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.

When do players know their football days are over?

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When do players know their football days are over?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Father's Day weekend. What kind of basketball parent is Barrett? The guys give their 53-man roster after spring practices. Tom Brady says he can feel his playing days are getting numbered. When do players first start realizing that the end is near and what makes that reality most difficult? Also, how should the Giants handle Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation?

"I think that Saquon [Barkley] is going to be better than [Ezekiel] Elliott." — Barrett Brooks.

1:00 - What kind of basketball parent is Barrett?
3:00 - Father's Day weekend recap.
5:00 - Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices.
15:30 - Tom Brady tells Oprah the end is near ... when do players start seeing that reality?
20:00 - The hardest part about having to say goodbye to football.
23:00 - Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation.

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

The Eagles were just a few days away from the Super Bowl and there was a clear indication of just how loose the team really was. 

On Feb. 1, Carson Wentz tweeted out a photo proving it. 

So, what’s the point of this? Why show a photo that Wentz sent out from an escape room well over four months ago?

Well, because it was a little glimpse into the future. Because the five guys in that photo are going to be the five guys in the Eagles’ quarterback room this season. 

Along with Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld, the other two are Press Taylor (sitting) and Spencer Phillips. This offseason, after John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to take the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota, the Eagles promoted Taylor to take his position as quarterbacks coach and then promoted Phillips to take Taylor’s spot as the assistant quarterbacks coach. 

It was probably a no-brainer. 

And it’s crazy to think, but just a year after the Eagles blocked DeFilippo from leaving the organization, DeFilippo has left … and the Eagles are going to be just fine. 

At the time, before the 2017 season, it made sense to block DeFilippo. He was seemingly integral to the development of a young Wentz and he certainly deserves plenty of credit for the big jump in Wentz’s play last season. But now, without him, the Eagles are going to keep a finely-tuned machine running. And they’re going to do it with a very young and very promising coach. 

Taylor is just 30 years old, which seems incredibly young for a coach who is supposed to lead the most important position room for the Eagles and possibly the most important position room in the entire league. He’s just one year older than Foles. 

He might be young, but Taylor is uniquely positioned to handle this responsibility. And aside from his football acumen — which has been touted by his superiors — it’s his relationship with the players in the room that made him such a no-brainer replacement for DeFilippo. 

“I feel really close (to Wentz, Foles and Sudfeld),” Taylor said last week. “I know what makes them tick going into it. And then we all had our own relationships. Obviously, I wasn’t their quarterbacks coach at the time, but I was in the room, sat through those conversations, had my own conversations out on the practice field. I feel like I know the things they like, the things they didn’t like. And then was able to learn from the other guys, the other coaches in the room.”

After the Super Bowl, Taylor is probably best known in the city for bringing the Philly Special to the Eagles. In his position last year, it was his job to mine gadget plays from around the league and found that play being used by the Bears the season before (see story). And that’s great. But all the stuff we don’t know about last year is what’s going to make the most difference for the Eagles this season. 

Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when Chip Kelly brought him to town. And then Doug Pederson was smart enough (and without ego) to keep Taylor in 2016. The brother of Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Press has quickly worked his way up the ladder. 

Last week, Wentz was asked if the team wanted his opinion before promoting Taylor. 

“I think it was pretty much known how we felt about Press beforehand,” Wentz said. “We’ve seen Press behind the scenes the last couple years and how hard he works. A lot of guys have a ton of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I know that’s where I sit. So far, it’s been great. He understands the game extremely well. We’re very like-minded, both on and off the field. The relationship I have with him personally and the relationship he has with all the quarterbacks has been tremendous so far.”

The relationship between Taylor and the QBs is so important. Relationships for this entire coaching staff are so important. Really, that’s what has made Pederson so special. He has that “emotional intelligence” and understands how to deal with his players. 

Taylor seems to have that too. And really, that’s why the Eagles’ QB room won’t miss a beat. 

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