Jan 7, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) celebrates after a play during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Vikings remake backfield, to add QB Sam Darnold, RB Aaron Jones

Sam Darnold and the Minnesota Vikings agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract and bolstered the backfield with another addition as the franchise moves on from quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Former Packers running back Aaron Jones, released Monday, agreed to a $7 million contract for 2024 with Green Bay’s NFC North rival, according to multiple reports.

ESPN and NFL Network first reported details of the Darnold deal, which can become official when the league year begins Wednesday.

Cousins agreed to a four-year, $180 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons within hours of the start of the free agency negotiating period on Monday. Cousins, who turns 36 in August, and the Vikings discussed his return but the price range escalated beyond the franchise’s comfort zone.

Jones and the Packers split following the pending signing of free agent running back Josh Jacobs. The former Raiders first-round pick is set to sign a reported four-year, $48 million deal to replace Jones in Green Bay.

Keeping both would’ve been too expensive and Jones took a paycut to stay with the Packers before the 2023 season.

With 5,940 rushing yards, Jones ranks third in team history, but his next employer will be visiting Lambeau Field as a guest.

“As good of a player as Aaron is on the field, he is an even better person,” said Packers coach Matt LaFleur. “When I arrived in Green Bay as a first-time head coach, he was instrumental in establishing our winning culture and always served as the greatest example of what it meant to be a Packer. Aaron will always be one of the best players I had the opportunity to coach. He, his son, Junior, his mom, Vurgess, and his family will be missed.”

Jones’ cap number for 2024 would’ve been $17,575,824 with Green Bay after missing six games due to injuries last season.

The Vikings released running back Alexander Mattison before free agency began. He started the season as the No. 1 running back but was ineffective, ceding the spot to Ty Chandler. Mattison rushed for a career-best 700 yards in 2023.

In Darnold, the Vikings would add an experienced starter looking to prove he’s deserving of that role again after a one-year stint as Brock Purdy’s backup with the San Francisco 49ers. Darnold, drafted No. 3 overall by the New York Jets in 2018, will be playing for a fourth NFL team in five seasons. He was traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2021.

Darnold, 26, is relatively young for a seventh-year pro. He’s one year and one day older than Steelers 2022 first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett, for example, and Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels of LSU — a likely first-round pick in 2024 — will be 24 years old in December.

Darnold worked under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Shanahan was Cousins’ initial offensive coordinator in the NFL and runs a derivative of the same offense Minnesota employs under Kevin O’Connell, whose coaching roots trace to Shanahan comrade Sean McVay.

Cousins was largely a backup for three seasons in Washington before he became a starter in his fourth season. He spent the past six seasons with the Vikings, throwing for more than 4,200 yards four times with 26-plus touchdowns in each of his five full seasons.

Cousins was tied for the NFL lead with 18 touchdown passes when he suffered a ruptured right Achilles eight weeks into the 2023 season.

Minnesota acquired journeyman Joshua Dobbs days later to beat the NFL trade deadline and went through a musical chairs rotation at quarterback without the reliable Cousins at the helm, trying Nick Mullens and 2023 fifth-round pick Jaren Hall when Dobbs faltered after leading a stirring win over the Falcons.

Darnold started the Week 18 regular-season finale in Purdy’s place with the 49ers’ playoff position locked up, completing 16 of 26 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown in a 21-20 loss to the Rams.

The Vikings are expected to be in the market for a quarterback in the draft and have the No. 11 overall pick.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (78) runs onto the field before the game against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans LT Laremy Tunsil exits after penalty, prior to pick-6

Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil was forced out of Sunday’s game against the host Tennessee Titans in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury, but hobbled back onto the field a few minutes later.

Tunsil was replaced by Josh Jones, temporarily giving the Houston offense an alignment of backup right tackle Charlie Heck and Jones protecting No. 2 quarterback Case Keenum.

Before Tunsil went to the blue tent on the sideline in the second quarter, he was flagged for a false start on a 3rd-and-5 play that pushed Houston back five yards. On the next snap, Keenum’s toss was intercepted by Titans defensive back Elijah Molden and returned 45 yards for a Tennessee touchdown and 13-0 lead barely a minute into the second quarter.

Tunsil has played with a knee injury much of the season.

Keenum made the start over Davis Mills with starter C.J. Stroud out for the first time this season due to a concussion.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) and quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) talk with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Patriots to start Bailey Zappe, bench Mac Jones

All signs point to Bailey Zappe replacing Mac Jones as the starting quarterback for the Patriots on Sunday.

Zappe and Malik Cunningham were the only quarterbacks to throw passes with the first-team skill position players on Wednesday with Jones on scout team duty.

New England (2-9) lost its last four games. Jones has 12 interceptions and 10 touchdowns in 2023. He’s 29th in the NFL with a 77.0 passer rating.

After practice on Wednesday, Zappe said he would have more to say on Thursday when he, and not Jones, would be at the podium spot New England reserves for its starting quarterback dating to the Tom Brady glory days.

Zappe made two starts last season, leading New England to wins in both games.

The Athletic reported late Wednesday that Zappe and others were informed he’ll be the starter against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Jones was benched in-game for the fourth time this season last week against the New York Giants, with Zappe entering the game following two Jones interceptions.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster offered a brief appraisal of Zappe’s practice session on Wednesday.

“He looked good. Making throws. Moving the chains,” Smith-Schuster said.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2023; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and general manager Joe Schoen, left, on day two of training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Giants GM: ‘Expectation’ is Daniel Jones returns as QB1

Giants general manager Joe Schoen plans to add a quarterback before the 2024 season, but the franchise’s expectation is for Daniel Jones to recover from knee surgery and remain the starter next season.

Schoen said the Giants could draft a quarterback — even in the first round, based on a philosophy to draft the best available player — but he still believes in Jones.

“I’ve seen it. You guys all saw last season. The guy won 10 games. He won a road playoff game for the Giants,” Schoen said.

Schoen said the Giants signed current starter Tommy DeVito, an undrafted free agent rookie, to a three-year deal when he was added to the 53-man roster.

But he said the “expectation” shared with ownership and the coaching staff in regular meetings is for Jones to take the field with the Giants in July as the starter.

Schoen said Jones’ successful knee surgery last week has him on a timeline to return before training camp. Jones, who signed a four-year, $160 million contract in March, said last week that his recovery period could be 8-10 months. Camp begins in eight months.

“So we’ll attack that and approach that, work on that day by day and try to get back as fast as I can,” Jones last week on the “Up & Adams Show.”

Jones, 26, finished with two touchdown passes and six interceptions in six games this season. He also missed three games with a neck injury.

Jones is 22-36-1 as a starter with 62 touchdown passes and 40 picks in 60 games (59 starts) since being drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in 2019.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles center Cam Jurgens (51) blocks against the Washington Commanders at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles open practice window for OL Cam Jurgens

The Philadelphia Eagles opened the 21-day practice window Wednesday for offensive lineman Cam Jurgens.

The second-year guard/center went on injured reserve with a sprained foot on Oct. 7 and missed four games.

Jurgens, 24, started the first four games this season after coming off the bench in all 17 games as a rookie.

The Eagles also signed wide receiver Julio Jones to the active roster ahead of Sunday’s game against the visiting Dallas Cowboys.

Jones, 34, caught an 8-yard touchdown pass in Philadelphia’s 38-31 win at Washington last Sunday. The seven-time Pro Bowler has two receptions for 11 yards in two games since signing with the Eagles on Oct. 17.

Philadelphia also signed tight end E.J. Jenkins to the practice squad on Wednesday. He spent time this summer with the New York Jets after going undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2023.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) leaves the game with an injury against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 8, 2023.

Giants QB Daniel Jones cleared for contact

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was cleared for contact and is expected to be back in uniform this week.

The Giants (2-6) lost to the Jets on Sunday, their fifth loss in the past six games, and backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game with a rib injury.

Taylor started the past three games in place of Jones, who was injured in New York’s 31-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 8.

Jones, 26, was sacked 28 times in the first five games of the season as the Giants have waded through multiple injuries on their offensive line.

The Giants visit the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9, the first of three consecutive road games that include stops at NFC East division foes Dallas and Washington.

On the season, Jones has completed 68.9 percent of his pass attempts for 884 yards but has only two touchdown throws against six interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones (7) runs to the sideline before a NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Jaguars WR Zay Jones (knee) out vs. Steelers

Jacksonville wideout Zay Jones will miss his third straight game Sunday at Pittsburgh with a knee injury, Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said Friday.

Pederson said he hopes Jones will be able to return after the team’s bye in Week 9.

Jones was injured in the Week 2 loss to Kansas City, then missed two games and returned in Week 5 for a 25-20 victory over Buffalo. He caught a touchdown pass but re-injured the knee in that Oct. 8 game in London.

Jones, 28, has eight receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns in three games. Last season, his first in Jacksonville, he was second on the team with 82 receptions for 823 yards and five touchdowns.

Pederson said defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, who has not played this season because of a back injury, could be available Sunday when the Jaguars (5-2) visit the Steelers (4-2).

“DaVon is trending well,” Pederson said Friday. “He’s practiced in full this week. We’ll get another good day today and then we’ll see how it feels and where he’s at.”

Hamilton, 26, was a third-round pick of the Jaguars in the 2020 draft out of Ohio State. He has played in 44 games (28 starts) and has 132 total tackles, including 4 1/2 sacks and nine tackles for loss.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the ESPN Monday Night Football Countdown set at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ready to buy if right trade arrives

Nothing about the Halloween trade deadline in the NFL seems spooky to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“I’m by nature active. I’m by nature a risk taker. Don’t come by unless you want to be struck at. We will trade,” Jones said Thursday. “Make no mistake about it. We will make a deal, but it’s certainly got a high bar because I like our team.”

The Cowboys (4-2) are back home this week to play the Rams before the first of two games against NFC East rival Philadelphia. The Eagles (6-1) lead the division and acquired two-time All-Pro safety Kevin Byard from the Titans this week.

Jones showed a willingness to deal to build the current roster. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and backup quarterback Trey Lance all were acquired via trade.

On multiple occasions since training camp began, Jones mentioned depth at the offensive line and secondary spots as possible need areas. But more recently he said almost every NFL team is light on quality backups on the offensive line.

Would the season-ending injury to cornerback Trevon Diggs pushed him to make a deal before 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday?

“I don’t see anything heated up to a level that would cause something to happen,” Jones said. “If we don’t do anything at this trade deadline, we’ve got a team that can get us where we want to go.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Jack Jones (13) takes a selfie with a fan during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots activate CB Jack Jones, put OT Riley Reiff on IR

The New England Patriots activated cornerback Jack Jones from injured reserve and placed offensive tackle Riley Reiff on the same list on Saturday.

Jones, 25, is slated to make his season debut in Sunday’s game against the visiting Buffalo Bills. He was placed on IR prior to the start of the season due to a hamstring injury.

Jones had two interceptions — returning one for a touchdown — plus one forced fumble and 30 tackles in 13 games (two starts) as a rookie last season. He was a fourth-round draft pick.

Reiff, 34, is now on injured reserve for the second time this season. He began the season on IR due to a knee injury.

The 12-year veteran returned to play against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 and sustained a new knee injury. That caused him to miss last Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Reiff has played in 164 games (149 starts) with the Detroit Lions (2012-16), Minnesota Vikings (2017-20), Cincinnati Bengals (2021), Chicago Bears (2022) and Patriots.

New England also activated special teamer Cody Davis (knee) from the physically unable to perform list. The 34-year-old has played in 133 career games with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2013-17), Jacksonville Jaguars (2018-19) and Patriots.

The Patriots also elevated defensive tackle Trysten Hill and receiver Jalen Reagor from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) leaves the game with an injury against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, October 8, 2023.

Giants QB Daniel Jones (neck) still not cleared for contact

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has been cleared to throw and was a limited practice participant Wednesday.

Jones is dealing with a neck injury and missed Sunday night’s 14-9 road loss against the Buffalo Bills.

Giants coach Brian Daboll said Jones isn’t yet cleared for contact. New York hosts the Washington Commanders on Sunday and Daboll doesn’t yet know if Jones will be able to play.

“Whenever the doctors tell me he’s cleared,” Daboll said of Jones. “Right now, he’s able to throw, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Jones was injured during a 31-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5.

“He’s eager to come back. He wants to play,” Daboll said. “But obviously, just like any player, if you’re not ready to play based on the doctor’s evaluation, we won’t put him out there, but he’s getting better.”

Jones said he is making strides in his recovery and that the throwing is going well.

“I felt good throwing,” Jones said. “I’ve been throwing for a few days now.”

Daboll said Jones will be the starting quarterback if healthy. He has thrown for 884 yards in his five games this season and two touchdowns but has been intercepted six times.

Tyrod Taylor started in the loss to the Bills and was 24-for-36 passing for 200 yards. But he cost the Giants a shot at points at the end of the first half when he handed the ball off inside the Bills’ 5-yard line without a timeout. Saquon Barkley was stopped short as time ran out.

Taylor said he isn’t overly concerned with who is the starting quarterback against Washington, but will make sure he is prepared.

“That’s up to the coaches and the training staff, that’s not necessarily my focus, not to say it in a bad way, it’s not my concern either,” Taylor said. “I have to prepare myself mentally and physically each and every week as if my number could get called.”

Starting offensive tackles Andrew Thomas (hamstring) and Evan Neal (ankle), starting center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) and backup tackle Matt Peart (shoulder) all missed Wednesday’s practice. Also sitting out was receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (knee).

–Field Level Media