Fri Sep 20 4:21pm ET
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer
New York Giants' Sterling Shepard (87) helps clear running room for running back Saquon Barkley (26) as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) defends in the second half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
In this Aug. 22, 2019, file photo, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Eli Manning's long and distinguished reign as the New York Giants' starting quarterback is seemingly over. Let the Daniel Jones era begin. Coach Pat Shurmur announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, that the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft is replacing two-time Super Bowl MVP as the Giants' quarterback, beginning Sunday at Tampa Bay.(AP Photo/Frank Victores, File)
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, left front, and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, right, greet each other after their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said he knew he had a concussion in the season opener against Dallas but played to try to help the team win.
Speaking on Friday for the first time since sustaining the concussion on Sept. 8, Shepard said he didn't start feeling normal until this week.
Shepard played the entire game in the 35-17 loss to the Cowboys. The team seemingly didn't find out about the concussion until after the game in the locker room. Shepard was sidelined in the 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills at home last weekend.
The four-year receiver practiced this week and is expected to play Sunday when the Giants (0-2) face the Buccaneers (1-1) in Tampa, Florida.
The NFL is trying to determine why spotters tasked with looking for players hurt during games didn't see Shepard was injured in the third quarter. The spotters and medical personnel can have a player taken off the field if they suspect a possible concussion.
''They tried to send someone in there for me and I just kind of waved them off,'' Shepard said. ''Ultimately, it's my decision, I guess, to say to stay in.''
Shepard said it took him a few plays until he felt OK, but he realized he probably was dealing with a concussion.
When asked why he stayed in and why he would risk his health, Shepard seemed uncertain.
''It was an in-the-moment decision,'' he said. ''I felt like I wanted to stay in and help my boys out, so that's why I did it.''
Shepard said he passed all the concussion tests the day after the game, but he didn't start feeling good to Sunday or Monday.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Shepard's concussion was being investigated ''behind the scenes'' and he couldn't answer any questions.
Shepard became the Giants' go-to receiver with the offseason trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland.
Daniel Jones, the sixth overall draft pick, is making his first start since replacing Eli Manning. Veteran receiver Cody Latimer, who started the first two games, will miss Sunday's game with a concussion incurred last week.
''I am just trying to help him (Jones) any way I can,'' Shepard said. ''It's his first time out there in live game action. It's my first time out there with him. That's where the week of preparation comes into play. You have to be on the same page with him and try to game his nerves a bit.''
Shepard didn't have any reps with Jones in the preseason because he broke his thumb on the first day of practice in training camp.
The 26-year-old Shepard has played almost all his career with Manning as his quarterback. He felt Manning played well this season but the team didn't do enough to win.
''He has been a great teammate and is going to remain a great teammate,'' Shepard said. ''The guy handles everything like a pro and he is helping Daniel with the preparation. He will take his role serious and do everything to help Daniel.''
Shepard caught passes with Jones after practice Friday. He said the rookie throws the ball a little harder than Manning and offers the option to run with the ball.
Shepard had six receptions for 42 yards against Dallas.
''I didn't feel good last week, sitting there watching my boys go out and play,'' Shepard said. ''So I am excited to be back out there on the field with my boys.''
NOTES: Shurmur said Manning would back up Jones on Sunday. ... Receivers used to hold a meeting with Manning after practice on the Friday before the game. The receivers were in the locker after practice. Jones will probably decide if and when he wants to meet with the receivers.
July 5th: Tightend Preview
The odds have likely increased that free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will re-sign with the Seattle Seahawks, in the opinion of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta. The Browns reportedly offered Clowney as much as $17 million at one point, but they're likely out of the picture now after they restructured Olivier Vernon's deal on Tuesday. The Raiders reportedly made an offer to Clowney this week, but it's considered to be the third-best offer he's received. Seattle won't offer him $15-16 million a year, but he doesn't have much to choose from at this point and would benefit from the familiarity of returning to the Seahawks. The 27-year-old is a pass-rushing force when healthy, but his lack of production (zero double-digit sack seasons) and lengthy injury history give pause to owners in IDP leagues. Expect Clowney to sign soon with training camp quickly approaching.
The Cleveland Browns signed No. 10 overall pick Jedrick Wills to his rookie contract on Tuesday. Wills and the team agreed upon a four-year, $19.7 million deal with a team option for a fifth year. The entire contract is fully guaranteed and the rookie tackle will take home an $11.889 million signing bonus. With Wills under contract, Cleveland has all but two of their draft picks signed as they gear up to begin training camp later in the month. Wills has plenty of work ahead of him as he will be asked to switch from right tackle, which he played in college, to left tackle. All reports about Wills' switch have been positive up until this point as the protector of Baker Mayfield's blind side.
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has not engaged in contract talks with the team since March, according to a source Monday, July 6. If a long-term extension isn't done by July 15, Prescott will play out the 2020 season under the franchise tag.
Updating a previous story, free-agent LB Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is becoming more likely to return to the Seattle Seahawks in 2020, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler's receiving grade of 94.2 over the last three seasons ranks No. 1 among all running backs, according to Pro Football Focus.
Fantasy Spin: Ekeler should handle the lion's share of the backfield duties all season and may become even more involved in the passing game with either of QB Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert under center. He should be selected as a low-tier RB1.
Updating a previous story, New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead will 'almost certainly play the final year of his three-year contract' after agreeing to restructure his deal and create just shy of $1 million in cap space Tuesday, July 7, according to Sean T. McGuire of NESN.com.
Updating a previous story, Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson apologized to team owner Jeff Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman Tuesday, July 7. The team told him he needs to be active to promote equality.
Updating previous stories, San Francisco 49ers CB Teez Tabor cleared waivers Tuesday, July 7, and is now officially a free agent.
Free-agent LB Jadeveon Clowney isn't believed to be a potential target of the Cleveland Browns any longer, after they were able to agree to a restructured contract with LB Olivier Vernon, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times Tuesday, July 7.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams ranked second in yards while catching 47 percent of tight-window throws sent in his direction in 2019.
Fantasy Spin: Williams led the NFL with 20.4 yards per receptions last year but caught just 49 of 90 targets overall. He finished with a career-best 1,001 yards. His upside may be hampered at the beginning of the season with QB Tyrod Taylor expected to be the Week 1 starter, but he should be stashed until rookie Justin Herbert gets his chance. He should be viewed as a WR3 with some early regression in store with the QB change from Philip Rivers.
Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson could be nearing the end of his time with the team for anti-Semitic comments he recently posted on one of his social media accounts. ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting the team's decision to keep Jackson on the roster could come down to whether or not the nature of the posts he made is a 'default' under his contract. Schefter, who also reports Jackson is guaranteed $4.8 million in salary in 2020 and has already received a $2 million option bonus, suggests the Eagles could try to figure out a way to recoup his guaranteed salary first before parting ways with the receiver.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson got himself into trouble with several anti-Semitic messages on his Instagram and could see himself released from his contract because of it. Jackson claims he feels no hatred toward the Jewish community, but he posted a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler and tried to say it was taken "the wrong way." The official statement by the Eagles said, "We are continuing to evaluate the circumstances and will take appropriate action." ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Jackson has already received a $2 million player option this year and has $4.8 million guaranteed. His release could come down to whether or not the Eagles are able to get their money back. If Jackson does end up released, Alshon Jeffery and Marquise Goodwin would benefit the most.
After restructuring Olivier Vernon's contract on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns are now unlikely to sign free-agent Jadeveon Clowney. Cleveland had been one of the teams often brought up as potential suitors for Clowney's services but the new contract for Vernon fully guarantees $11 million, money that likely would have gone into a deal with Clowney. Of course there were reports earlier in the offseason that Clowney didn't want to play for the Browns. Vernon will book-end star pass rusher Myles Garrett on the Cleveland defense for at least another season.
New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead has agreed to restructure his deal for the upcoming 2020 NFL season. His base salary will drop from $2.5 million to $1.05 million and includes a $550,000 signing bonus in 2020. The 30-year-old running back is entering his final year of his deal with the Pats. Sony Michel, James White, and possibly Damien Harris will all be above Burkhead on the depth chart. He won't carry much value in most fantasy formats, but a couple of injuries could open up an opportunity for Burkhead. However, until that happens, Burkhead will be stuck towards the bottom of the depth chart.
Cleveland Browns LB Olivier Vernon restructured his contract Tuesday, July 7. Vernon, who was previously due $15.25 million non-guaranteed, receives $11 million guaranteed through a $7 million signing bonus, a $3.75 million base salary and a $250,000 workout bonus. He can earn $2 million more from incentives.
New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead restructured his contract Tuesday, July 7. He received a $550,000 signing bonus and lowered his base salary from $2.5 million to $1.05 million. He can earn $400,000 in roster bonuses, which was reduced from $500,000. The move created $981,250 in salary cap space.
The Cleveland Browns and edge rusher Olivier Vernon have agreed to a restructured deal for the 2020 season. Vernon was originally owed $15.25 million non-guaranteed and will now bring home $11 million guaranteed for this upcoming season, with a $3.75 base salary and a $7 million signing bonus. The team and the pass-rusher were originally expected to part ways earlier in the offseason but he will stick around to bookend star defender Myles Garrett at least for another year.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III thinks Denver's backfield in 2020 will be explosive with himself and Phillip Lindsay. Gordon realizes that both he and Lindsay will be fighting to be the No. 1 back, regardless of the balance in the play-calling. "I hope it's electric, man, just cause it's crazy that his numbers [are what they are]; I just had a season with Austin Ekeler phenomenal player. Their game is about the same. And I think Lindsay is a great, phenomenal back," Gordon said. The former Bolts back acknowledged that the two will be competing for top-dog duties, but the Broncos didn't sign Gordon in free agency for him to be the No. 2. The two-time Pro Bowler should see plenty of work and is an RB2 with upside in an offense more suited to his strengths.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ended last year as one of the league's most dominant players. He finished with 3,127 passing yards and 36 touchdowns (six interceptions) while maintaining an exceptional 66.1 completion percentage. He also added 1,206 yards and seven additional scores on the ground and finished second with 867 rushing yards before contact. Though it is reasonable to think that the 23-year-old will regress this season, analyst Marcellus Wiley believes the opposite. While conversing on Fox Sports "Speak for Yourself," the former defensive end stated that he feels the young signal-caller will be "greater than great" in 2020, which is a scary declaration considering his statistical output through 15 games last season. He also indicated that a second consecutive MVP award is on the horizon. Whether fantasy managers agree or not, they should expect Jackson to be the first or second quarterback off the draft boards for the upcoming campaign.