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NFL notes: Jets take aim at franchise QB by acquiring No. 3 draft pick in trade with Colts

The New York Jets shook up the NFL draft on Saturday by soaring three spots to No. 3 overall in a stunning swap with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Jets acquired the third pick in a sure sign that they intend to get one of the top quarterbacks available. They sent the Colts their first-rounder — No. 6 overall — along with two second-rounders this year and a second-rounder next year to complete the massive deal.

After losing out to Minnesota in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes at the start of free agency, New York re-signed veteran Josh McCown and agreed to terms with Teddy Bridgewater, both on one-year deals. But it was believed the Jets would still focus on finding a quarterback of the future with their first-round pick.

By moving up to No. 3, New York assures itself of getting one of the top-rated quarterbacks available. USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield are all considered potential top-five selections.

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General manager Mike Maccagnan has been zeroing in on the top QBs up close, attending the pro days of both Mayfield and Rosen. He also plans to attend the pro days for Darnold and Allen.

For the Colts, they now have nine picks overall and appear to be in a rebuilding phase after going 4-12 and missing the playoffs for the third straight year. Getting extra picks from the Jets will surely help, giving Indianapolis four selections in the top 50 in this year’s draft.

Questions still surround the status of quarterback Andrew Luck’s surgically repaired right shoulder, leading rusher Frank Gore is a free agent and Indianapolis still needs to fix a leaky offensive line. The Colts need improvements on defense after finishing 30th overall and 31st in sacks.

The Colts had also done very little in free agency — until Saturday. They signed backup defensive end Denico Autry from Oakland and already have lost two other key players: receiver Donte Moncrief, an occasional starter, and emerging cornerback Rashaan Melvin.

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Woodhead retires

Versatile running back Danny Woodhead has announced his retirement from the NFL after 10 seasons.

Woodhead, who played with Baltimore last season, wrote in an Instagram post early Saturday that it is time for him to leave the game he loves.

The 5-foot-8 Woodhead was a two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner at Chadron State in Nebraska as the top player in NCAA Division II. Despite his college success, he went undrafted in 2008 and signed with the New York Jets as a free agent.

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He joined New England early in the 2010 season and played three years with the Patriots while establishing himself as a solid playmaker. Woodhead signed with the Chargers in 2013 and played parts of four seasons with them.

Woodhead had 2,238 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns, along with 300 catches for 2,698 yards and 17 scores.

In free-agency news:

— The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent linebacker Kyle Wilber to provide depth and special teams help. The Raiders also announced Saturday they signed defensive lineman Tank Carradine.

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— The New England Patriots bolstered their pass rush and backfield depth with the free agent signings of defensive end Adrian Clayborn and running back Jeremy Hill on Saturday. The Patriots also announced the signing of veteran offensive tackle Matt Tobin.

— The Arizona Cardinals have signed free agent offensive lineman Justin Pugh to a five-year contract. The 6-foot-5, 311-pound Pugh — who has plays guard or tackle — spent the past five seasons with the New York Giants, where he started 63 games.

Etc.

The Indianapolis Colts have released defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins. Hankins signed a three-year deal worth $27 million in free agency last season. He made 15 starts and finished with 44 tackles and two sacks. … The Tennessee Titans released defensive lineman Sylvester Williams after one season into a three-year deal signed a year ago. Williams’ base salary for this season was $5 million and $5.5 million in 2019.

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UPDATES:

3:45 p.m.: This article has been updated with news about Danny Woodhead’s retirement, free-agency moves and roster cuts.

This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m.


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