Patriots

Hightower deal likely hinges on fourth-year guarantee

746664.jpg

Hightower deal likely hinges on fourth-year guarantee

Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower is one of 14 unsigned first-round draft picks.

Word is his deal hinges on a guaranteed fourth year. That's where things get complicated.

Start with New England's first selection, Chandler Jones, taken at 21 overall. Jones signed for four years but, unlike the 21st overall pick in 2011 (Phil Taylor), there is no guaranteed money for Jones in that fourth year.

Meanwhile, Taylor got a combo of guaranteed money and a roster bonus for the final year of his deal. He'll be paid if he doesn't make the team in his fourth year. Jones won't.

Agents normally insist on their players getting at least what the player drafted the year before received. Jones took a step back. Which means the next group of players -- picks 22 through 25 -- are trying to get the financial train back on the tracks.

The most important domino ahead of Hightower is Cleveland's Brandon Weeden. The 28-year old quarterback likely doesn't care what Chandler Jones got; he wants guaranteed money. Especially given his age, position and the fact the Browns have practically anointed him as their starter.

And the three unsigned players behind him -- Riley Reiff, David DeCastro, and Hightower -- won't make a move until Weeden's deal gets done.

So continues the waiting game.

Patriots training camp however, starting July 25, waits for no one. Hightower is well within his rights to hold out.

But New England can be stubborn. Ask Wes Welker.

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

raiders_marshawn_lynch_referee_102017.jpg

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.

The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.

Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE