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#pounditFriday, August 14, 2020

Football

Report: George Kittle and 49ers ‘making progress’ on contract extension

It appears that George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers may be moving out of their contractual stalemate.

According to Michael Silver of NFL Network, Kittle and the 49ers are “making progress” in contract talks on a deal that would make Kittle the highest-paid tight end in NFL history.

The report comes in light of an SI Now report that Kittle had already agreed to a record-breaking extension. Kittle himself publicly dismissed the report as false.

Last we heard, Kittle and the Niners weren’t on the same page. While the organization is willing to pay up to keep the star tight end happy, the indication was that Kittle essentially wanted to be paid like a star receiver. It appears that gap may be bridged soon.

Kittle caught five touchdowns and racked up 1,053 yards receiving in 2019, the second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season for the 26-year-old.

Dak Prescott says he still wants to be a Cowboy for life

Dak Prescott will play the 2020 season under the franchise tag after months of negotiating a long-term extension, but the quarterback insists there are no hard feelings between him and the Dallas Cowboys.

There is typically some tension between a player and team when a long-term agreement is not reached before the franchise tag deadline. Even if that is the case with Prescott and the Cowboys, Dak told reporters on Wednesday that his stance on wanting to be a Cowboy for life has not changed.

“No, not all. I grew up wanting to be a Dallas Cowboy and I have dreams of being a Dallas Cowboy until I’m done throwing a football,” Prescott said, per Jon Machota of The Athletic.

Prescott also said he believes the relationship between his agent Todd France and Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones is stronger following the negotiations.

Prescott is going to make a fully guaranteed $31.4 million this season, so he can’t be that upset. Kirk Cousins played under the franchise tag two straight seasons with Washington and then went on to sign a massive, fully guaranteed contract with the Minnesota Vikings, proving that playing under the tag can work in a player’s favor if he remains healthy.

All indications are that Prescott and the Cowboys were extremely close to an agreement before the deadline passed last month, which could explain why there are no hard feelings. A long-term extension for Prescott still seems more likely than not.

Bills sign head coach Sean McDermott to extension

Sean McDermott

The Buffalo Bills are pleased with the work head coach Sean McDermott has done through his first three seasons with the team, and they are rewarding him with a new contract.

On Wednesday, the Bills announced that they have agreed to a multi-year extension with McDermott.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the deal ties McDermott to Buffalo through 2025.

McDermott has a winning record of 25-23 in three seasons with the Bills. He’s taken the team to the playoffs twice, though he has yet to win a postseason game.

McDermott’s two winning seasons with Buffalo are as many as the team had in 17 years prior to him taking over. Josh Allen has made strides under McDermott, and the Bills could be positioned to take control in the AFC East with Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay. The 46-year-old was deserving of the extension.

Jerry Jones has not decided if he will let players kneel for national anthem

A significant number of NFL players are expected to kneel during the national anthem when the 2020 season begins, and many have wondered if Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will change his stance on anthem protests. As of now, he is not ready to commit to doing that.

Jones was asked during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday whether or not he will require players to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” this season like he has in the past. He said no decision has been made but indicated he is open to changing his policy.

Jones has had a strict view on national anthem protests for several years. He explicitly told players at one point that they would not be playing for the Cowboys if they kneeled during the anthem, and we saw one player change his approach to anthem protests after being traded to Dallas last year.

The Cowboys will likely have an internal discussion about how to handle the anthem, but Jones saying “that was then” may have been a hint that he is willing to alter his stance.

Sean Payton has funny warning for Cam Jordan over being late to practice

Cam Jordan had one of those mornings on Wednesday where every traffic light seems to be working against you. When the New Orleans Saints star hinted that he didn’t mind, head coach Sean Payton was there to remind him that he should.

Jordan shared a photo on Twitter of him sitting in his car at a red light. He joked that the traffic lights must have known he had practice and said “don’t rush take your time.” Payton saw the tweet and had a great response.

Jordan, to his credit, took the scolding in stride.

If the shot he recently took at a division rival is any indication, Jordan is ready to get to work. The star pass rusher is coming off a season in which he posted a career-high 15.5 sacks, but Payton doesn’t want him getting too comfortable in his 10th NFL year.

Report: ESPN tried to recruit Sean McVay for ‘Monday Night Football’

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has already led his team to a Super Bowl and essentially has his entire coaching career in front of him, but that did not stop ESPN from exploring whether or not the 34-year-old has interest in wearing a different type of headset.

ESPN spoke with McVay this offseason about joining the “Monday Night Football” crew as an analyst, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports. While McVay entertained the conversation, he is under contract with the Rams and has no interest in leaving his job.

Should McVay decide he wants to take some time off from coaching, ESPN made it clear there would be interest in hiring him in a broadcast role.

While you can’t blame ESPN for trying, the fact that they reached out to a 34-year-old head coach whose job is completely secure gives you an idea of how desperate the network is. They’ve decided to hire strictly from within to replace Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, but that was not their first, second, or even third choice.

A slew of former and current NFL quarterbacks turned down massive offers from ESPN. The network also considered moving its top college broadcast duo to NFL games. McVay was simply another option ESPN decided to explore out of desperation, albeit a very unrealistic one.

Deion Sanders joins Barstool Sports after departing NFL Network

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders parting ways with NFL Network made headlines on Tuesday, but that report was just been a precursor to much bigger news.

Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported that Sanders was leaving NFL Network. A subsequent report from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand said Sanders was asked to take a pay cut and declined.

Now we know why: Sanders is headed to Barstool Sports.

“Pardon My Take”, which is a Barstool Sports property and the No. 1 sports podcast on Apple Podcasts, announced that Deion Sanders has joined the company. Sanders was a guest on “Pardon My Take” on July 26, two weeks prior to the announcement, and then joined the show again for Wednesday’s episode, where the announcement was made.

Willie Colon, another former NFL player who joined Barstool Sports, hyped the announcement and was excited about it.

“I had no idea when I went on with you guys last time that this would transpire so quickly,” Sanders said on “Pardon My Take”.

According to the announcement on the episode, Sanders will launch his own podcast called “21st and Prime”, do some video work for Barstool Sports, and he will join “Pardon My Take” as an NFL guest on Sunday nights during the football season.

This is an absolutely massive hire for Barstool Sports, and likely the biggest name they have ever had on staff. Sanders immediately raises the profile and credibility of Barstool Sports. Prime can now become even more connected to a young audience.

One thing to keep in mind is that when Barstool has made splashy, big-name hires in the past, it hasn’t always worked out for the long-term. Pat McAfee retired from the NFL to join Barstool Sports, but that partnership fell apart and McAfee left the company. The company’s hire of Michael Rapoport ended up a disaster. Both sides are hoping this works out much better.