Thu Apr 2 1:36pm ET
By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Andy Reid is like most people these days. The Kansas City Chiefs coach is hunkered down in his basement, trying to avoid going out in public as he works from a makeshift office consisting of a computer, an iPad and an old side table.
The difference, though: He's trying to build a team that can defend a Super Bowl title.
It's hard enough when things are normal - only seven franchises have won back-to-back championships. But it's even more difficult when the offseason has been thrown into turmoil because of the coronavirus pandemic, affecting everything from free agency to the NFL draft to team workouts that should have begun this month, but will not.
“Well, we stay as current as we can through information from the league,” Reid said on a conference call with local reporters Thursday. “We're approaching it like we're having a season, and I think it's two-fold because it can be a real positive energy giver back to the country at a time of maybe need for that. At the same time, we're very sensitive to what's going on.”
Reid has the same feeling about the upcoming NFL draft, which will take place without fans later this month amid the nationwide lockdown. It could be a pleasant distraction during abnormal times, but it will also take place as many people are dealing with crippling health and financial problems that are far more important.
In the meantime, Reid and Chiefs general manager Brett Veach to keep plugging away on their roster.
With very little room under the salary cap, the Chiefs have been largely quiet in free agency. They signed veteran offensive lineman Mike Remmers to provide depth across the board; brought in journeyman cornerback Antonio Hamilton to compete for a starting role; and signed XFL quarterback Jordan Ta'amu to add another voice in that room.
Along with placing the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Chris Jones, that is just about all the Chiefs have done.
The salary cap is the biggest reason. But the coronavirus is another factor.
With the Chiefs unsure when they will be allowed back in their facility, and the NFL uncertain when or if practices will be allowed this summer, the value of players who already know the system grows exponentially. That is why franchising Jones was a wise move despite the hefty financial hit, and why the Chiefs brought back wide receiver Demarcus Robinson.
“Absolutely. As many guys as you can keep, you'd love to do that,” Reid said. “The other part is Veach has to sit there and juggle the salary cap and do all that. But logic tells you, as many guys as you can keep that are familiar with what you're doing, either side of the ball or special teams-wise, you'd like to do that. But there's a whole lot of variables that go into it, and that's something Brett and his crew, they do all that stuff.”
To be sure, the Chiefs still have plenty of holes on the roster. The most pressing may be at cornerback, where Kendall Fuller signed elsewhere and Bashaud Breeland and Morris Claiborne are still floating around in free agency. But there is also need for help along the defensive line and at running back, where Damien Williams has been prone to injury.
The Chiefs hope they can fill some of those holes through the draft, even though it will take place without the benefit of bringing anybody in for workouts, and with only digital meetings for face-to-face interviews.
“We're making it work,” Reid said. “I'm glad I coached at San Francisco State because we had to work through a lot of things there. It was Division II, non-scholarship. Not everything was easy there. To film practice we had a guy climb up a ladder. We had guys picking up rocks on a dirt field to have practice. Those experiences help when everything isn't quite perfect.”
NOTES: Reid said no decisions have been made when it comes to the massive contract for wide receiver Sammy Watkins this season. The Chiefs' tight salary cap situation means they would like to restructure or extend his deal ... He also punted when asked about progress in signing Jones to a long-term deal. ... The Chiefs are mulling options for conducting the draft. They've discussed having coaches and staff work from their respective homes, along with renting out blocks of adjoining rooms in a Kansas City hotel.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source. Gabbert will serve as the backup to Tom Brady in 2020. The 30-year-old former 10th overall pick of the Jaguars in 2011 will help Brady learn head coach Bruce Arians' system. He didn't see the field at all in 2019, but Gabbert has played in 56 games (48 starts) in his eight years in the NFL with stops in Jacksonville, San Francisco, Arizona and Tennessee. You can obviously ignore Gabbert in all fantasy leagues, and he'd merely be a low-end QB2 option in Tampa if Brady were to get hurt and miss any time.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that offensive tackle Jack Conklin will stay at right tackle in Cleveland. The Browns added Conklin in free agency as they look to improve a dreadful offensive line from a season ago. The eighth overall pick by the Titans in the 2016 draft was a first-team All-Pro in his rookie season and has been one of the better right tackles in the league in his four seasons. The 25-year-old has started all 57 games he's played in and has played in a full 16-game season in three of his four years in the league. Conklin will help bring stability to the right side of the Browns line, but they'll need help elsewhere.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry signed his $10.2 million franchise tender on Thursday, but the two sides are still committed to working on a long-term contract extension before the deadline on July 15. Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards on 303 carries last season, and he was tied for the league lead with Aaron Jones with 16 rushing scores. His 25 receptions left a lot to be desired in PPR leagues, but there's no denying that Henry is the bell-cow running back in one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. It makes the 26-year-old one of the most desirable RB1 picks for fantasy owners early in drafts.
Free-agent linebacker Markus Golden is the only player on the open market that had double-digit sacks in 2019. Golden recorded 10 sacks in 16 games last year and was sixth in the league with 27 quarterback hits while being tied for 14th with 13 tackles for a loss. He was believed to be asking for $10 million per season, according to a source, but he won't be getting that now. It's unlikely that New York will re-sign Golden after already adding Kyle Fackrell for one year and $4.6 million. The Giants are likely to add a low-priced veteran later on as they look to boost their pass rush. Golden earned $3.75 million last year and made another $1 million for reaching 10 sacks. The 29-year-old had a good season in 2019, but fantasy owners in IDP leagues shouldn't be expecting a repeat necessarily.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said that the uniqueness of quarterback Taysom Hill's role requires the team to have a third quarterback active on game days, and that won't change in 2020 with Teddy Bridgewater now in Carolina. The Saints are likely to look for the best quarterback (rookie or a veteran) that is available to be the No. 3 behind Drew Brees and Hill. New Orleans thinks highly of Hill as the heir apparent to Brees, but he's attempted just 13 passes the last two seasons, including just six attempts despite Brees missing extended time in 2019 with a finger injury. The 29-year-old gadget player won't have any lasting fantasy significance in redraft leagues unless Brees gets injured again or retires.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hip) said on Wednesday that his surgically repaired hip is fully healed and that he could play in a game at full strength right now. I feel 100 percent, Tagovailoa said in an exclusive interview with NFL Network. I feel like if there was a game today, I'd be able to go out and perform the same way I was able to perform in previous years. I feel as mobile as possible. I feel 100 percent. His agent, Chris Cabott, said that Tagovailoa's doctors have cleared him without restrictions. Tagovailoa is expected to be one of the top picks in this year's draft and the second QB selected after LSU's Joe Burrow, who is expected to go first overall. Tua hasn't said which teams he's met with virtually. The left-handed thrower has some injury risks, but he's extremely accurate and athletic and could be starting games in 2020 for whichever team selects him.
Free-agent LB Markus Golden is unlikely to return to the New York Giants because he's asking for too much money, according to a source. Golden is believed to be asking for north of $10 million per year.
Fantasy Spin: If Golden is classified as a defensive lineman, he rates as a midrange DL1 option in IDP leagues. He had 72 total tackles and 9.5 sacks last year. He's a flex option at linebacker wherever he lands.
Updating previous reports, Dallas Cowboys LB Aldon Smith will have a $2 million base salary and can earn $2 million more in sack incentives.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz was hurried 67 times in 2019 - tied with Derek Carr for the second-highest total in the league.
Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr was hurried 67 times in 2019 - tied with Carson Wentz for the second-highest total in the league.
Free-agent DE/LB Aldon Smith (Raiders) reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, April 1. Smith has not played in the league since 2017. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
The Dallas Cowboys signed former Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end Aldon Smith to a one-year, $4 million deal on Wednesday. He'll receive $2 million in base value and can earn an extra $2 million from sack incentives. Smith's contract with the team will officially begin when he's reinstated by the NFL. The former seventh overall pick by the 49ers in the 2011 draft, Smith last played in 2015 with the Raiders and has been out of the league since because of multiple off-the-field incidents. He was a first-team All-Pro with San Fran in his second season in the league and recorded 19.5 sacks and 29 QB hits that year. The Cowboys are taking a flier and hoping that he can get back at least some of that form to help Dallas' defensive line in 2020. All bets are off when it comes to Smith's play, but it's a nice comeback story nonetheless.
The Seattle Seahawks signed former Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa to an undisclosed deal on Wednesday, according to his agent, David Canter. Mayowa had a career-high seven sacks in his one and only season in Oakland last season in a rotational role. The 28-year-old will likely be a rotational player again in Seattle, which limits his ceiling in IDP leagues. Should Jadeveon Clowney go elsewhere on the open market, Mayowa will look to pick up the slack in rushing the passer. In seven seasons in the NFL, Mayowa has 20 sacks and 41 QB hits in 87 games played (15 starts).
Free-agent DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is still an option for the Seattle Seahawks even though they signed DE Benson Mayowa.
Updating a previous report, free-agent DE Benson Mayowa (Raiders) signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks worth $3 million, according to a source. The deal could be worth as much as $4 million with incentives.
Free-agent DE Benson Mayowa (Raiders) signed with the Seattle Seahawks Wednesday, April 1, according to his agent. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has dropped his asking price at least $2 million off the more than $20 million per season that he had been looking for, according to sources. Clowney is now seeking around $17-18 million per year, and the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans remain "interested" in signing the three-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher. He was traded from the Texans to the Seahawks before last season and had three sacks in 13 regular season games. Despite the lack of sacks, the 27-year-old was constantly disrupting the opponent's backfield and had two defensive touchdowns. He also dealt with a core muscle injury that required surgery, causing him to miss two games. Clowney is an injury risk but is effective when on the field. He'll be a boom/bust IDP commodity.
Free-agent DE/LB Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is now believed to be looking for $17 million to $18 million per season in a new contract, according to sources. He was believed to looking for at least $20 million per season when free agency started.
Updating a previous report, free-agent LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Bears) officially signed with the Washington Redskins Wednesday, April 1. Official terms of the contract were not disclosed.