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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

NFL eliminates preseason OTs, defeats onside kick proposal

Wed Apr 21 3:28pm ET
By The Associated Press

NFL owners approved eliminating overtime in preseason games and expanded selection of jersey numbers for receivers, running backs and defensive backs.

The league also will allow on-field officials to get certain ''objective information'' from the replay official and designated members of the officiating department ''when clear and obvious video evidence is present.''

During a virtual meeting Wednesday, the 32 owners also defeated a proposal by the Philadelphia Eagles that a team be given two chances per game to retain possession after a score by converting a fourth-and-15 play from its 25-yard line. Some owners, general managers and coaches considered that too gimmicky, though they are eager to find a solution to the near-disappearance of the onside kick.

But the owners did approve establishing a maximum number of players in the setup zone (between 10 and 25 yards from the kickoff) in hopes of enhancing onside kick opportunities. Defending teams will be limited to nine players in that zone.

Also approved were ensuring enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive extra-point attempts, and adding a loss of down for a second forward pass thrown from behind the line of scrimmage, and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.

The league announced that its 2021 schedule, the first with a 17-game regular season, will be released May 12.

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Player Notes
Kerryon Johnson May 7 4:40pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles claimed former Detroit Lions second-round running back Kerryon Johnson off waivers on Friday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. The Lions waived the Auburn product on Thursday. Johnson became expendable after the team drafted D'Andre Swift in the first round in 2020, signed free-agent running back Jamaal Williams and then drafted Jermar Jefferson in the seventh round last weekend. He led the Lions with 641 rushing yards in 2018 despite playing in just 10 games due to a knee injury, but the second-rounder was limited to just eight games in 2019 and lost valuable playing time to Swift and veteran Adrian Peterson last season. The 23-year-old will compete for touches behind Miles Sanders in Philly with Boston Scott, Jason Huntley and Jordan Howard in 2021.

From RotoBaller

Neville Hewitt May 7 4:10pm ET

Former New York Jets unrestricted free-agent linebacker Neville Hewitt is signing an undisclosed one-year deal with the Houston Texans on Friday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Hewitt has racked up 248 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 44 games since 2018 with the Jets. The 28-year-old had a career year in 2020, posting career-highs in tackles (134) while also forcing a fumble in 16 starts. He was an undrafted free agent out of Marshall and spent the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. Hewitt will reunite with ex-Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who also signed with Houston in free agency. A change in defensive schemes in New York and the salary cap situation likely led to the Jets letting Hewitt walk in free agency.

From RotoBaller

Josh Hill May 7 12:50pm ET

Detroit Lions tight end Josh Hill announced his retirement on Thursday, less than two months after he signed with the team as a free agent. Detroit signed veteran Darren Fells as a replacement. The soon-to-be 31-year-old spent his first eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints before being released. His one-year deal was scheduled to pay him $1.2 million in 2021. Hill became a versatile blocker, receiver, special-teamer and occasional fullback in his time with the Saints after going undrafted out of Idaho State in 2013. He'll finish his career with 116 catches for 1,071 yards and 15 touchdowns in the regular season. Hill added another 15 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown in the postseason.

From RotoBaller

Josh Doctson May 7 12:40pm ET

The New York Jets released former first-round wide receiver Josh Doctson on Friday. Doctson never actually played a snap for the Jets after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. The Jets also cut cornerback Kyron Brown, tight end Connor Davis, offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi, kicker Chase McLaughlin and wide receiver Jaleel Scott on Friday. Doctson, the No. 22 overall pick in 2016 by the Washington Football Team, spent three seasons with Washington and had 1,100 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 81 catches. The 28-year-old saw just seven snaps with the Minnesota Vikings in 2019 before being released. Even if Doctson latches on with another team, he won't be worth taking in fantasy leagues in 2021.

From RotoBaller

Quinnen Williams May 7 12:40pm ET

New York Jets star defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (foot) underwent successful surgery on Thursday to fix a broken bone in his foot, according to a source informed of the situation. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. Head coach Robert Saleh said the team is expecting Williams to be back by training camp this summer. Williams suffered the injury while working out and is expected to be out for 10 to 12 weeks. The 23-year-old is extremely key to Gang Green's success on defense, so it's great news that he shouldn't have to miss any regular season action in 2021. Williams had 55 tackles and seven sacks for the Jets defensive line last year.

From RotoBaller

Mike Strachan May 7 12:30pm ET

Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye became the fastest first-round pick to sign his first NFL contract on Thursday. Defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo, safety Shawn Davis, wide receiver Mike Strachan and offensive lineman Will Fries also signed their rookie contracts with the Colts. Paye was the 21st overall pick in last week's draft and will fill a spot vacated by the departure of Justin Houston after just one year in Indy. He's set to account for around $2.4 million in his rookie season, per OverTheCap. Paye is a very raw edge rusher that has plenty of upside. He will need to improve on his hand usage at the next level, but he has the size and tools to turn into a dominant 4-3 defensive end for the Colts.

From RotoBaller

D'Wayne Eskridge May 7 12:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett believes that rookie D'Wayne Eskridge, selected with the No. 56 overall pick in last week's NFL draft, will be an immediate contributor in 2021 alongside himself and DK Metcalf. "He's very explosive," Lockett said. Eskridge stands at just 5-foot-9, but he ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at Western Michigan's Pro Day and racked up more than 2,000 receiving yards in college. He had 768 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on only 33 catches in six games played in 2020. Eskridge is extremely athletic and has plenty of home run playmaking ability, but he'll need to improve his route-running tree if he's to be an effective No. 3 in Seattle in Year 1. After Seattle's offense sputtered out in the second half last year, Eskridge could be the key to the passing game flourishing once again in 2021. He could develop into a WR3/flex option in his rookie season.

From RotoBaller

Jeff Okudah May 7 12:10pm ET

Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (groin) is close to 100 percent recovered from groin surgery that ended his disappointing rookie season. With an all new defensive coaching staff in 2021, Okudah is optimistic that he'll turn things around in his sophomore season. The No. 3 overall pick had just one interception and two passes defensed while allowing a passer rating of 118 on balls thrown in his area in nine games, according to Pro Football Reference. Okudah said he currently has no restrictions in his training and is "feeling great." Detroit will be counting on Okudah to start this year, likely opposite Amani Oruwariye. If Okudah can bounce back and stay healthy in his second season, it'd be great news for Detroit's secondary.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff May 7 12:10pm ET

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff said that he and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn have been in constant dialogue about the team's evolving playbook. "I think the to describe it, is the way he described it to us, is multiple with spread principles, and I think it's going to have a little bit of what they did with (Justin) Herbert and the (Los Angeles) Chargers and a little bit of what he did in Buffalo. it's a nice little mixture of it so far and it's been good," Goff said. Lynn's Bills led the league in rushing when he was the offensive coordinator there in 2016, and the Lions offense is expected to be a run-first squad that leans heavily on play-action passing, something that Goff excelled at in his time with the Los Angeles Rams. With not many standout receiving weapons as the team rebuilds, Goff will be an unappetizing QB2 for fantasy managers in his first year in Detroit.

From RotoBaller

Byron Jones May 7 11:50am ET

The Miami Dolphins signed veteran free-agent cornerback Jason McCourty to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to a source. The 12-year veteran will reunite with head coach Brian Flores after the two worked together with the New England Patriots. The 33-year-old McCourty will give Miami a veteran presence in the secondary and is expected to be behind both Xavien Howard and Byron Jones on the cornerback depth chart. McCourty had 115 solo tackles, two interceptions, 19 passes defensed and a forced fumble in the last three seasons with the Patriots. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2009 by the Tennessee Titans and spent eight seasons with them before a one-year stint with the Cleveland Browns.

From RotoBaller

Bobby McCain May 7 11:40am ET

Former Miami Dolphins safety Bobby McCain, who was released on Thursday, is scheduled to visit with the Washington Football Team on Monday, according to a source. The 27-year-old was taken in the fifth round in 2015 out of Memphis and grew into a dependable member of Miami's secondary. But the Dolphins are gearing up to be contenders and saw McCain's release as a way to save some salary cap space. If he's designated as a pre-June 1 cut, Miami will save $5.6 million. If he's designated as a post-June 1 cut, Miami will save $6.4 million. In 16 games for the Dolphins last year, McCain recorded 46 tackles (39 solo), one interception and five passes defensed.

From RotoBaller

Neville Hewitt May 6 10:30pm ET

New York Jets unrestricted free-agent linebacker Neville Hewitt visited with the Houston Texans on Thursday, according to a source. The Texans have signed more free agents this offseason than any other team, but they may be adding to that list with Hewitt. He led the Jets with 134 tackles (six for loss) and added two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 16 starts last season, his third with the Jets. The 28-year-old spent the first three seasons of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins after going undrafted out of Marshall. In 82 career games (39 starts), Hewitt has 352 combined tackles (20 for loss), 18 QB hits, three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and 7.5 sacks.

From RotoBaller

Josh Hill May 6 7:53pm ET

Detroit Lions TE Josh Hill announced his retirement from professional football Thursday, May 6.

From TheHuddle

Bobby McCain May 6 7:43pm ET

Free-agent S Bobby McCain (Dolphins) is scheduled to meet with the Washington Football Team Monday, May 10, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Neville Hewitt May 6 6:43pm ET

Free-agent LB Neville Hewitt (Jets) is meeting with the Houston Texans Thursday, May 6, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Jason McCourty May 6 6:13pm ET

Free-agent CB Jason McCourty (Patriots) agreed to terms with the Miami Dolphins Thursday, May 6, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Kerryon Johnson May 6 4:33pm ET

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson was officially waived Thursday, May 6.

From TheHuddle

Brian Hill May 6 2:40pm ET

The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms on undisclosed deals with running back Brian Hill, linebacker Justin March-Lillard and defensive back Greg Maybin on Thursday. The team also released cornerback Kareem Orr. Hill will compete with Darrynton Evans for the No. 2 role behind workhorse Derrick Henry in 2021. The 25-year-old carried the ball 100 times for 465 yards and a touchdown last season while also grabbing 25 receptions for 199 additional yards. In his four-year career, Hill has 209 carries for 982 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, adding 38 receptions for 313 yards and another score in 45 games (three starts). Unless Henry misses time with an injury this season, Hill is likely to be left to the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

Justin Layne May 6 1:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possessing criminal tools and had a felony gun charge dropped on Wednesday, stemming from a traffic stop in northeast Ohio on April 23. The 23-year-old received six months of probation, 32 hours of community service and a $500 fine and was ordered to pay court costs. He was initially pulled over going 89 mph in a 60 mph zone last month, when officers found a loaded pistol in his car. Layne was also charged with two misdemeanors -- driving with a suspended license and exceeding speed limits. Layne was taken in the third round of the 2019 draft and appeared in all 16 games for the Steelers last season.

From RotoBaller

Blaine Gabbert May 6 1:40pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a one-year deal worth up to $2.5 million, according to a source. Gabbert earned $1.187 million in 2020 and $1.6 million in 2019 and has played in 60 career games (48 starts) in the NFL. The 31-year-old completed nine of his 16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns as Tom Brady's primary backup last year. The Buccaneers also re-signed Ryan Griffin, last year's third-stringer, and drafted quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round of the NFL draft last week. This will be Gabbert's third season with Tampa after spending 2018 with the Tennessee Titans, 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals, 2014-16 with the San Francisco 49ers and 2011-13 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

From RotoBaller