The Super Bowl, for most of us, is starting to become a distant memory. Now we can put such a disappointing game behind us and focus on the offseason ahead. Let’s check out all of the NFL headlines from the past week.
Just days before he was scheduled to report to spring training with the Oakland A’s, Heisman winner Kyler Murray confirmed what many had started to suspect, which is that he is giving up baseball in favor of football. In a statement posted on Twitter, Murray said he is “fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.” By doing so, he will give back most of the $1.5 million signing bonus he got from Oakland last June and will forfeit the remaining $3.16 million on that bonus.
Murray will now focus solely on preparing for the NFL Draft. Most mock drafts have him being a 1st round pick and the second quarterback chosen behind Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. If that ends up being the case, Murray will be the first player ever selected in the 1st round of both the NFL Draft and the MLB Draft.
Second Chance Home Coming
The Cleveland Browns made headlines Monday by signing running back Kareem Hunt to a one-year deal. Hunt was released by the Chiefs in November after a video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman. The event happened at Hunt’s residence in Cleveland, which is near where the 23-year old running back grew up. Current Cleveland GM John Dorsey was GM of the Chiefs when they drafted Hunt, so it’s not a huge shock to see him end up with the Browns.
Hunt was placed back on the commissioner’s exempt list immediately after being signed. Hunt will be subject to discipline from the NFL, which is conducting an ongoing investigation. There’s every chance that Hunt will be suspended by the league and won’t be able to participate in Week 1, although the Browns are well aware of that possibility.
When Will They Learn?
Antonio Brown may be the latest NFL star to be involved in a domestic incident. A police report obtained by ESPN indicates that Brown allegedly pushed the mother of his daughter to the ground on January 17. However, the woman later told police that she didn’t want Brown to be arrested. As usual, the NFL will look into the accusations independent of law enforcement. Meanwhile, speculation about Brown’s future with the Steelers continues after the serious rift between Brown and the team this past season.
Out on His Own
As expected, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles exercised his buyout last week so that he could become a free agent. The team exercised their $20 million option to bring Foles back in 2019, but he paid the $2 million buyout to become a free agent. There is speculation that the Eagles will use the franchise tag on Foles in hopes of trading him. However, Foles may not be a huge fan of that, and the move would come with potential complications. In short, this saga isn’t done just yet.
The 2018 season was a disaster for the Falcons, and to add insult to injury, the team has made some notable salary-cap-related cuts early in the offseason. The first victim was placekicker Matt Bryant, whose option for the 2019 season was not renewed. The 43-year old missed just one field goal and two extra points all season. The Bucs are expected to make a strong push to bring back Bryant, who was in Tampa Bay from 2005 to 2008.
The Falcons also released cornerback Robert Alford and defensive lineman Brooks Reed. Both were quickly signed by the Cardinals, who are under new leadership with Kliff Kingsbury as head coach and former Broncos coach Vance Joseph at defensive coordinator. Both should be welcome additions to an Arizona defense that wasn’t as bad as the stats from last season indicate.
Safety Eric Reid has agreed to stay with the Carolina Panthers long-term, signing a three-year deal worth close to $22 million. Reid went unsigned until deep into last season, which he blames on the fact that he kneels during the national anthem much like Colin Kaepernick, who remains out of the league. Reid continued to kneel after signing with Carolina and it was a non-issue. On the field, Reid is a quality safety who will help the Carolina defense. Off the field, Reid believes his new contract helps his ongoing grievance against the NFL in which he claims owners colluded to keep him unemployed because of his connection to Kaepernick.