night Football,” making quarterback Russell Wilson’s first game with the Broncos coincide with his return to Seattle after 10 seasons.

The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Bills in Week 8 in a rematch of the 2020 AFC Championship Game and a 2021 AFC Divisional Round playoff game, both of which were high-scoring instant classics. The Chiefs won both meetings, the latter in overtime.

The Chiefs will also get another swipe at the Buccaneers when they play at Tampa Bay in Week 4 on “Sunday Night Football” in a rematch of Super Bowl LV, in which Brady’s Bucs defeated Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs.

The rest of the Christmas tripleheader will contain the Green Bay Packers at the Miami Dolphins and the Buccaneers at the Arizona Cardinals. Broncos-Rams will be the second game of the three.

The full Week 1 schedule is below (all times ET):

Sept. 8
Buffalo at L.A. Rams, 8:20 p.m.

Sept. 11
New Orleans at Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Cleveland at Carolina, 1 p.m.
San Francisco at Chicago, 1 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia at Detroit, 1 p.m.
Indianapolis at Houston, 1 p.m.
New England at Miami, 1 p.m.
Baltimore at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.
Jacksonville at Washington, 1 p.m.
N.Y. Giants at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m.
Kansas City at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.
Las Vegas at L.A. Chargers, 4:25 p.m.
Green Bay at Minnesota, 4:25 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Dallas, 8:20 p.m.

Sept. 12
Denver at Seattle, 8:15 p.m.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) greets Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers host Chiefs in Week 4 for Brady-Mahomes VI

Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are scheduled to square off for the sixth time when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Kansas City Chiefs in October.

The Week 4 game was released by the NFL on Thursday morning before the complete schedule announcement later in the day.

The same teams — and quarterbacks — last met in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in February 2021 when Brady and the Buccaneers prevailed 31-9.

Brady is 3-2 in the all-time series with Mahomes.

The next matchup is scheduled for Oct. 2 and will air in prime time on NBC as the “Sunday Night Football” Week 4 nightcap.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) scores a touchdown while Houston Texans safety Lonnie Johnson (1) defends  in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Texans sign DE Mario Addison, trade CB Lonnie Johnson to Chiefs

The Houston Texans signed free agent defensive end Mario Addison on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Addison, 34, played the past two seasons with the Buffalo Bills, where he recorded 59 tackles, 12 sacks and two forced fumbles in 32 games (seven starts). He spent the bulk of his career with the Carolina Panthers, with whom he tallied 55 sacks in seven-plus seasons.

Houston also announced a series of other roster moves, the most notable being trading cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs will send back a 2024 seventh-round draft pick, multiple reports said.

Johnson, a 2019 second-round draft pick, grabbed three interceptions and recorded 55 tackles last season in 14 games (seven starts). He played 44 games with 19 starts in three seasons with the team.

The Texans drafted LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick in last week’s NFL draft, giving them flexibility to move on from Johnson.

Houston also exercised its fifth-year option on offensive lineman Tytus Howard, its first-round selection in 2019 who has started 37 games in three seasons. And the team signed free agent defensive lineman Rasheem Green, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and tallied 13.5 sacks in 53 games (24 starts).

–Field Level Media

Mar 3, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (QB16) goes through a drill during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Take 5: Teams under most pressure to ace ’22 draft

Throughout their collective history, few NFL franchises have been more patient than the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers.

There’s no question the ongoing ownership of the Rooneys in Pittsburgh, the Maras and Tischs in New York and the Hunts in Kansas City have made their franchises rock solid through the decades. None of those ownership groups have been too hands on. Instead, they leave the work up to their coaches and general managers and coaches and allow them to do their jobs.

It’s similar in Green Bay, where ownership situation is very different. The Packers are owned by 360,584 shareholders. In relative terms, Green Bay is a small and close-knit community and team executives historically have been slow to change coaches or quarterbacks.

Although the Panthers are newer (they came along as an expansion team in 1995), their longtime owner, Jerry Richardson, came from the old-school NFL. Before Richardson was forced to sell the team in 2017 in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and the use of a racial slur, the team and the league loved to point out the fact he played in the NFL and caught a touchdown pass from Johnny Unitas in the 1959 NFL Championship Game.

But the patience is gone in Carolina because current owner David Tepper is more like a modern-day owner, who doesn’t believe in sitting still. It’s commonly accepted that coach Matt Rhule must win now to keep his job.

Things aren’t quite so dire in Pittsburgh, New York, Kansas City and Green Bay. But clocks are ticking more rapidly than ever before. That means the Steelers, Giants, Chiefs, Packers, and even the Panthers, are under enormous pressure to ace the upcoming NFL draft, which starts on April 28.

Let’s take a look at each of those situations and why the draft is so critical.

The natives – and one very important non-native — truly are restless. When February 2023 rolls around it will mark 12 years since quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have won a Super Bowl. That’s 12 years longer than most Green Bay fans expected.

Rodgers has won four MVP awards, but time is running out. Rodgers is 38 and has made plenty of noise about retiring. There also have been rumors he might prefer to finish his career elsewhere.

That means the Packers have to go all-in this season and they are not quite there. Rodgers’ favorite target, Davante Adams, was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders. That means the Packers have to use either the 22nd or 28th overall pick to get a receiver that can make an instant impact.

Either Alabama’s Jameson Williams or Ohio State’s Chris Olave make sense as receivers and Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green could keep Rodgers happy.

Believe it or not, there also is a sense of urgency in Kansas City.

When you have the league’s best young quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) you’re supposed to win the Super Bowl every year. Mahomes did that in the 2019 season, but came up short the last two years.

There was a lot of head scratching in Kansas City in March when the Chiefs traded Mahomes’ favorite receiver, Tyreek Hill, to Miami. But there was logic behind the deal. Coach Andy Reid is 64 and won’t be around forever and the Chiefs have needs at multiple positions. In exchange for Hill, they got a 2022 first-round pick, a second-round pick and two fourth-round picks in addition to a 2023 sixth-round pick.

The Chiefs have three picks in the top 50, including Nos. 29 and 30. They could use one of their early picks on Williams, Olave or Georgia’s George Pickens to replace Hill, but that would be only part of the puzzle. As last year showed, the offensive line and the defense also need help.

The Chiefs need to come out of this draft with at least three players that contribute right away. Georgia defensive tackle Devonte White, Minnesota defensive end Boye Mafe and Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann could step right in and start.

This is a unique situation because the Steelers have had only three coaches (Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin) throughout most of the lifetimes of most of their fans. Tomlin isn’t on the immediate hot seat because he’s had only two non-winning seasons.

But quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a constant during Tomlin’s tenure, retired and that likely means there will be a step back. While most scouts agree there are no quarterbacks in this year’s draft worthy of top pick consideration, general managers, coaches and even owners have a way of using a shoehorn to fill a need.

Would it be totally outrageous for the Steelers to do something out of character? Not really. It would make a lot of sense for them to go with the quarterback from the hometown college – Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett. Given Tomlin’s job security, Pickett wouldn’t have to play right away. He could wait a year and then takeover.

Besides, does anybody really think Mitchell Trubisky is the long-term answer?

Coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen are new, but you can bet they – at least subtly – been told to get back to doing things the “Giants Way.”
Think about the nucleus of the franchise’s last two Super Bowl wins, which came after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. Pass rusher Michael Strahan was the face of the 2007 team.

Quarterback Eli Manning was the poster boy in 2011, but that’s only because guards Chris Snee and David Diehl made Manning look better than he was. In recent years, unsuccessful regimes have drafted running back Saquon Barkley, quarterback Daniel Jones and receiver Kadarius Toney. The results haven’t been great and that’s why this year’s draft is so important for the Giants.

They hold three picks in the top 36. That should translate into three first-year starters.

If Schoen and Daboll want to stick around long, they would be wise to stay away from flashy skill-position players and go with what’s tried and true in New York. Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux or Purdue’s George Karlaftis could fit the Strahan model or Alabama’s Evan Neal or N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu could help make Jones look like Manning.

There are rumblings around the league that Tepper is doing what several owners around the league foolishly have done in recent years. That’s encouraging your coach and general manager to take a quarterback they don’t really want.

But that might be the best thing Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer could do. Taking Liberty quarterback Malik Willis probably won’t translate into a lot of wins in 2022. But, if Willis shows any signs of promise, Rhule still could have a job in 2023.

–By Pat Yasinksas, Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) scores a touchdown on a 75-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter of their game Sunday, November 21, 2021 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. The Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers 34-31.

Packers22 34

Reports: Chiefs sign WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free agent wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a three-year deal worth $30 million, ESPN and NFL Network reported Thursday.

The move comes a day after the Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill to Miami for five draft picks. Valdes-Scantling was reportedly visiting the Chiefs on Wednesday.

Valdes-Scantling, 27, can earn up to $36 million with incentives, per the reports.

Valdes-Scantling played the first four seasons of his career in Green Bay after the Packers selected him in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.

Valdes-Scantling caught 26 passes for 430 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games (seven starts) in 2021. He spent time on injured reserve last season with a hamstring injury.

Valdes-Scantling has 123 catches for 2,153 yards and 13 TDs in 59 career games (39 starts) for the Packers. He played in the shadow of Davante Adams all four years in Green Bay.

The 6-foot-4 Valdes-Scantling ran his 40 at the scouting combine in 4.37 seconds. Hill has 4.29 speed.

–Field Level Media

Dec 16, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ SB, Tua’s MVP odds shorten with Tyreek Hill

The latest blockbuster trade of the most dramatic NFL offseason in memory forced oddsmakers to shift their futures markets once again.

After news broke Wednesday morning that Miami was acquiring All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs, the Dolphins’ odds shortened in several key markets.

BetRivers told Field Level Media their oddsmakers moved Miami’s Super Bowl odds from +5000 to +3500, and the Dolphins’ odds shortened from +6000 to +5000 at WynnBet. BetMGM said the deal did not impact the book’s Super Bowl odds, with Kansas City remaining +900 and Miami offered at +500.

The Dolphins did move from +650 to +400 to win the AFC East at BetMGM and from +700 to +440 at BetRivers, where Miami is also now +1700 to win the AFC Championship after beginning the day at +2800.

The biggest impact of the deal was felt by the MVP market.

Tua Tagovailoa entered the offseason uncertain to get a third year to prove he is the long-term answer at quarterback in Miami. With the Dolphins opting not to acquire a veteran signal-caller while adding Hill along with fellow wide receiver Cedrick Wilson plus running backs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, Miami has surrounded Tagovailoa with a plethora of playmakers.

WynnBet told Field Level Media that Tagovailoa’s odds to win MVP honors next season shortened from +1000 to +400.

The Chiefs agreed to the deal after being unable to agree on a contract extension with Hill. Kansas City will receive a bushel full of five draft picks in return for their dynamic playmaker, but how that might help them stay atop the uber-competitive AFC West won’t be known until draft day.

BetMGM said it did not adjust the Chiefs’ divisional odds, either, but they did move from +120 to +150 to win the AFC West at BetRivers and from +140 to +160 at WynnBet.

WynnBet also shifted Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ MVP odds slightly from +700 to +750.

–Field Level Media

Jan 30, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the AFC Championship game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Chiefs give WR Tyreek Hill permission to seek trade

The Kansas City Chiefs have given dynamic All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill permission to seek a trade amid stalled negotiations on a contract extension, NFL Network and ESPN reported Wednesday.

Hill rejected an extension that would have made him one of the highest-paid receivers in the league, per the report. It’s unclear how the offer compared to Davante Adams’ new deal ($28.25 million annual average value) in Las Vegas.

The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are at the forefront of teams vying to acquire Hill, per ESPN.

Hill is expected to get a massive extension and the Chiefs a big haul in return if a trade is completed.

Hill, 28, is a three-time All-Pro in his six seasons in Kansas City. He has made the Pro Bowl every year he’s been in the league. He has 479 career receptions for 6,630 yards and 56 touchdowns in 91 games (73 starts) for the Chiefs. He has another 719 yards rushing with six TDs.

He earned his sixth Pro Bowl appearance in 2021 after catching 111 passes for 1,239 yards and nine TDs.

The Chiefs selected Hill in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.

The 2022 NFL Draft is thought to be the “deepest in a decade” at wide receiver, per Field Level Media draft analyst Mark Jarvis.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Josh Gordon (19) leaves the field after the win over the Las Vegas Raiders at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Chiefs re-sign WR Josh Gordon for 2022 season

The Kansas City Chiefs have re-signed former Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon.

Gordon, who turns 31 next month, announced the move in a tweet Tuesday that read, “KC right where I wanna be! Ain’t gon lie. I’m hype for 2022 #ChiefsKingdom” — with NFL Media later reporting and clarifying his return to the Chiefs for the 2022 season.

Gordon joined the Chiefs in September shortly after the NFL reinstated him from an indefinite suspension he had received in December 2019. Gordon had been banned for violating the league’s rules on substance abuse and performance-enhancers.

Gordon has been suspended six times in his career.

Originally a second-round pick in the 2012 supplemental draft by the Cleveland Browns, Gordon broke through in his second season when he posted career highs with 87 receptions, an NFL-high 1,646 yards and nine touchdown catches. It marked his lone Pro Bowl selection.

Gordon missed two entire seasons to suspension in 2015 and 2016, returned in 2017 and played in Cleveland until 2018. He then suited up for parts of 2018-19 with the New England Patriots before moving on to Seattle for five games in 2019.

He then missed the 2020 season due to multiple suspensions. After joining Kansas City last season, Gordon had five receptions for 32 yards and a score in 12 games (seven starts).

Gordon has 252 career receptions for 4,284 yards and 21 touchdowns in 75 games (63 starts).

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown (57) lines up during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs use franchise tag on LT Orlando Brown

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown became the first player tagged in the NFL offseason on Monday.

Brown would make approximately $16.5 million on the franchise tag in 2022 if the two sides are unable to work out a long-term deal.

Acquired from the Baltimore Ravens for a first-round pick in the 2021 draft, Brown stabilized the left side of the Kansas City offensive line in a focused overhaul of the Chiefs’ front wall last offseason.

A third-round pick of the Ravens who began his career at right tackle, Brown is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who hiked his value by moving to the left side for the Ravens when Ronnie Stanley (ankle) was lost for the 2020 season.

Tagging Brown shifts the attention of general manager Brett Veach to safety Tyrann Mathieu, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next week.

Mathieu turns 30 in May and said he would love to be back in Kansas City. But he’s also expected to draw significant interest in free agency.

Signed to a three-year, $42 million deal in 2019, Mathieu was an All-Pro pick in his first two seasons in Kansas City.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Mathieu has 26 career interceptions and 10 sacks in 129 career games. He has played for the Chiefs, Texans and Arizona Cardinals.

Veach said he met with reps for Mathieu in Indianapolis but painted a wait-and-see picture that implied the Chiefs would let Mathieu entertain other offers while keeping the door open for his return.

Contract talks with Mathieu were complicated when the Minnesota Vikings and 32-year-old Harrison Smith signed a four-year deal worth $16 million per season in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy during the first quarter against the New York Giants at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs bring back Matt Nagy as senior assistant, QB coach

Fired by the Chicago Bears in January, Matt Nagy rejoined the Kansas City Chiefs as a senior assistant and quarterbacks coach.

Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs before he spent four seasons as head coach of the Bears.

Mike Kafka, the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach last season, was named offensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said when Nagy left Kansas City that he was influential in helping him “play fast, be myself” in the NFL.

The Chiefs signed current offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to a one-year contract this week.

Nagy joined the Chiefs under head coach Andy Reid in 2013 as quarterbacks coach and was elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2016. He was offensive coordinator in Kansas City in 2017, but Reid remained the primary play-caller.

–Field Level Media