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Monday, September 16, 2019

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Antonio Brown reportedly rejected $2 million settlement with Britney Taylor

Antonio Brown had an opportunity to reach a settlement with the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her on numerous occasions, but the star wide receiver decided not to sign off on the agreement after months of negotiations.

Brown had been discussing settlement options with his former friend and trainer, Britney Taylor, since April and was given a deadline of last Sunday night to sign a proposed agreement, but ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports that he opted against it. The deadline expired around the same time Brown agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots, and Taylor filed her civil lawsuit in court on Tuesday.

The settlement reportedly would have paid Taylor in excess of $2 million.

Neither the NFL nor the Patriots knew of the allegations against Brown prior to the lawsuit being filed, and that is because the previous discussions between Brown and Taylor were confidential. It’s unclear if Brown verbally agreed to the settlement and then later changed his mind.

Taylor has accused Brown of sexually assaulting her on two separate occasions in 2017 and raping her in 2018. She is scheduled to meet with the NFL on Monday and is willing to fully cooperate with the league’s investigation.

The Patriots supposedly would not have signed Brown had they known about the allegations, but they chose to stick with him after the lawsuit was filed. Brown’s contract with the Patriots includes $9 million guaranteed, and he practiced with the team this week and will play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Report: Redskins will make Trent Williams pay fines, won’t give him new deal

Trent Williams

Trent Williams is set to miss his second straight game with the Washington Redskins on Sunday as his holdout continues, and the team has no intention of giving into the All-Pro tackle’s demands.

Williams has accrued $1.2 million in fines and owes Washington $743,000 for a pro-rated portion of his signing bonus, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the team will not forgive the fines if Williams decides to show up. They also reportedly have no plans to sign him to a new contract.

Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowler, is scheduled to make nearly $11 million this season and $12.5 million next year. While he is one of the best left tackles in football, he is 31 and has missed several games due to injuries in recent years. His issues with the Redskins also appear to be about more than just money.

He has not spoken about it publicly, but Williams is said to be at odds with Washington’s medical staff over the way his health scare was handled this offseason. One of his former teammate’s said last week that Williams’ holdout would likely end sooner rather than later, but the fines are piling up.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys reportedly at ‘impasse’ in contract talks

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys have expressed confidence publicly that they will be able to sign Dak Prescott to a long-term extension before the quarterback becomes a free agent, but negotiations may not be progressing as quickly as Jerry Jones claims they are.

Prescott and the Cowboys are not expected to have a new contract in place in the foreseeable future, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. While Jones said last week that an extension was “imminent,” talks have apparently hit a snag.

According to Rapoport, the holdup may be due to the Cowboys wanting to continue with their recent trend of signing players to deals spanning five or more years, while Prescott likely wants a contract more in line with the four-year extensions Jared Goff and Carson Wentz recently signed.

Prescott is only 26, so a four-year contract would allow him to potentially hit the free agent market again at age 30. The NFL salary cap will have risen significantly at that point, so he could capitalize on a new quarterback market. The Cowboys, understandably, would like to avoid that.

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones walked back Jerry’s comments about the Prescott extension being imminent, though there have been other indications that the discussions are progressing.

Report: Patriots would not have signed Antonio Brown if they knew about lawsuit

Robert Kraft

The New England Patriots were reportedly blindsided when a sexual assault lawsuit was filed against Antonio Brown earlier in the week, and the star wide receiver apparently would never have ended up with the team if they were aware of the allegations.

Robert Kraft would not have authorized his team to sign Brown had the Patriots been aware of Britney Taylor’s sexual assault allegations against him, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. Neither the Patriots nor the NFL were aware of the allegations, which we recently learned is because Brown and Taylor were involved in confidential legal talks for months.

You could make the argument that the Patriots should have cut Brown once the allegations came to light if they would never have signed him if they had knowledge of them, but at that point they had already given him $9 million guaranteed. It may not be admirable, but money and winning are typically the two biggest priorities for NFL teams.

The Patriots have been high on Brown since the Pittsburgh Steelers placed him on the trade market last offseason, so they jumped at the opportunity to sign him when he forced his way out of Oakland. Jason La Canfora reports that Bill Belichick was among the first people to call the Steelers when a divorce between Brown and his former team became inevitable. Belichick was told it would take a first-round pick plus either an impact player or another “significant draft pick” to land Brown, and the coach said that would not be a problem. However, Steelers officials then informed Belichick that the Patriots were among a handful of rival teams with whom they were not authorized to make a trade.

Brown practiced with the Patriots even after Taylor filed her lawsuit in court on Tuesday, so the Patriots seem content to let the NFL determine the seven-time Pro Bowler’s fate. It remains unclear if they will want to keep Brown if he faces a lengthy suspension or is placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, and a decision regarding that could come as early as next week.

For more on the subject:

A summary of the lawsuits filed against Antonio Brown since 2018
Britney Taylor passed lie detector test regarding Antonio Brown allegations
Britney Taylor planning to meet with NFL after her wedding
The text messages Antonio Brown allegedly sent Britney Taylor
Antonio Brown planning to file countersuit against Britney Taylor
Attorney defends Antonio Brown against ‘money grab’ allegations
Patriots react to lawsuit filed against Antonio Brown

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Report: Sam Darnold could be out more than a month with mono

Sam Darnold

The New York Jets made a very surprising announcement this week that Sam Darnold will not play in Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and it sounds like the best-case scenario for the quarterback would be a return after the team’s Week 4 bye. However, that is far from a guarantee.

The Jets do not have a firm return date set for Darnold and are unsure of how long he will be out, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. As La Canfora notes, mono is highly contagious and can be particularly dangerous for football players, as it leads to swelling of major organs and could leave them susceptible to rupturing. Darnold’s recovery timetable will depend on how quickly his body recovers and how long he experiences fatigue.

Darnold has also reportedly lost several pounds, which is normal for someone who is dealing with mono. Even if he starts to feel better sooner than expected, the second-year QB may have to take some time to get back in shape and pack on some weight.

The Jets struggled offensively and only scored 16 points at home against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, and they may have an even tougher time moving the ball with Trevor Siemian starting. In Adam Gase’s defense, the head coach did not expect his quarterback to come down with a case of mono when he made his bold promise about the 2019 season.

Britney Taylor to meet with NFL over Antonio Brown allegations Monday

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown will not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list ahead of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, but the star receiver’s status could change as early as next week.

Britney Taylor, the woman who filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Brown in court earlier this week, is expected to meet with NFL officials on Monday to discuss the case, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. The league is hoping to wrap its investigation up quickly, so officials will likely meet with Brown later in the week and then determine if any disciplinary action is warranted.

As of now, there have been no criminal charges filed against Brown. That is why the NFL has chosen to wait until speaking with both him and Taylor before making a decision about whether or not Brown should be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.

Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and raped her in 2018. Brown’s lawyers and agents have dismissed the allegations as nothing more than a “money grab” from a woman who used to be friends with Brown and had a consensual sexual relationship with him. Neither the New England Patriots nor the Oakland Raiders knew of the allegations against Brown prior to the lawsuit being filed, as Brown and Taylor had been in confidential legal talks for months.

Brown is expected to play against the Dolphins on Sunday, and numerous reporters have heard the Patriots will feature him heavily.

For more on the subject:

A summary of the lawsuits filed against Antonio Brown since 2018
Britney Taylor passed lie detector test regarding Antonio Brown allegations
Britney Taylor planning to meet with NFL after her wedding
The text messages Antonio Brown allegedly sent Britney Taylor
Antonio Brown planning to file countersuit against Britney Taylor
Attorney defends Antonio Brown against ‘money grab’ allegations
Patriots react to lawsuit filed against Antonio Brown

Don’t miss any news about Antonio Brown
Subscribe to our newsletter
– Download the Larry Brown Sports app on your iOS device
– Follow Larry Brown Sports on Twitter
Join our Facebook group

Report: Cowboys looking to trade former first-round pick Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton appears to have fallen out of favor with the Dallas Cowboys, so it is no surprise that they are open to trading the defensive end.

The Cowboys have had recent discussions about trading Charlton, Ian Rapoport and Jane Slater of NFL Network report. Those talks have the potential to heat up in the coming days.

Charlton was the Cowboys’ first-round pick back in 2017, but he does not appear to be in the team’s plans. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1 against the New York Giants and is not expected to be active to face the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The former Michigan star had just four sacks in 27 games over his first two seasons.

The Cowboys have been mentioned as a possible suitor for one of the last good players remaining in Miami, but it seems unlikely that the tanking Dolphins would be interested in anything other than draft picks. Charlton’s trade value is also fairly low considering teams know Dallas doesn’t want him, so they could just wait to see if the Cowboys cut him.

Cowboys interested in trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick?

Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Miami Dolphins have given Minkah Fitzpatrick permission to seek a trade, and one team to keep an eye on if talks heat up surrounding the defensive back is the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was asked on Friday if the team’s brass has had any conversations with the Dolphins in the past 24 hours, and he confirmed that they have. He did not mention Fitzpatrick by name for obvious reasons, but it would not be a surprise if the former Alabama star was the player being discussed.

Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, also represents Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Taco Charlton.

It is hardly a surprise that Fitzpatrick wants to be traded away from the tanking Dolphins, as he called out the team’s coaching staff following Miami’s embarrassing 59-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend. A recent report indicated several players are looking to be traded away from Miami. Fitzpatrick, who was the No. 11 overall pick in last year’s draft, should have much more trade value than most other players on the Dolphins’ depleted roster.