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Quarterback already under focus for Reid in KC

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Quarterback already under focus for Reid in KC

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs haven't hired a general manager to make crucial personnel decisions. Andy Reid hasn't hired a single assistant coach.

That hardly seemed to matter.

The pressing concern, at least for those who attended Reid's introductory news conference Monday, was what the longtime Philadelphia Eagles coach plans to do at quarterback.

The Chiefs' biggest area of need coincides with the most important position on the field. It's the biggest reason why the Chiefs went 2-14 last season, and why Reid was hired to replace Romeo Crennel and the Chiefs were looking for a new general manager.

``The quarterback position, I'm going to dig in and look at that and we'll build that thing,'' Reid said. ``We'll see how that works out, but I need to spend some time to look at that.''

Reid plans to start by analyzing the quarterbacks on last season's roster - Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi - though it likely will be discouraging.

Cassel, who has two years left on a six-year, $63 million deal, dealt with a variety of injuries the past couple seasons, including a concussion this year. He was 1-7 as a starter before being benched in favor of Quinn, after throwing six touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.

Quinn fared little better, throwing two touchdown passes and eight interceptions while also going 1-7 as a starter. Stanzi, a former fifth-round pick, was so poor during preseason that he never got on the field even when Cassel and Quinn struggled.

Altogether, the Chiefs' quarterbacks directed an offense that was last in the NFL in scoring at 13.2 points per game, and failed to score an offensive touchdown six games.

``Clearly,'' Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said, ``better quarterback play is a priority in 2013.''

That's one of the reasons that Hunt targeted Reid to be the Chiefs' next coach.

When he inherited the Eagles in 1999, they were coming off a 3-13 season in part because of their own shaky quarterback play. His options at the time were Koy Detmer, Bobby Hoying and Rodney Peete - not a whole lot better than what the Chiefs had to work with this season.

But the Eagles' poor record meant they had the No. 2 pick in that year's draft, and rather than spend it on Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams or fellow running back Edgerrin James, Reid decided that the most important upgrade he could make would be at quarterback.

So he weighed several who were available - Akili Smith, Daunte Culpepper and Cade McNown - before settling on Donovan McNabb, who was perhaps the least-regarded of them all.

McNabb wound up going to six Pro Bowls, led the Eagles to the Super Bowl and is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in the franchise's history.

The Chiefs don't have the No. 2 pick in the draft, of course.

They'll be picking No. 1.

That doesn't mean that Reid will spend it on a quarterback, like he did that first season in Philadelphia. There is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III this year. But there are still a handful of quarterbacks who have shown some talent despite weak arms, inaccuracy and other red flags that come with picking them with the most valuable choice in the draft.

West Virginia's Geno Smith is widely considered the top quarterback available. Southern Cal's Matt Barkley has injury concerns, Arkansas' Tyler Wilson and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib are garnering more attention, and North Carolina State's Mike Glennon has all the right physical tools.

Only Reid knows whether one of them will be his guy.

``You have to make sure you do the right thing and pick the right guy, not necessarily the quarterback,'' Reid said. ``You don't want to force anything at that point. People who do that get in trouble. We'll sit there and we'll evaluate and we'll get it right, wherever we go.''

The Chiefs haven't selected a quarterback in the first round since 1983, when they picked Todd Blackledge with the seventh overall pick. And while players such as Joe Montana and Trent Green had good years for them, they haven't had a true franchise quarterback in decades.

Maybe going all the way back to Hall of Famer Len Dawson in the 1960s and `70s.

``The first thing Andy's going to do is evaluate the talent on this football team and where they need help,'' Dawson said. ``That's the glaring one, because the quarterback is the one handling the ball all the time and he's the one who throws the interceptions and fumbles, and things of that nature. That's a very important part of the puzzle.''

Reid understood that long before the countless questions about quarterback were asked on Monday. He said that he'll pursue every avenue for upgrading the position, from the draft to free agency to making a trade with another team.

Then he looked into the crowd during his introductory news conference and spotted Dawson sitting a few rows back from the stage.

``I need to find the next Len Dawson, doggone it,'' Reid said. ``It might be right here, but it might not. I need to dig in.''

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Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

Ravens' options in a potential Matthew Judon trade

According to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Ravens have expressed interest in moving on from Matthew Judon through a trade this offseason. 

Judon, who isn’t under contract for next season, was tied for 19th in the league in sacks with 9.5 — a team-high. He was also the team-leader in quarterback hits with 33. The next best pass-rusher was Tyus Bowser, who registered 10. 

Lined up for a big payday, and with a high-priced franchise tag an option, the Ravens could lose their second pass-rusher in as many years on the free agent market should they elect to not pay Judon the elite pass-rusher money he’ll likely command.

Which brings the Ravens to the report from Schefter that indicated the team could move on from Judon, 27, through the sign-and-trade route. 

Should Judon, or the Ravens, walk away from the negotiating table in free agency, two options exist: The Ravens could either let him walk freely to another team and likely receive a 2021 third-round pick as compensation, or place the franchise tag on Judon. 

With the franchise tag option, the Ravens could keep him for a season and essentially kick the can down the road for a year, or trade him for a return that would likely be greater than the compensatory third, and more importantly, the help would be immediate. 

A few weeks ago, coach John Harbaugh said re-signing Judon would be, “pretty hard,” but that the team was going to try.  

But if the Ravens aren’t able, or are unwilling, to sign Judon, a potential blueprint for a future trade might have been laid out last year by the Chiefs. 

Last season, the Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the 49ers for a second-round pick just a month before they sent first and third-round picks to the Seahawks for Frank Clark and a third-round pick.

Ford had 13 sacks in 2018 and 29 quarterback hits while Clark had 13 as well and 27 quarterback hits. They both immediately signed long-term, expensive contracts with their new teams. 

Baltimore could make a move similar to that with Judon and get better, and more immediate, compensation for him and later add a pass-rusher with the draft capital than the team added.

The Ravens have just under 29 million dollars in cap space, meaning they’ve got the space to sign Judon to a long-term deal or keep him on the franchise tag, but they’d need to make some moves to be able to field a full roster. And that full roster, if Judon isn’t in Baltimore in 2020, needs pass-rushing help. 

Baltimore had 37 sacks as a team, and just over a quarter of them came from Judon. It also had 111 total quarterback hits, and 29.7 percent came from Judon. 

So the report that the Ravens could move Judon could play out, perhaps the most interesting aspect of a Judon trade would be the replacement the Ravens would need to have lined up.

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With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

With big decision looming, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda mum on retirement plans

Ravens guard Marshal Yanda has a decision to make on his playing future, but he's in no rush to make it.

The 35-year-old is under contract with the Ravens through the 2020 season, but will take the next month or so to decide if he wants to continue playing or hang up the cleats.

"I'm going to take my time now," Yanda told Ravens.com regarding his future. "Done playing for the year, just take some time over the next month and basically just go with my heart and see how I feel."

The eight-time Pro Bowler was a vital piece in the NFL's best rushing attack in 2019. Yanda, the leader of the offensive line, started and played in 15 games this season for Baltimore, missing the regular-season finale as the Ravens rested multiple starters with the No. 1 seed already clinched.

Following Baltimore's upset divisional playoff loss to the Titans, a visibly disappointed Yanda refused to address his future, but he was definitely thinking about it then.

But if Sunday's Pro Bowl was the last time Yanda put on the pads, he didn't treat the game or experience any differently.

"Not necessarily," Yanda said if he cherished Sunday's Pro Bowl differently. "You're not in that frame of mind. I definitely didn't think about [my retirement decision] too much today, just because it was the Pro Bowl. It's more of a relaxed game, not like a really intense game.

"I didn't have those feelings as much as the Tennessee game," he continued." Yeah, it's a possibility. But those feelings were more in the Tennessee game."

Even at age 35, Yanda remains one of the best guards in the game. He's made the NFL's second-team All-Pro squad the past two seasons and has been a Pro Bowler every season since 2011, minus the 2017 season where he played just two games due to a season-ending ankle injury.

There's no debate: Baltimore would greatly benefit from Yanda returning.

"You want people that want you back," Yanda said. "You want to be playing very well when you end. Nobody wants to fade out; you want to go out strong."

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