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Friday, August 23, 2019

Football

Cardinals, Michael Crabtree reportedly close to reaching deal

Michael Crabtree

Michael Crabtree long seemed destined to end up with the Arizona Cardinals, and it seems like that may come to fruition.

Crabtree and the Cardinals are closing in on a contract, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday night.

Crabtree worked out for the Cardinals on August 5, but the two sides did not reach a deal.

So what has changed since?

Rookie fourth-round pick Hakeem Butler has a finger injury that has taken him out for the preseason and could result in him landing on injured reserve, according to a report. Additionally, Arizona released Kevin White, a 2015 first-round pick by the Bears who still has not scored a touchdown in his NFL career.

The Cardinals have a new coach in Kliff Kingsbury who likes to run the Air Raid offense, which often involves four wide receiver sets. Therefore they will need plenty of capable receivers, making Crabtree an intriguing signing.

Crabtree, who turns 32 in September, was released by the Baltimore Ravens in February after spending just one season with the team. He had 54 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns last season.

Report: Lions re-sign Damon Harrison to one-year extension

Damon Harrison

The Detroit Lions have locked down Damon Harrison for another year.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the defensive lineman has signed a one-year extension with the Lions worth $11 million. It will guarantee him $12 million in total over the next two years.

Harrison was acquired last October from the New York Giants and quickly became a key part of the Lions’ formidable run defense, adding 3.5 sacks in 10 games. He had been seeking a new contract and even skipped minicamp in search of one. It took a while, but ultimately, they have found a short-term agreement.

Matt Nagy responds to controversy over Bears’ kicker search

The Chicago Bears faced controversy on Wednesday after several anonymous kickers who tried out for the team’s kicking position criticized the franchise over its search for a new kicker.

Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler quoted several Bears tryout kickers who were critical of the process. They suggested that coach Matt Nagy was obsessed with Cody Parkey’s 43-yard miss that cost the team a playoff game and even made kickers watch video of it before they tried out. They also said there was a negative mood from the organization. They criticized kicking consultant Jamie Kohl for both his “alpha” demeanor and for favoring those who had kicked at one of his camps.

Nagy defended the organization from those critics when asked about them Wednesday.

“I understand — we brought in a lot of kickers that came in here,” Nagy said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN. “To me, I look at it as a positive, in the fact that we said we’re going to turn over every stone to find whoever’s out there. We felt like we, at that point in time, when we brought in a bunch of kickers, we’re going to test them all out and see what they can do.

“And then, within that time frame, we also put in some situations with the Augusta silence early on to see how they could handle it. Is it exactly the perfect science? I don’t know that, maybe not … I just really like how we’re going through this thing. [Bears general manager] Ryan [Pace] and I talk about no regrets, right?”

We got a glimpse of Nagy’s obsessiveness when he made tryout kickers replicate Parkey’s 43-yard attempt in front of the entire team, with poor results. It sounds like there were some legitimate gripes about the process that aren’t a great look for the Bears coach.

Cowboys VP hints Ezekiel Elliott’s agent is hurting his interests

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is seemingly escalating rhetoric against the agent of holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Jones didn’t name Elliott or agent Rocky Arceneaux in his comments, but suggested that some agents aren’t pursuing the same interests as the players should be.

It’s hard to read this as anything but a thinly-veiled shot at Arceneaux and Elliott given their recent comments. Arceneaux, after all, suggested that recent jokes made by Jerry Jones were disrespectful of his client, and that has clearly angered the Jones family. This holdout doesn’t appear likely to end any time soon.

Report: Melvin Gordon holdout likely to run into season

The Los Angeles Chargers appear very likely to be without their starting running back at the start of the regular season.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Melvin Gordon’s holdout is expected to stretch into the regular season, with contract talks failing to progress.

Given the total lack of recent news on progress, this isn’t a huge shock. Reports indicate that the two sides are far apart in negotiations, and there does not appear to be much appetite for compromise on either side. That almost certainly means that the Chargers’ star rusher will miss at least a portion of the 2019 season.

Report: Antonio Brown to claim he was told he could wear old helmet

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown may have a helmet that he’s okay wearing at practice, but he’s still going ahead with his grievance against the NFL.

According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, Brown has documentation stating that he was told he could wear a newer version of his preferred helmet. It is not known who told him that and whether it’s binding in any way, which will be for the NFL’s arbitrator to decide.

Brown had submitted a newer version of his helmet, but it failed league-mandated testing. This saga looks to be nearly over, but Brown isn’t giving up on his old helmet just yet.

Brian Flores implies Josh Rosen ‘not ready’ to start

Josh Rosen Dolphins

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores isn’t making a final decision on who will start at quarterback this year, but he dropped another hint that it probably won’t be Josh Rosen.

Flores, speaking hypothetically about quarterback decisions, suggested that sometimes it’s best for a more experienced player to play because the younger option “is not ready.”

“That case could be made [to play] the older guy. The case could be also made that the younger guy is not ready,” Flores said, via Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I understand that thought process. But I’m the one dealing with the individual player. Sometimes guys are not ready. The whole sink or swim mentality — it’s easy for somebody on the outside to say. But for that individual player and the best interest of that individual person, that might not be the case.

“For those who are not in the trenches, dealing with the day-to-day, they wouldn’t understand that. If a guy is ready to be out there, we’ll put him out there. If he’s not, we won’t put him out there. That’s the way we’ll approach it.”

Flores has made it clear that he’s not ready to name a starter yet, but these comments suggest it’s going to be veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick over Rosen. That has been the conventional wisdom for some time now.