Brandin Cooks’ frustrations led to Saints sending him to Patriots

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Talks were reportedly hinging on what the Saints would receive in return for Cooks. New Orleans wanted the Patriots’ No. 32 pick, while New England didn’t want to part with cornerback Malcolm Butler. The sides compromised Friday evening.

The move marks the end of a month-long attempt by the Saints to deal Cooks, who was unhappy with his role last season in New Orleans. The resulting trade ends up looking like a win-win for both clubs, as the Saints rid themselves of a messy relationship and receive a first-round selection in return, one that will be used to beef up their defense, Rapoport reports.

Former Browns and Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger will ink a deal with New Orleans, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The 30-year-old was let go by the Browns this week after three seasons and 18 sacks.

While Cleveland may be in a full on youth movement, the Saints have been stacking vets on defense all offseason long. Despite a promising young core that features players like Stephone Anthony, Delvin Breaux, Obum Gwacham and 2016 first-round pick Sheldon Rankins, the team also grabbed Cortland Finnegan and cheap jerseys and Roman Harper.

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Internally, when Payton discussed the issue with Cooks, the receiver never left satisfied. The longtime coach pacified the issue, telling Cooks he’d get targets. And the following week he did — a season-high seven catches the next week. But Cooks felt the elephant in the room — Brees’ arm strength not enabling him to find Cooks deep — couldn’t be talked about on any level.

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That was frustrating to him, though personally and professionally he loved Brees. The situation and Cooks’ feelings were addressed with Payton, his receivers coach John Morton, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and general manager Mickey Loomis. Some talks even began in the preseason.

Evan was drafted by New Orleans back in 2006. He missed just seven starts over 10 seasons with the club, who cut him in February after the veteran refused to agree to a pay cut.

After flaming out with the Seahawks this offseason, Evans would loom as an immediate starter with the Saints, who continue to shuffle their line just days before meeting the Raiders in the opener.

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When the (draft) process started, we were talking about him in the late teens, early 20s. I think he’s back up here in the mix right around the top 10 because he’s so explosive off the edge. The effort just blows you away with how hard he plays.

He really could be a three-phase player on defense, special teams, and offense as an occasional gadget player. He’s not quite polished at corner, but he could be a Pro Bowl punt returner from Day 1.

New Orleans was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Superdome stood as a symbol of what went wrong. The building that had once hosted Super Bowls was tattered with part of its roof ripped off as thousands huddled inside seeking shelter from the rising waters. Stories from the inside were grim. Many suggested the Saints abandon the building. Some wouldn’t have blamed owner Tom Benson if he scurried to San Antonio. Other businesses had left town. But Benson stayed, rebuilt and emerged even stronger.

On September 25, 2006, the Saints returned to the Superdome for the first time since Katrina, hosting the rival Falcons for a prime-time tilt on Monday Night Football.

Perfect Pairs: Ideal top two draft picks for Washington Redskins

The move comes after McCloughan was absent from Redskins Park this week, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Tony Wyllie, the Redskins’ senior vice president of communications, told NFL.com, “we’re busy with free agency,” when asked Tuesday about McCloughan’s whereabouts.

McCloughan’s absence comes after he didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis because of a death in his family, Allen said. There also were multiple reports about dysfunction in the team’s front office.

Manusky joined the Redskins in 2016 after four seasons as the Indianapolis Colts’ DC. The 50 year old began his coaching career in Washington (as linebackerS coach) in 2001. He then spent stints as a defensive coordinator in San Francisco (2007-2010) and San Diego (2011) before heading to Indy.

The Redskins fired Joe Barry two weeks ago after a disappointing 2016 season. Washington ended the season ranked 28th in yards allowed. Barry’s defense failed to force a turnover in four of the unit’s final six games and allowed 140-plus rushing yards in the final three tilts.

He’s someone who can play off the ball on run downs, he can run sideline to sideline with all kinds of range and athleticism, and in passing situations, if you want to let him put his hand on the ground and go hunt quarterbacks, he can do that.

The Redskins have to get better at stopping the run. Tomlinson has been underrated throughout this process and is a rock-solid run defender. He helps this team get better because he can eat up blockers and allow linebackers to run and chase.

The Washington Post first reported the news. Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie told NFL.com, “We’re busy with free agency,” when asked about McCloughan’s whereabouts.

McCloughan’s absence comes after he didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis because of a death in his family, Redskins president Bruce Allen said. There also were multiple reports about dysfunction in the team’s front office.

Jacksonville is the team to watch in the Calais Campbell sweepstakes, according to Rapoport. One year after the Jaguars paid the most guaranteed money to any free agent (Malik Jackson), general manager Dave Caldwell could do again with Campbell. The Broncos also have been reported as contenders for Campbell, our No. 2 overall free agent, but they don’t have the cap space Jacksonville can offer.

It looks like the Los Angeles Rams might not pay cornerback Trumaine Johnson $16.7 million this season after all. Rapoport reported that the team is listening to trade offers for Johnson, which usually translates to: “Please send us offers.” Former Rams coordinator Gregg Williams is now with the Browns, which makes Cleveland a logical landing spot.

He said that ’cause I was starter at free safety. Last year, I was starting nickel [corner] and have played there this year. I am the third corner, the other strong [safety] and I was the starting kick returner and backup punt returner. So I’m pretty much Swiss Army knife/Band-Aid. I got all kinds of nicknames.

You can have a great coach but he can’t be in every room at the same time. Whoever is hired [as Washington’s defensive coordinator], it’s important that he hires the right staff. The position coaches are in the ones teaching, motivating these guys and inspiring these guys to do well.

L.A. Chargers release Brandon Flowers, two others

“For more than a decade, the San Diego Chargers have worked diligently toward finding a local stadium solution, which all sides agreed was required. These efforts took on added intensity in the last two years. A year ago, NFL owners granted the Chargers an option to move to Los Angeles. Rather than immediately exercising that option, the team spent the past year continuing to work on finding a stadium solution in San Diego.

The Chargers worked tirelessly this past year with local officials and community leaders on a ballot initiative that fell short on election day. That work – and the years of effort that preceded it – reflects our strongly held belief we always should do everything we can to keep a franchise in its community. That’s why we have a deliberate and thoughtful process for making these decisions.

This is as much bold as it is sad. As the Cavaliers begin their title defense and the Indians recover from a heartbreaking defeat in the World Series, the Browns are careening toward rock bottom. But the future remains bright.

It’s difficult to go 0-16. It’s more likely that they’ll eventually pull one out. But these are bold predictions, and we’re going bold by placing the Browns among history’s worst. They’ll finish winless, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions, enter the offseason with the first pick in the 2017 draft and look ahead to better days. Coach Hue Jackson has begun the shift in culture, as evidenced by the effort the Browns put into each game, which inevitably ends in crushing defeat. Small strides will be made on the field, which will serve as encouragement for the future. The front office will continue to do its best to stock the team with talent. They’ll give their best shot at retaining recently acquired Jamie Collins and work with a gob of salary-cap space in the coming years. But it will come with a meeting with the record books for the worst reason in 2016. The night is always darkest before the dawn.

After signing Russell Okung to protect Philip Rivers’ blind side, the Bolts released veteran tackle King Dunlap, the team announced Monday. Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager first reported the news.

Dunlap was arrested last month on suspicion of violating a protective order. Signed to a four-year, $28 million extension in February of 2015, he was due to collect a $500,000 roster bonus on March 18.

As well as Ingram played in 2016, though, Bosa is the headliner on defense. The draft’s No. 3 overall pick is already the dominant force on the field in many games, pulling off a convincing J.J. Watt impression. The most impressive rookie pass rusher of the past decade, finishing second only to the Rams’ Aaron Donald in QB hits per game.

Bosa and Ingram shouldn’t overshadow a well-rounded linebacker corps featuring the hard-hitting Denzel Perryman, fifth-round steal Jatavis Brown, tackling machine Korey Toomer and jack-of-all-trades Kyle Emanuel.

Taken 11th overall in 2013, Fluker was drafted to give the Chargers a plug-and-play starter at tackle. Instead, the 25-year-old has spent much of the past two seasons at guard, finishing 2016 as the league’s 54th-ranked player at his position, per Pro Football Focus. As the metrics site noted, Fluker allowed 2.5 pressures per game at right guard and 3.2 per tilt at right tackle while failing to stand out as a run blocker.

While Fluker has been a disappointment, he offers size — he’s 6-foot-5 and 339 pounds — and starting experience at multiple positions along the line. The former Alabama star joins a crop of solid free-agent lineman, with Kevin Zeitler, T.J. Lang, Larry Warford, Nick Mangold and Brian Schwenke all sitting out there as viable interior options.

I knew [the Chargers’ move to Los Angeles] could happen by the end of the week, you know, the week I interviewed. I didn’t really focus on that, though; it didn’t have any input on my decision whatsoever. I coach football, and, like I said, we’ll play wherever. I just looked at this organization and looked at this roster and just felt like this was a good spot.

In my press conference today I said, “San Diego Chargers” — I’m so used to saying that. And I can understand their pain and their frustration. But if you’re a Charger fan, we’re just two hours down the road. Nothing’s changed. And we’re gonna do the best we can to put a product on the field that makes you proud.

Kansas City Chiefs, GM John Dorsey agree to part ways

While the Chiefs still owe him $2.5 million guaranteed, they want Howard to sign with another team before the draft, so that they are off the hook for that amount in 2017.

The 28-year-old was placed on injured reserve in December after suffering a hip flexor in midseason. In four seasons in Kansas City, Howard recorded 7.5 sacks and 122 combined tackles.

Safety Eric Berry slid out of the first Chiefs locker room to win a division championship since his rookie season of 2010 nonplussed. He’s been to the playoffs three times before. This group won a playoff game together last season. Sunday’s 37-27 victory over the Chargers, which helped clinch a bye and the No. 2 seed in the AFC, was an example of why this Chiefs group can accomplish so much more.

In this Any Given Sunday league, the Chiefs put out nearly the same product every weekend. They have a proven formula, one that makes them one of only three legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, along with New England and Pittsburgh.

Sunday night was an incredibly good time for the Kansas City Chiefs. They trounced their AFC West rival in front of a nationally televised audience on Christmas. They clinched a playoff berth before that 33-10 win over the Denver Broncos actually ever kicked off. They also unveiled something that will be critical to any success they hope to enjoy now that they’ve punched their ticket to the postseason: an offense that might have enough juice to get them where they hope to go.

This year’s Chiefs have excelled at finding different ways to win games. What they haven’t done often is what they did against a defense as elite as Denver’s. The Chiefs ran the ball for 238 yards. They threw it for another 246. The big plays were there as well, as rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill produced a 70-yard touchdown run and tight end Travis Kelce scored on an 80-yard pass play.

The Eagles fired Andy Reid on Dec. 31, 2012. A Monday. The Chiefs hired him on Friday of that week. Wow. That window wasn’t open very long. Kind of like Maggie on “How I Met Your Mother” in Season 5. I wonder if the Hunts got a call from an old lady in Philly to let them know Reid was single. Because that was pretty damn quick. But it was a smart move, too.

It also didn’t take Eagles fans long to be pissed about this. Because they hired Chip Kelly. That was fun (for about a second). Until it wasn’t (about a second later, after Kelly had discarded a whole bunch of talent). Meanwhile, Reid took over a team that had just gone 2-14 and punched a playoff ticket, going 11-5 in Year 1. The Chiefs are 43-21 under Reid so far. They are one of five teams with a winning record in each of the past four seasons (along with New England, Green Bay, Denver and Seattle). And they are doing it with Alex Smith.

The Chiefs have one candidate in mind. Rapoport reported over the weekend Kansas City has added ESPN analyst Louis Riddick to their candidate list for the GM job and hope to interview him next week. Riddick wrote on Twitter that the Chiefs have yet to contact him regarding an interview.

After losing their No. 2 personnel man, Chris Ballard, to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, Dorsey was viewed as the stabilizing force who could keep the consistently steady Chiefs on track. Dorsey’s personnel staff have uncovered several draft gems over the past few seasons, helping them reach the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. The Chiefs have never finished lower than second place with Reid and Dorsey in the building together.

There’s been a lot of early-season talk about the new Alex Smith, especially after he lit up New England for 368 yards and four touchdowns. It’s more accurate to say this is simply a better version of the same guy. Anybody who thought Smith was going to continue generating crazy numbers on a weekly basis was living a fantasy. The pragmatic signal caller who showed up this past Sunday is more of what the Chiefs ultimately need right now.

That 42-27 win over New England was something to behold, make no mistake. Just as impressive was the way Kansas City battled through adversity against an Eagles team that surprisingly made for a much tougher opponent.

Jay Cutler might remain with Chicago Bears after this season

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That was neither an acknowledgment that he’d like to get Trubisky his own package, nor a comparison between his rookie and Tebow, who owned a very different skill set. In truth, inserting Trubisky in for a few plays here or there as a rookie makes little sense for a player who needs a boatload of reps to get used to reading NFL defenses.

The question of how long Glennon holds on to the starting gig will hover over the franchise all summer and into the fall. That’s merely the byproduct of selecting a quarterback with the second pick.

Entering his seventh season, Amukamara played on a one-year deal with the Jaguars last season, starting 12 games and finishing the campaign as the league’s 42nd-ranked cover man, per Pro Football Focus.

His Jacksonville stop came after five years in New York, where the 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft battled a laundry list of injuries but still showed moments of promise.

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The 28-year-old was placed on injured reserve in December after suffering a hip flexor in midseason. In four seasons in Kansas City, Howard recorded 7.5 sacks and wholesale jerseys and 122 combined tackles.

Howard joins a Bears defensive line that looks roughly the same as last season’s, anchored by Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman. If Howard recovers from his injury without incident, he should be the Week 1 starter at defensive end.Kevin Durant jersey

In addition to the injury, he’s also dealing with significant wear-and-tear on this right shoulder from years of bumps, bruises and countless throws. The result is painful tendonitis that threatens to end his season.

A week after the initial injury, Cutler is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Titans. He won’t play and Matt Barkley will start. There is not a lot of optimism Cutler will return to the field this season, though the team considers him one of their toughest players so they haven’t ruled out that prospect. They want to give him every opportunity to return, which would also mean they wouldn’t have to start Barkley through the balance of the season.

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Rather than believing the Giants would purposely sabotage their own offense, which struggled to move the ball for major portions of last season, Cruz should realize a large portion in his production drop was tied to his move from the slot to the outside. With Sterling Shepard taking over the slot role, Cruz struggled as an outside receiver.

The veteran wideout confirmed that during offseason workouts with the Bears that he’s spent most of his time working out of the slot.

“Still D.R.E.” is an all-time banger from Dr. Dre that kicked off a huge career resurgence for the West Coast legend and reminded the world that Snoop Dogg was still a Randy Moss-like force. “D.R.E.”, though not as popular as subsequent Dre singles, remains a must include for any old school hip-hop mix from the era.

At the heart of the 1999 single, released somewhat confusingly, on Dre’s comeback record 2001 — is a looping piano riff that serves as the backbone of the entire song. It still sounds great today, and apparently we’re not the only ones with healthy appreciation for a classic.