Eagles rival shakes up its QB situation with big trade

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Eagles rival shakes up its QB situation with big trade

WASHINGTON -- Two people with direct knowledge of the trade say the Kansas City Chiefs have agreed to deal quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the move can't be completed until the start of the new league year in March. One person tells the AP the Redskins have agreed to a four-year extension with Smith, who had one year left on his contract.

Smith, who turns 34 in May, spent the past five seasons with the Chiefs, leading them to the playoffs four times while throwing for 102 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He carries a $17 million salary-cap hit for 2018.

The trade spells the end of Kirk Cousins' tumultuous tenure with the Redskins after back-to-back seasons on the franchise tag.

Jaguars: QB Bortles recovering from wrist surgery
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had surgery on his right wrist last week to fix a problem that kept him on the injury report all season.

The team confirmed the surgery Tuesday. ESPN first reported the surgery.

Bortles dealt with the issue in his throwing wrist throughout the season. He appeared on the injury report every week but did not miss a practice or a game.

Jacksonville picked up the fifth-year option in Bortles' rookie contract last year, guaranteeing him $19 million in 2018 if he's on Jacksonville's roster the first day of the league year in March. The Jaguars are prohibited from cutting Bortles if he's hurt or recovering from an injury.

Bortles completed 60 percent of his passes in 2017, with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also was sacked a career-low 24 times.

Panthers: All-Pro center Kalil to retire after 2018 season
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers say two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil plans to retire after the 2018 season when his contract expires.

Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond confirmed the news on Tuesday.

Kalil becomes the second long-time Panthers player to announce he is retiring after next season. Outside linebacker Thomas Davis told NFL.com earlier this month the 2018 season will be his last.

Kalil, who turns 33 in March, was plagued by neck and shoulder injuries the last two seasons that limited him to 14 games. He had hoped to play more after the Panthers signed his younger brother Matt Kalil to play left tackle last offseason.

Kalil has started 129 games during his 11 seasons with the Panthers and been to five Pro Bowls. He was named All-Pro in 2013 and 2015.

Ravens: Harbaugh to serve as guest analyst during Super Bowl
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh is serving as an analyst during NBC's Super Bowl coverage.

Harbaugh will provide insights during the pregame, halftime and post-game shows of Sunday's matchup between the Eagles and Patriots.

It will be the second time Harbaugh has been a guest Super Bowl analyst for NBC. He provided analysis during the Patriots' Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks to cap the 2014 season.

NBC will announce the rest of its coverage details later this week.

Corey Clement hasn't lost that undrafted chip on his shoulder

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Corey Clement hasn't lost that undrafted chip on his shoulder

Two-hundred fifty-three players heard their names called during 2017 NFL draft and Corey Clement wasn’t one of them. He had to settle for unceremoniously signing with his hometown Eagles after the three-day event wrapped up.

Clement wore that chip on his shoulder like a badge of honor. It motivated him through his entire rookie season, which ended in a celebration after winning Super Bowl LII.

“It’s still there,” Clement said this week. 

That’s good news. 

Because while Clement might have arrived last year, it’s better he thinks he hasn’t. That perceived disrespect made him work harder, it made sure he did not take his success for granted. And it also made for a pretty great commencement speech this spring across the street from where he went to high school (see story)

Ultimately, it didn’t matter that Clement wasn’t drafted. He eventually earned a roster spot and playing time, even in crucial situations; he had 100 receiving yards in Super Bowl LII. 

But not hearing his name called during the 2017 draft will always stick with him. 

“For sure,” Clement said. “Because I can’t tell somebody later on down the line that I got a chance to hear my name called by Roger Goodell or somebody great like David Akers say you’re going to be a part of this great organization. It’s always going to be in the back of my mind. I’m not mad about it anymore, but at the same time, I’m never forgetting.”

Motivation is a tricky thing for this entire Eagles team. Last year, it relished being underdogs as evidenced by the dog masks and Jason Kelce’s epic parade speech. Clement certainly fit into that. 

So how will he stay motivated this year? 

“Competition,” he said. “Still going head to head with Jay (Ajayi), Wendell (Smallwood), Pump (Donnel Pumphrey), Matt Jones. We got a new running back as well, undrafted free agent (Josh Adams), so I’m pretty sure he’s got fire up under his skin as well. I understand his pain and frustration too.”

As a rookie, Clement played in all 16 games, slowly increasing his role. During the regular season, he had 321 rushing yards, 123 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. In the playoffs, Clement had 172 total yards with a touchdown in three games, including a monster performance in Super Bowl LII.

He thinks the mindset of having a chip on his shoulder helped him succeed. 

“Being with Duce (Staley) every day has really set it in my mind,” Clement said. “He believes in me and I’m not going to let him down. Everybody else in this organization has their trust and faith in me and I’ve got to show them why.”

Staley began trusting Clement pretty early in the season and last summer compared Clement to a trusty Honda Accord because he could count on Clement and his consistency. Earlier this week, Clement said he hopes Staley isn’t still comparing him to that Honda. 

“At least upgrade me a little bit,” he said through laughter. “Put me in a better class.”

Like, what, an Acura?  

“I had an Acura back in high school too,” Clement said, “so he could at least call me an Acura.”

Sure, an Acura. But he’s not a Bentley. Gotta keep that chip on his shoulder somehow. 

After 'bumpy road,' Matt Jones sees opportunity with Eagles

After 'bumpy road,' Matt Jones sees opportunity with Eagles

The last time Matt Jones donned a helmet and pads in Philadelphia, he was enjoying a career game against the Eagles — a fact not lost on his new team.

“When I did my workout, I had some of the defensive coaches tell me I owed them something or they remembered that game,” Jones said Tuesday. “Everybody remembers that game here. Some of the same guys on defense are still in here, too.”

Not only were Jones’ 135 yards rushing and 8.4 yards per carry personal bests, but the performance keyed Washington to a 27-20 victory in 2016.

As it turns out, that game would serve as an audition of sorts.

“I know that wasn’t overlooked,” said Jones, who signed a two-year contract with the Eagles.

In one and a half seasons since, Jones has recorded just 15 touches in the NFL. He suffered a knee injury the following week, was released by Washington last September and then claimed by the Colts, where he failed to crack the RB rotation.

But while Jones may have fallen off the map, the Eagles never forgot the vision of him rumbling through their defense. The club maintained an interest in the running back ever since.

“It’s been trying to happen for a while,” Jones said. “I was claimed by waivers from the Colts, but [the Eagles] were trying to claim me too.

“I’m finally here and I thank [Howie Roseman] for giving me a chance to come prove myself.”

Jones should have no problem acclimating to the locker room. He professed the Eagles were his favorite team growing up. A third-round pick from Florida, he and fellow running back Jay Ajayi already know each other as members of the 2015 draft class. Jones even became friends with Brandon Graham as well, sharing how the Redskins used to scheme against the DE.

Perhaps most important, Jones has taken a liking to running backs coach Duce Staley, who wants to see Jones get back to running the way he did that day against the Eagles.

“He humbled me a lot about getting my pads down and just getting back to where I was,” Jones said. “Duce is a great coach. He makes you better. The first day I met him, he made me better.

“Just telling me little stuff I never heard before as far as pass blocking, running, everything. He was a running back, too, so he relates to running backs in different ways. I dropped a couple pounds and I was ready to go.”

It’s unclear exactly why Jones fell out of favor in Washington, where he rushed for 964 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons, then Indianapolis, but he attributed both exits to different sets of circumstances.

Fumbles were an issue in Washington. He racked up eight in his first 20 NFL games, though it seems he was overtaken on the depth chart after his injury.

“Just bumps in the road,” he said. “Some things I could’ve fixed. Everything was great. I just have to figure out what went wrong and try to bounce back.”

Jones was with the Colts until May but was cut loose after the team used fourth- and fifth-round picks on RBs.

“It was weird,” Jones said. “It felt great over there. I was in tip-top shape. I guess they just wanted to go a different route.”

Despite the way his career has unfolded, he's upbeat and determined to learn from every experience.

“It’s been a bumpy road, man,” Jones said. “Hard, but I’ll take the good and the bad. From here, I just want to work. This is a big opportunity for me. It’s been up and down, but I’m thankful for it all.”