NFL News and Notes: April 2, 2019

Ryan K

We’re now just a few weeks away from the NFL Draft, the next big milestone in the offseason. In the meantime, there’s still plenty going on around the league. Let’s check out all of the top headlines from the past week.

Packing It In

Jordy Nelson is the latest NFL player to hang up his pads and call it a day. He spent the first decade of his career in Green Bay, helping the Packers win Super Bowl XLV and becoming one of Aaron Rodgers’ most reliable targets. After the Packers cut him last offseason, Nelson signed with the Raiders and turned in a solid season. However, Oakland let him go after acquiring Antonio Brown.

Raiders Staying Busy

Speaking of the Raiders, they continue to have one of the busiest offseason of any team in the NFL. Over the past week, the Raiders agreed to deals with running back Isaiah Crowell, tight end Luke Willson, and linebacker Brandon Marshall. Crowell figures to fight with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington for playing time in the Oakland backfield this year after being released by the Jets. Willson has become a solid tight end and will help fill the void left by Jared Cook. Marshall, meanwhile, comes over after several seasons with the rival Broncos and should be a good addition to a defense that needs all the help they can get.

As Expected

After defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah didn’t report to the team’s offseason program on Monday because he was expecting to be traded, the Cleveland Browns did indeed trade him to the Chiefs for safety Eric Murray. Ogbah had been a starter for the Browns but will likely provide depth behind Alex Okafor, and Breeland Speaks in Kansas City. Murray, meanwhile, could be in line to start after the Browns waived safety Derrick Kindred prior to the trade.

Making Moves

The Eagles pulled off a trade this past week for Bears running back Jordan Howard. The Bears will receive either a 5th or 6th-round pick in the 2020 Draft in exchange for the 24-year-old Howard. Philadelphia appears likely to lose both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles in free agency, leaving a void in their backfield. Howard’s numbers were down slightly in 2018 after posting 1,000-yard seasons in both 2016 and 2017. The Bears previously added Mike Davis to their backfield to pair with Tarik Cohen.

Roar of the Lions

Elsewhere in running back news, the Detroit Lions agreed to a one-year deal with C.J. Anderson. The addition of Anderson will help to replace LeGarrette Blount, who the team did not re-sign. Anderson started 2018 with the Panthers but was let go in November after minimal productivity. However, he caught on with the Rams and turned out to be an important part of their Super Bowl run. In Detroit, Anderson will compete with Zach Zenner as the no. 2 back behind Kerryon Johnson.

Replenishing the Backfield

Another team added a running back this week, as the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Alfred Blue. In Houston, Blue was serving as the backup to Lamar Miller, and he will now serve as insurance for the injury-prone Leonard Fournette. The Jags previously signed Thomas Rawls and also have David Williams in their backfield, although Blue should head to training camp ahead of both on the depth chart.

Adding to the Defense

The Cowboys added to their defense this week by trading for defensive end Robert Quinn. Dallas acquired Quinn from the Dolphins for a 6th-round pick in next year’s draft. The Cowboys also gave Quinn a new contract worth $8 million plus incentives for one season. Dallas is uncertain if Randy Gregory will be able to play in 2019 after receiving an indefinite suspension for yet another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, giving them a need for another pass rusher. Quinn tallied 6.5 sacks last season, giving him 69 sacks over his eight years in the league.

Mystery Exit

In a rather abrupt move, Patriots defensive coordinator Greg Schiano resigned from his position, stating he needed to focus more on “faith and family.” Schiano had yet to be officially introduced as the team’s new defensive coordinator after being let go at Ohio State following last season. According to reports, Schiano had second thoughts about moving his family away from Columbus until his daughter, a high school sophomore, graduates. That leaves the Patriots looking for someone new to lead their defense after Brian Flores left after the Super Bowl to become the head coach of the Dolphins.