NFL free agency: Ryan Fitzpatrick to join Washington; Broncos exercise option for Von Miller Leave a comment


Washington has agreed to sign veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, according to a person with direct knowledge of the move.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the deal cannot be official until the new league year starts Wednesday.

Fitzpatrick — or “FitzMagic” — gives Washington more experience at football’s most important position after it released Alex Smith. The team now has Fitzpatrick, journeyman-turned-playoff standout Taylor Heinicke and coach Ron Rivera favorite Kyle Allen under contract at quarterback.

Washington also has the 19th pick in the draft and could use one of its first few selections on a quarterback of the future. Fitzpatrick would be in the mix for the present on what’s expected to be a one-year deal.

Fitzpatrick is joining his ninth different NFL team at age 38 after stints with the St. Louis Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins. He started seven and played in nine games last season for Miami, throwing for 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Harvard graduate who was a seventh-round pick, 250th overall, in the same 2005 draft where Smith went first, has since appeared in 165 NFL games, all in the regular season. He has 223 touchdowns, 179 interceptions and thrown for 34,977 yards.

— Stephen Whyno

Raiders to release center Rodney Hudson

The Las Vegas Raiders are planning to release star center Rodney Hudson as part of a major overhaul of the team’s offensive line.

A person familiar with the move said Tuesday that Hudson will be released with two years left on his current contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move hadn’t been announced.

The Raiders are completely revamping their offensive line that was one of the most expensive in the league. The team has agreed to trade right tackle Trent Brown to New England in a deal that will be finalized Wednesday and cut left guard Richie Incognito. Right guard Gabe Jackson is also expected to be cut but that move hasn’t happened yet.

In six seasons with the Raiders, Hudson has been the anchor of what has been one of the better offensive lines in the league. He made Pro Bowls in 2016, ‘17 and ‘19 and was a second-team All-Pro in 2019 as well. He played in 94% of the team’s offensive snaps, missing only three games in 2015 and one in 2019. He played every snap in each of the other four seasons.

With Hudson on his way out, the Raiders are expected to turn the center duties over to Andre James, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2019. James started one game in place of Hudson in 2019 and has played 116 offensive snaps in his career.

— Josh Dubow

Broncos exercise option for Von Miller

The Denver Broncos have exercised star linebacker Von Miller’s 2021 option.

The move engages the final season of the six-year, $114.5 million contract Miller signed in 2016 in the aftermath of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance.

It also guarantees him $7 million of his $17.5 million base salary.

Tuesday was the deadline to exercise the option or Miller, who turns 32 this month, would have become an unrestricted free agent. The Broncos tweeted without comment an image of Miller celebrating the team’s Super Bowl triumph five years ago.

Miller has recovered from an ankle injury that sidelined him all of last season, and he recently was cleared of off-the-field concerns when the local district attorney’s office declined to bring charges against him following an unspecified investigation by the Parker, Colo., police department.

Before that, new general manager George Paton said he wanted Miller to remain in Denver but was monitoring his legal situation before committing to his return.

Miller is the Broncos’ all-time leader with 106 regular-season sacks and 25 forced fumbles. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler.

The move to keep Miller came a day after the Broncos agreed to three-year deals with defensive end Shelby Harris and cornerback Ronald Darby.

— Arnie Stapleton

Kendrick Bourne agrees to three-year deal with Patriots

The Patriots have agreed to terms on a three-year, $22.5 million contract with free agent receiver Kendrick Bourne.

His agent, Henry Organ of Disruptive Sports, says the dealcould be worth as much as $22.5 million.

New England entered free agency looking to spend at least a portion of the more than $65 million it had in salary cap space to upgrade its receiver group. The Patriots’ receivers combined for only four touchdown receptions this past season.

The 25-year-old Bourne has caught 11 touchdowns in his four seasons in San Francisco. He’ll arrive in Foxborough coming off his best season in 2020, catching 49 passes for 667 yards.

— Kyle Hightower

Jameis Winston to stay with Saints

The New Orleans Saints are bringing back quarterback Jameis Winston on a one-year contract.

The move announced by Saints general manager Mickey Loomis comes on the heels of Drew Brees’ decision over the weekend to retire and provides Winston a chance to compete with Taysom Hill to be New Orleans’ next starter under center.

Winston entered the NFL with high expectations after winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy and being selected first overall by Tampa Bay in the 2015 NFL draft. He started five seasons for the Buccaneers, who allowed Winston to walk in free agency in 2020 after opting instead to sign Tom Brady.

Brady led the Buccaneers to the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory while Winston served as a backup for the NFC South Division champion Saints.

Winston played only sparingly in his first season in New Orleans, even when Brees missed four games with rib and lung injuries. Hill went 3-1 as a starter in Brees’ absence.

In all, Winston appeared in four regular season games for New Orleans, completing seven of 11 passes for 75 yards.

He also took the field for a trick play in an NFC divisional round playoff loss to Tampa Bay, completing a 56-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith to gave the Saints a 13-10 lead.

— Brett Martel

Etc.

The Chicago Bears and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. have agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2023, the team announced on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Vikings agreed to terms on a contract with former New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson on Monday night, according to his agency.





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