Eagles

NFL Notes: Steelers sign Antonio Brown, franchise tag Le'Veon Bell

NFL Notes: Steelers sign Antonio Brown, franchise tag Le'Veon Bell

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers have signed Antonio Brown to a five-year deal that will reportedly make him the highest paid wide receiver in the league.

The Steelers did not release terms of the contract, but multiple media outlets reported that it is technically a four-year extension worth $68 million.

The contract takes Brown, who earned first-team All-Pro honors for the third consecutive year in 2016, through the 2021 season.

Steelers place franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell
The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed an exclusive rights franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell, ensuring he'll remain with the team in 2017.

The tag gives the Steelers time to work out a long-term deal with Bell, who could have become a free agent next month. The 25-year-old led the NFL in average yards from scrimmage last season and became the first player in NFL history to average at least 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving per game.

Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this month the Steelers want to keep Bell with the organization "for life." The team has until July 15 to reach an agreement with Bell on a new contract. If not, he will make the average salary of the top five running backs in the league in 2017 (see full story).

Browns release veteran WR Andrew Hawkins
The Cleveland Browns have released wide receiver Andrew Hawkins after three seasons.

The team terminated Hawkins' contract on Monday, cutting ties with one of its most respected players.

Hawkins had 33 catches for 324 yards and three touchdowns last season for the 1-15 Browns. But his contributions went beyond the field, as Hawkins helped mentor Cleveland's young receiving corps. He was also heavily involved in community activities.

Browns coach Hue Jackson says it's "tough to say goodbye to men like Hawk, that have done everything you've asked of them and gone above and beyond when it comes to leadership." Jackson says Hawkins "was a rock for us last season."

Hawkins signed with the Browns as a free agent in 2014 after three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 30-year-old, who played college ball at Toledo, played in 39 games with Cleveland, recording 123 catches for 1,424 yards and five TDs.

Cardinals: Chandler Jones receives franchise tag
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The "non-exclusive" tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

Panthers: Horton re-signed
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers are trying their best to keep their defensive line intact, re-signing defensive end Wes Horton to a two-year contract.

Financial terms were not released Monday.

The move comes less than 24 hours after the Panthers re-signed defensive end Mario Addison to a three-year contract on Sunday night. Addison was set to become an unrestricted free agent, while Horton would have been a restricted free agent.

Carolina is likely to use the franchise tag to keep Kawann Short if they can't reach a long-term deal with the defensive tackle before Wednesday's deadline.

The 27-year-old Horton started 10 games last season and had 11 tackles with 2 sacks. Horton has started 27 games since joining the Panthers in 2013 as an undrafted rookie and has 8 career sacks.

Eagle Eye podcast: Appreciating Fletcher Cox’s prime

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USA Today Images

Eagle Eye podcast: Appreciating Fletcher Cox’s prime

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro get together after the NFL’s opt-out period is over. 

The Eagles had just one player opt out of the 2020 season. Exploring more questions about having a season and Doug Pederson’s role as a virtual coach. 

Is it really a good year to be an undrafted free agent? Plus, takeaways from interviews with Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and Fletcher Cox. 

  • (0:29) — Deadline passes with only 1 Eagle known to be opting out.
  • (12:23) — Doug Pederson is still leading the team... virtually.
  • (18:06) — Good year for undrafted free agents?
  • (25:31) — Takeaways from zoom interviews with Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod, and Fletcher Cox.
  • (42:48) — Shady signs with Tampa Bay.

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Deadline passes with only 1 Eagle known to be opting out

Deadline passes with only 1 Eagle known to be opting out

The NFL’s opt-out deadline passed Thursday afternoon with no word of any additional Eagles electing to skip the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.

As of 4 p.m. EST, only wide receiver Marquis Goodwin had announced he’s opting out. 

The Eagles acquired Goodwin in a draft-day trade with the 49ers, and while he wasn’t expected to be a starter his 140 career receptions are second-most among the Eagles’ healthy receivers.

League-wide, it appears 66 players opted out. 

With most teams carrying 80 players on the roster, that represents about 2 1/2 percent of NFL players.

In the NFC East, the Giants and Cowboys lost three apiece and Washington lost two. 

Teams losing the most players are the Patriots [8], Browns [5] and the Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Giants, Jaguars, Jets, Lions and Raiders [3 each].

Three teams appear to have no opt-outs: The Chargers, Falcons and Steelers. The Eagles are among nine teams to lose one player. Ten teams had two opt-outs.

Players who opt out who have been determined by the NFL to be at risk because of a specific pre-existing condition receive a $350,000 stipend from the league and receive a year of pension credit toward free agency and benefits. 

Those who are considered not at risk receive $150,000 that is essentially an advance on their 2021 salary and they do not accrue a year of pension credit. If players in this category don’t make a roster next year, they must return the money.

Goodwin, who is considered not at risk, had 962 yards for the 49ers in 2017 but has just 35 catches for 581 yards the last two years. 

Several Eagles starters who were made available to the Philly media over the past week said they talked about opting out with family members before electing not to.

I think everyone in the back of their mind was wondering, ‘What does this look like for me safety-wise, what does this look like for my family safety-wise?’ Carson Wentz said. “And I was no different. I think, definitely, the health and safety of my family definitely is different than I think a lot of guys that are maybe single and don’t have wives or kids and those things, and you definitely have to take all those factors in. You never know how this is going to fully unfold, but I feel safe here and it was something that my wife and I talked a lot about and prayed a lot about, and we feel good with our decision but at the same time completely respect the guys that did decide to opt out for personal reasons, family reasons, health reasons. Like Marquis Goodwin, I fully respect his decision. Obviously I’m bummed I’m not going to be able to play with him but fully respect those guys’ decisions.

Rodney McLeod echoed Wentz: “It was a conversation I had with my wife, but I think looking at all the protocols that were put into place here we felt confident that this is probably one of the safer environments you could be in between these walls. Marquis Goodwin had to do what was best for his family and I understand that and we support him fully for that decision.”

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 

Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles