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Monday, July 13, 2020

Football

Shaq Barrett files grievance against NFLPA but signs franchise tender

Shaq Barrett will be playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 2020, but there’s a big caveat.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Barrett has signed his franchise tender with Tampa Bay. He has, however, filed a grievance against the NFLPA seeking to be classified as a defensive end, not a linebacker as he was tagged as.

Barrett would be due roughly $15.8 million on the franchise tag as a linebacker. If he were classified as a defensive end, that number would rise to about $17.8 million.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the two sides are not optimistic about a long-term deal, and are hopeful of negotiating a one-year contract instead.

Barrett blamed the pandemic for the failure to reach a long-term deal as he had hoped. He’s clearly trying to solidify his value for 2020 with this series of decisions.

The 27-year-old was a breakout star for the Buccaneers in 2019, collecting 19.5 sacks, both a career high and the best mark in the NFL.

Randall Cunningham joining Raiders as team chaplain

Former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham is back in the league in a new role.

The longtime NFL star has been hired as the new team chaplain for the Las Vegas Raiders. That reunites him with Vegas coach Jon Gruden, who served as Cunningham’s offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The move may seem strange, but it does fit. Cunningham became an ordained minister after he retired from the NFL. He also went to UNLV and lives in Las Vegas.

There are big changes for the Raiders in 2020 as they move to their new home. Having Cunningham working in this role, given his NFL experience, should only help with that transition.

Report: At least one ‘elite’ NFL player could sit out 2020

Roger Goodell

Several NBA and MLB players have decided to opt out of the 2020 season for a variety of different reasons, and we could see the same with the NFL in the coming weeks. According to one report, at least one well-known NFL player is considering sitting out.

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports was told there are a group of NFL players with asthma who are giving thought to not playing this season due to concerns over the coronavirus. One of those players is considered an “elite level guy.”

The NFL is reportedly planning to give players the option of sitting out the 2020 season, though it’s unclear how contract situations will be handled for any players who decide not to play.

Some prominent players from other leagues have decided they are not going to play this year, but NFL players have a bit longer to determine what they want to do. The NBA and MLB seasons will begin later this month.

Eminem says ‘f— Drew Brees’ in new track with Kid Cudi

Drew Brees

Drew Brees came under fire recently for some comments he made about national anthem protests in the NFL, and it seems like rap mogul Eminem may have been among those who were unhappy with the New Orleans Saints quarterback.

Eminem and Kid Cudi released a new track called “The Adventures of Moon Man & Slim Shady” shortly after midnight on Thursday. In the song, Eminem sneaks in a quick line that says “f— Drew Brees.” Beware that the clip below contains inappropriate language:

We don’t know why Eminem is so angry with Brees, but the timing hardly seems like a coincidence.

Last month, Brees said he still would not agree with kneeling during the national anthem even in the wake of George Floyd being killed by a police officer. Brees was ripped by his own teammates over the remarks and later issued an apology.

What does that have to do with Eminem? The rapper has openly supported Colin Kaepernick and gave him a huge shoutout a few years ago in a verse that eviscerated Donald Trump. We’re guessing that has a lot to do with why he called Brees out.

Video: Cam Newton works out with new Patriots teammate N’Keal Harry

Cam Newton

Cam Newton is already getting a head start on preparing for the 2020 NFL season with his new team.

Newton officially signed with the New England Patriots, according to Wednesday’s NFL transaction wire. The same day, he also worked out with new teammate N’Keal Harry. The workout took place at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus. Boston.com shared the video:

Newton will be competing with Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Brian Lewerke and J’Mar Smith for playing time at quarterback. Harry, who had 12 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns in seven games last season, was the team’s first-round pick in 2019. He is expected to be one of New England’s top receivers, along with Mohamed Sanu and Julian Edelman.

Newton signed a 1-year deal with the Patriots for the veteran minimum, plus possible incentives. Here are the details of his incentives structure.

Le’Veon Bell has funny reaction to low ESPN ranking

LeVeon Bell

Le’Veon Bell may have had a mediocre 2019 season, but he thinks that he’s being slept on heading into the 2020 campaign.

ESPN’s “Get Up” posted a graphic Thursday ranking the top ten running backs in the league based on input from over 50 NFL scouts, executives, and players. Bell, who clocked in at No. 10 on the list, had this funny reaction in response.

The three-time Pro Bowler Bell is a few years removed now from his peak production levels. He sat out the 2018 season due to a contract dispute with Pittsburgh Steelers and rushed for an unspectacular 789 yards and three touchdowns on 3.2 yards per carry with the New York Jets last season.

While Bell’s 2019 performance could have been a function of his environment on a 7-9 Jets team, the ranking still seems pretty fair. Head coach Adam Gase does have a plan to increase Bell’s impact though, so the 28-year-old will look to outperform those expectations in 2020.

Report: NFLPA has three key priorities in safety talks with NFL

Roger Goodell

The NFLPA and NFL are still sorting out protocols prior to the 2020 NFL season, but the players’ union has three key priorities it’s reportedly seeking.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the NFLPA wants no preseason, a month-long acclimation process, and daily testing for players as part of any 2020 safety protocols.

Interestingly, the players seem unhappy with some of the rules the NFLPA has previously accepted. Richard Sherman had some criticism of one new policy that the NFLPA has already agreed to.

The union’s request for daily testing is a reasonable one. As for the preseason issue, that’s currently a spot of conflict with the league that hasn’t been solved yet.