NFL Notes: Browns to reportedly cut Brock Osweiler, but will pay him $16M

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NFL Notes: Browns to reportedly cut Brock Osweiler, but will pay him $16M

CLEVELAND -- Brock Osweiler's days with the Browns were numbered when the quarterback arrived in a trade.

They're now over.

Osweiler is being released by Cleveland, which will have to pay his $16 million guaranteed contract not to have him on their roster, a person familiar with the team's moves told The Associated Press on Friday.

Osweiler will be officially cut on Saturday along with veteran guard John Greco, kicker Cody Parkey and defensive lineman Xavier Cooper when the team trims its roster to 53 on Saturday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is still finalizing its roster decisions.

The 26-year-old Osweiler was acquired by the Browns on March 9 from Houston for a 2018 second-round draft pick. The team did not have any long-term plans for Osweiler, who went 8-6 as a starter for the Texans last season. However, because of his large contract, the Browns were unable to unload Osweiler and he competed for their starting job this summer.

Osweiler was beaten out by rookie DeShone Kizer, who will be the 27th starting quarterback for Cleveland since 1999 when the team opens against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10 (see full story).

Saints: Wide receiver Snead suspended 3 games for DUI
METAIRIE, La. -- Saints officials say receiver Willie Snead has been suspended for the first three games this season because of an offseason traffic violation for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Coach Sean Payton says general manager Mickey Loomis spoke with league officials Friday about the suspension for Snead, who last season was among New Orleans' receiving leaders with 984 yards and three touchdowns.

A DUI represents a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Payton says that knowing Snead, he found the receiver's arrest "a bit surprising."

The Saints coach says he doesn't want to speculate how Snead's suspension will affect final roster cuts, but says it will factor into how the Saints plan for early season games.

Snead has 141 catches for 1,879 yards and seven TDs in his two NFL seasons out of Ball State. He is due to be a restricted free agent after this season.

Seahawks: Team reportedly acquires Richardson from Jets
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Seahawks have made a big splash for their top-notch defense just before the start of the regular season.

A person with direct knowledge of the deal says the Seahawks acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets on Friday in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second-round draft pick. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced by the teams.

Seattle will also send a 2018 second-round pick to the Jets and the clubs will swap seventh-round picks in 2018 as part of the deal.

Landing Richardson solidifies the interior of Seattle's defensive line and quells some of the concerns raised by the uncertainty surrounding rookie second-round draft pick Malik McDowell, who was injured in a July ATV accident. Richardson has spent his entire career with the Jets after being picked in the first-round pick in 2013 and was a Pro Bowl selection after the 2014 season, when he recorded a career-high eight sacks (see full story).

Steelers: Bryant, Bell back in fold with high-powered offense
PITTSBURGH -- Martavis Bryant's long journey back to the NFL is over. So is Le'Veon Bell's extended vacation.

Two of the most dynamic components of the Pittsburgh Steelers' high-powered offense are good to go as the season opener approaches.

The NFL on Friday granted Bryant permission to play when the Steelers travel to Cleveland on Sept. 10, nearly 18 months after he was suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Bryant was conditionally reinstated in April, though his return hit a snag at the start of training camp when he was forced to sit for the first two weeks of practice due to procedural issues. Bryant caught seven passes for 43 yards during the preseason and is expected to start opposite Antonio Brown for the defending AFC North champions.

The Steelers placed the franchise tag on Bell in February. The two-time Pro Bowler responded by skipping Pittsburgh's offseason program and stayed away during training camp after failing to reach agreement on a long-term deal. Bell tweeted last week that he planned on returning on Sept. 1, and he appeared at the team's facility on Friday, just hours after the Steelers wrapped up the preseason with a victory in Carolina (see full story).

LeGarrette Blount has found a new home

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LeGarrette Blount has found a new home

A big piece of the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl season is moving on. 

Running LeGarrette Blount has signed with the Detroit Lions. Blount's deal will be for one-year, $4.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport

Blount, 31, was scheduled to visit the Lions on Friday and he didn’t leave without a new deal. He’ll reunite with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who was the defensive coordinator in New England when Blount was there; the familiarity probably helped. 

Last offseason, Blount took his time deciding where he’d land. He didn’t sign with the Eagles until May and his contract was worth around $1 million. He apparently showed enough during 2017 to get a bigger deal this time around. 

After beginning the season as the Eagles’ primary runner, he eventually saw his role diminish after the Birds added Jay Ajayi through a trade. Still, Blount played in all 16 games and rushed for 766 yards during the regular season. More importantly, he had 14 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl LII. Blount had a rushing touchdown in all three playoff games after having just two during the regular season. 

Perhaps more important than his contributions on the field, it was Blount’s unselfish nature that seemed to rub off on his teammates. When he and Alshon Jeffery were on board with that unselfish mindset, it seemed like the rest of the team followed. 

As recently as late February, Blount indicated he wanted to return to Philadelphia, where he really seemed to fit in the locker room and under running backs coach Duce Staley, whom Blount clearly respects. 

"Obviously I like it a lot there,” Blount said in February on NFL Network. “They like me a lot there. It's a mutual respect and a mutual agreement thing about how we feel about each other. Obviously, you guys know how I feel about the team, the guys; I love those guys.”

While Blount said he wanted to return to Philly, it was unlikely the Eagles could have (or would have) offered him the type of contract he’s getting from the Lions. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles still have Ajayi and Corey Clement under contract from last season. Kenjon Barner is a free agent. The running back position still seems up in the air, but the Eagles have a few months and a draft to figure it out. 

Looking back at trio of Eagles' 2016 extensions

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Looking back at trio of Eagles' 2016 extensions

Back in early 2016, just after Howie Roseman had been reinstated to his post of power, he pulled out some moves from the classic Joe Banner playbook. 

He tried to find value in projection. 

Within a nine-day span in early 2016, the Eagles signed Vinny Curry, Zach Ertz and Lane Johnson to lucrative five-year extensions. Since then, Ertz and Johnson have grown into Pro Bowl players, rendering their contracts relative bargains. 

Curry simply remained a good player, which is why he was cut on Friday afternoon

While Curry finally became a starter in 2017, he had just three sacks and the team drafted Derek Barnett and traded for Michael Bennett who was cheaper and better. It’s certainly not really a knock on Curry, who had his best professional season during the Eagles’ Super Bowl year. 

When Curry signed his five-year, $47.25 million extension in February 2016, he was just two years removed from his nine-sack season and was seen as a much better fit in the 4-3 scheme Jim Schwartz was bringing to town. So the Eagles paid Curry like he was going to play at a Pro Bowl level and it never happened. In that first year, the Eagles tried to peg him in as a starter opposite of Connor Barwin, but Brandon Graham outplayed him. After Barwin was gone, Curry became a starter, but was just good; not great. 

Meanwhile, the two other big contracts handed to Ertz and Johnson have clearly worked out. Cutting Curry really speaks more to the nature of NFL contracts these days than it does to the level of his play. 

Sure, Curry never played to the level of his contract, but the deals for Ertz and Johnson look much better. And unlike Curry, both of them had one year left on their rookie deals when the Eagles tried to gain value in re-signing them early. It’s worked out. 

Ertz was the first of the three to sign his five-year extension. His was worth $42.5 million and as a Pro Bowler in 2017, he’s beginning to outplay it. He’s now the fifth-highest-paid tight end in the league and he’ll continue to drop on that list as he plays out the next four years of that deal. The best part of Ertz’s contract is it wasn’t heavily backloaded, which has allowed the Eagles to restructure with him the last two offseasons to create some cap room. 

The second of the three big five-year extensions based on projections went to Lane Johnson. His deal was worth $56.25 million. Of course, Johnson’s suspension in 2016 was tough, but he rebounded to have an incredible 2017. He’s the highest-paid right tackle in football, but he’s 10th among all offensive tackles, which is a good value. 

Twenty days after Curry signed his deal, Malcolm Jenkins also got a five-year deal, but at that point he had already been a Pro Bowler, so his deal was more based off of production than projection. 

During that entire offseason, every single time Roseman was asked about the moves he made that offseason, he continually said the most important ones were the moves they made to keep their own players. That obviously included the projection deals for Curry, Johnson and Ertz. 

Sure, only two of the three ended up being bargains with tenable contracts. But even Curry was useful during the two years he played of his extension before the Eagles took the out they built into the deal. That’s not a bad hit rate.