Eagles

NFL Notes: Lions give QB Matthew Stafford 5-year contract extension

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NFL Notes: Lions give QB Matthew Stafford 5-year contract extension

DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford has made a home in the Motor City, leading the Detroit Lions on the field and becoming a first-time father with twin girls earlier this year.

"Aggressive start," Stafford recently cracked.

The Lions, likewise, made an aggressive move to keep their franchise quarterback around for many more years with the richest contract in NFL history.

Stafford agreed to a $135 million extension, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team announced the five-year deal keeps Stafford under contract through the 2022 season.

He was entering the last year of his $53 million, three-year deal.

Stafford stood to get quite a raise and did, getting more than the $125 million, five-year contract the Oakland Raiders gave Derek Carr this summer (see full story).

Ravens: Harbaugh receives contract extension
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have given coach John Harbaugh a contract extension, even though the team has missed the playoffs in three of the past four years.

Harbaugh started this season with a contract that stretched through 2018. The Ravens did not disclose the length of the new deal.

Since his arrival in 2008, Harbaugh has taken Baltimore to the postseason six times. The Ravens played in the AFC title game in 2008, 2011 and 2012, and he guided Baltimore to a Super Bowl victory in the 2012 season.

In nine years with the Ravens, Harbaugh is 85-59 during the regular season and 10-5 in the playoffs.

Over the past four years, however, Baltimore has had one winning season. The Ravens were 8-8 in 2013, 10-6 in 2014, then 5-11 and 8-8 last season.

Texans: Team longs for Houston home after storm
FRISCO, Texas -- Tom Savage longs to hold his tiny daughter and spend some quality time with his wife.

J.J. Watt wants to do more than raise money via video on social media about 250 miles from Houston with the city swamped by floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey.

While wanting simply to be home with family and friends, the Texans are instead stranded in the Dallas area. And now what was supposed to be a home preseason game against Dallas will be played at the Cowboys' stadium Thursday night.

"It's very, very tough," said Watt, the star defensive end who posted Monday that a fundraising effort that included selfie videos had raised more than $500,000 within 24 hours. "It's very difficult to watch, your family, your friends, your city, go through a time like this and not be there to help."

After losing an exhibition game at New Orleans on Saturday, the Texans essentially flew over their flood-stricken city on the way to Dallas. They practiced Monday at Cowboys headquarters, and were hotel hopping because of the uncertainty over what was next.

The NFL said late Monday afternoon that the exhibition game Thursday night was being moved to Arlington "due to public safety concerns resulting from the ongoing weather emergency related to Hurricane Harvey." The statement said the league and Texans would continue to closely monitor the situation in Houston and adjust the team's plans as necessary (see full story).

Bengals: Burfict suspended 5 games for hit
CINCINNATI -- Linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed the first three games last season because of his hit to Antonio Brown's head in the playoffs. He'll miss the first five this season thanks to another rattling hit, this time during a preseason game.

The NFL has suspended the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive leader for leveling a Chiefs running back in violation of its player safety rules, the latest in Burfict's history of egregious hits that have drawn fines and suspensions.

Burfict hit running back Anthony Sherman in the chest this month during a pass play in which he was not the intended receiver, knocking him to the ground. The NFL has been cracking down on such hits as part of its emphasis on player safety.

Burfict was suspended for his hit to Antonio Brown's head on an incomplete pass during a first-round playoff game in the 2015 season. The resulting personal foul moved the Steelers into field goal range in the closing seconds for an 18-16 victory at Paul Brown Stadium (see full story).

Chiefs: LB Ragland acquired from Bills
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Linebacker Reggie Ragland will get a fresh start in Kansas City after the Chiefs acquired the second-year player in a trade with the Buffalo Bills.

In exchange, the Bills acquired a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft.

The Chiefs land a player with the potential of being an upgrade for Josh Mauga, who was released earlier in the day. Ragland also gets a chance to play in a three-lineman, four-linebacker-styled defense, which he was accustomed to at Alabama.

For the Bills, they cut ties with a 2016 second-round draft pick who was in jeopardy of being cut this weekend when teams establish their 53-player roster.

The Bills drafted Ragland because he was considered an ideal fit in former coach Rex Ryan's defense. That changed when Ryan was fired and replaced by Sean McDermott, who prefers a 4-3 system.

Ragland missed all of last season after tearing a ligament in his left knee during training camp.

Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

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Eagles bring back special teams maven Bryan Braman

The Eagles have brought back a former special teams ace for the stretch run. 

Special teamer Bryan Braman on Tuesday signed with the Eagles to rejoin Dave Fipp's special teams group.

Braman, 30, had been with the Eagles from 2014-16, when he was a major contributor for Fipp's top-end special teams unit. He can help fill the void left by the season-ending injury to Chris Maragos earlier in the season. 

During his three seasons with the Eagles, Braman led all Eagles with 1,214 special teams snaps. He played more special teams snaps than any other Eagle in each of the last two seasons. He played in all 48 games over those three seasons, but was mainly a special teams player. 

After officially placing quarterback Carson Wentz (ACL) on Injured Reserve Tuesday, the Eagles had one available roster spot. It looks like it will be filled by Braman. 

Braman was not resigned by the Eagles this past offseason. He spent some time in New Orleans but was placed on their IR and was then released. He hasn't been with a team since early September. 

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Eagles' offense 'full steam ahead' with Nick Foles at QB

Carson Wentz is out, Nick Foles is in. 

And the Eagles claim their offense isn't going to change. 

On it's face, that seems somewhat absurd. After all, Wentz is more than an average quarterback. He's the face of the Eagles' franchise and was an MVP candidate through 13 weeks. Foles was once a Pro Bowler, but there's a reason he wasn't a starter entering this season. 

So how will the offense look different? 

"I don't expect it will look different at all," Foles said adamantly.  

Why is that? 

"Because it's our offense," Foles answered. "This is the Eagles' offense. This is the one that is the DNA of this team. And we're going to do what we do. We have so many tremendous players on offense that can do a lot of different things. We just have to go out there and execute and have a great week of work and just keep moving." 

Offensive coordinator Frank Reich finally admitted that there will be "very minor tweaks" to the Eagles' weekly game plans with Foles in at quarterback. But he made the same point as Foles, that the system is built around the QB, but also around the other talent on offense. 

There is, however, one pretty significant difference between Wentz and Foles. 

"Now, Carson has some unique physical traits that he does exceptionally well, but it's nothing that Nick can't handle," Reich said. "We're full steam ahead."

The Eagles run plenty of run-pass option plays, but head coach Doug Pederson pointed out on Monday that the Eagles very rarely use their quarterback to run the ball in those situations. And as far as RPOs go, Foles has used them plenty before. 

Another part of the offense that has been tailored to Wentz is the autonomy the quarterback has at the line of scrimmage. Wentz has been able to make calls and checks pre-snap based on what the defense shows. It seems like Foles will have that same ability, which is something he's excited about. 

"Understand this, he's a veteran player who has played and won a lot of games, not only here, but other places that he's been," Pederson said. "Nick's a highly intelligent football player."

Pederson said he and Foles will talk weekly to make sure his quarterback is comfortable with the plays that go into the game plan. So, theoretically, things could be different. But based on what the offensive leaders of the team have said, don't expect wholesale changes. 

Now, what might change about the offense isn't necessarily by design. Because of Wentz's unique physical gifts and escapability, he's able to make incredible plays. The escape in Washington, the throw to Corey Clement in the end zone, the deep flick down the sideline in Seattle, those are plays only a handful of guys in the world can make. It would be unfair to expect Foles to make them. 

But as far as game-planning goes, the Eagles are going to do what they've done. 

"I feel comfortable in this offense," Foles said. "I love this offense. We're going to run this offense. Nothing's going to change."

Foles dealt with elbow soreness during the summer, but says his elbow now feels "amazing" and is not an issue. That's good news for the Eagles, because at least Foles has plenty of starting experience. His backup, Nate Sudfeld, has never even been active for an NFL game. 

The Eagles' hopes in 2017 rest on the shoulders of Foles. 

"I've always been a gunslinger, just let it rip," Foles said. "That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to play loose, count on the guys, lead this team. There's no other place I'd rather be. That's why I came back here. ... I'm ready to step up and help this team win."