Tue Oct 22 3:19pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown has died at the age of 78.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Brown's death on Tuesday. There was no cause of death released but Brown had been dealing with cancer.
Al Davis acquired Brown for the Raiders in a trade from Denver in 1967 in one of the best moves he made during his Hall of Fame career running the Raiders.
Brown went on to have a brilliant career over 12 years with Oakland, highlighted by his 75-yard interception return for a touchdown against Minnesota that helped the Raiders win their first Super Bowl following the 1976 season.
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said that he will hand play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly in 2020. O'Brien had been calling the offensive plays in Houston since he took over from former offensive coordinator George Godsey in 2016. Kelly will be in his second season as the OC and has worked with O'Brien since he was a graduate assistant at Penn State. The Texans finished 13th in the NFL in 2019 in yards per game (362). Kelly will also work closely with quarterback Deshaun Watson, and this news could actually raise the ceiling of Houston's entire offense next year. "Deshaun and [Kelly] have a great relationship," O'Brien said. "... Deshaun has great trust in Timmy and the work that Timmy puts in, what Tim brings to the meeting room and on the field. Tim is an excellent coach."
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that running back Chris Carson (hip) is making progress but can't do much yet in his rehab. However, the Seahawks expect Carson to be ready for the 2020 season. The 25-year-old missed just one game in 2019 and handled 278 carries for 1,230 yards and seven rushing touchdowns for Seattle in his third year in the league. It was Carson's second straight 1,000-yard rushing season, and he also added a career-high 37 receptions for 266 yards and two scores through the air. He has yet to play in a full season but has missed just three games in the last two seasons. With Rashaad Penny (knee) doubtful to be ready for Week 1, Carson should handle the bulk of the load heading into the regular season and will be a strong RB1 in this run-first offense if he's fully healthy.
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas said he wants to keep safety Jamal Adams "a long time." "Jamal is an unbelievable player. We're excited about Jamal. The plan is for Jamal to be a Jet for life," Douglas said of his now fourth-year playmaker and two-time Pro Bowler in the deep middle of his defense. The Jets have had extension talks with Adams, but he's also under team control for another two years, which means the Jets don't have to rush into anything. As one of the top safeties in the league already, Adams will surely be trying to become the league's highest-paid safety when the time comes. He'll be one of the more attractive safeties in IDP leagues in 2020 and beyond.
The Carolina Panthers declined the fully guaranteed $1 million option for wide receiver Jarius Wright on Tuesday, according to a source. With the move, the Panthers will free up $3 million in salary cap space. Wright had just 28 receptions for 296 yards and no touchdowns in a full season in his second and final year in Carolina. It didn't help that quarterback Cam Newton (foot) played in just two games, but Wright probably wouldn't have contributed all that much in the passing game to begin with. Wherever he lands next, Wright will be receiver depth and contribute on special teams.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku is likely to have his fifth-year option picked up, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku had a down year in 2019, as he didn't seem to gel with former head coach Freddie Kitchens. He finished the season with just 41 yards a touchdown in four games played. A first-rounder in 2017, there's still plenty of hope for his future.
Impending free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney will be a target of the Seattle Seahawks for a new deal, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We are going to try,' Carroll said. 'We are trying to get it done. He had a fantastic season. We'd love to have him back.'
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell will remain a part of the team in 2020, according to general manager Joe Douglas Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'There hasn't been talk as far as him going anywhere,' Douglas said. 'We're excited about Le'Veon. Le'Veon has been a great teammate. I can't tell you how great he's been. ... We're excited to have him.'
Fantasy Spin: Bell rushed for just 789 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Jets while adding another 461 yards and a touchdown as a receiver. He has dropped into the RB2 tier for 2020 and will need to reprove himself within the Jets offense.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett needs to be seen in a larger sample of work, according to general manager Chris Ballard Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We did a 2-year deal with Jacoby to find out,' Ballard said at a press conference from the Scouting Combine. 'We like Jacoby Brissett. Love what he stands for. It was almost a tale of two seasons where we're 5-2, he's playing good football. He had the injury and we had injuries as a team and we kind of slid down. We did the short term deal to see what we had. To say we're going to create competition, we're going to create competition at any spot. That's going to be a year-to-year thing.'
Fantasy Spin: Brissett threw for 2,942 yards with 18 touchdowns and just six interceptions last season, but he was able to lead the Colts to a record of just 7-8 in his 15 starts. It's clear he needs more help in the passing game than he had in 2019, and he should be able to be a serviceable QB2 in fantasy leagues if Indy makes some additions this offseason.
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (foot) hasn't yet played to the best of his abilities, according to new head coach Matt Rhule Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'I'm really excited to coach Cam Newton,' Rhule said. 'Just getting to know him, being around him, seeing the way he's rehabbing, taking this seriously. I think if he does this right and we do this right, his best football is ahead of him.'
Fantasy Spin: It's a bold claim for the former Offensive Rookie of the Year and MVP, but he should certainly be able to bounce back from his more recent decent years. If Newton does in fact stay in Carolina, he'll be a low-end QB1 at draft time.
Impending free-agent DL Jarran Reed is wanted back for the 2020 season, according to Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Impending free-agent RB Marshawn Lynch hasn't shared his plans for the 2020 season, according to Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Fantasy Spin: Lynch won't warrant fantasy consideration if he does return to the Seahawks. He'll be behind both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny when both are healthy and won't receive reliable work.
Impending free-agent RB Kenyan Drake is wanted back by the team, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We'd love to have him back, he's a perfect fit for our offense,' Kingsbury said. 'He's certainly a guy we would like to have back but again not sure what the market is going to do,' said Keim.
Fantasy Spin: Drake rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns over eight games with the Cardinals after being acquired from the Miami Dolphins. He dethroned David Johnson and Chase Edmonds in the backfield, and he'll be a top-end RB2 wherever he plays in 2020.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson is still valued by the team, according to general manager Steve Keim Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'He's a guy who's shown he can do it,' Keim said. 'I think because of the success that Kenyan (Drake) had, because of the success Chase (Edmonds) had, I think that's something that will be a chip on his shoulder. He's going to want to come back and play well and again because of his skillset, he's such a big talented athlete, we certainly think he can jump back in and do some good things for us.'
Fantasy Spin: Johnson has struggled the last three seasons since his All-Pro 2016 campaign while battling various injuries. He lost work to Kenyan Drake at the end of last season and he's a wild card until it's known how the Cardinals' backfield depth chart will stack up.
Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson (hip) is expected to be ready for the start of the season, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Feb. 25. Carroll added Carson isn't yet able to do much work.
Fantasy Spin: Carson rushed for a career-high 1,230 yards with seven touchdowns in 15 games before suffering the injury. He'll be a low-end RB1 entering 2020 with RB Rashaad Penny (knee) further behind in his recovery.
Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny (knee) is likely to begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Pete Carroll Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Fantasy Spin: Penny was just coming into his own in his sophomore season before suffering the injury. He's likely to again start the year behind RB Chris Carson on the backfield depth chart, but he'll be a high-upside RB4 option in the later rounds.
Impending free-agent RB Derrick Henry will be attempted to be retained by the team, according to general manager Jon Robinson Tuesday, Feb. 25. 'We're going to work through that one and do everything we can to try to keep him around,' said Robinson.
Fantasy Spin: It's well known how well Henry can perform in the Titans' system, and while it's likely he can be a top fantasy performer wherever he could go, fantasy managers shouldn't be hoping for a chance. He'll be in the RB1 conversation if back with the Titans in 2020.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard has the coaching staff 'more than excited' about what he can do in his second year under head coach Bruce Arians, according to general manager Jason Licht Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Fantasy Spin: It's strong praise for a player who was targeted just 53 times in 14 games. He caught 34 passes for 459 yards and a single touchdown as one of fantasy's biggest disappointments in 2019. He'll be a risky TE1 pick in 2020 drafts, depending on who's at QB for the Bucs.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) has already resumed working out and will be ready to go for the start of the team's offseason program, according to general manager Bob Quinn Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Impending free-agent RB Kareem Hunt will be tendered, according to Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry Tuesday, Feb. 25. Berry didn't say which level of tender Hunt would receive.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt excelled as a dual-threat complement to Nick Chubb over his eight games played in 2019. He totaled 464 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns and will be an RB4 or 5 if he sticks in Cleveland for the 2020 campaign.
New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (neck) has the team 'hopeful' he'll be able to play again, according to general manager Joe Douglas Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Fantasy Spin: Enunwa played just one game in 2019. It's possible he could have a future role in the Jets offense, especially if WR Robby Anderson doesn't return to the team, but he won't carry any fantasy value into the season.