NFL notes: Texans pull trigger on multiple trades
The Houston Texans continued a busy day of trades by addressing a glaring need to upgrade their offensive line by acquiring left tackle Laremy Tunsil from the Miami Dolphins in a deal that also netted them wide receiver Kenny Stills, a source familiar with the deal told the Associated Press.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the trade had not yet been announced.
Miami will receive a package that includes draft picks in the trade, which comes after the Texans agreed to a deal to ship 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks earlier Saturday, according to sources.
Tunsil immediately improves a line that allowed Deshaun Watson to be sacked an NFL-leading 62 times last season. Tunsil, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft, has started 44 games for the Dolphins in the past three seasons. The Texans signed veteran left tackle Matt Kalil in the offseason to protect Watson’s blind side, but the 25-year-old Tunsil will be a much better option after Kalil has struggled with injuries for years.
Stills joins a solid receiving group in Houston led by DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans also have Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, who have both missed significant time with injuries. Stills spent his first two seasons in New Orleans before playing for the Dolphins for the past four seasons.
He has been extremely durable in the past three seasons, starting all but one game. Stills had 37 receptions for 553 yards and six touchdowns last season after finishing with 847 yards receiving and six scores in 2017. A fifth-round pick in 2013, Stills has 4,138 yards receiving and 32 touchdowns in his career.
Rams coach Sean McVay and his staff made 18 cuts Friday, but more must go as the 53-man roster must be set by 1 p.m. PDT Saturday.
In other NFL news:
— The Buffalo Bills released veteran running back LeSean McCoy. General manager Brandon Beane called it a tough decision but best for the team. Beane announced the surprising decision on a conference call hours before NFL teams set their 53-player rosters. McCoy, 31, is an 11-year veteran. He ranks fourth among active players on the career rushing list. But he is coming off his least productive season and was the odd man out after Buffalo restocked its running backs this offseason.
— A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press that the Jacksonville Jaguars are giving linebacker Myles Jack a four-year contract extension worth $57 million, a move that will give the team more flexibility with its franchise tag in 2020. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been signed. The person said the extension includes $33 million guaranteed, including a $13 million signing bonus. His salary cap number will be about $4 million in 2019. A second-round draft pick from UCLA in 2016, Jack was entering the final year of his rookie deal.
— Seattle agreed to trade for Houston pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. If all players pass their physicals, the Seahawks would send linebackers Jacob Martin and Barkevious Mingo along with a third-round pick to Houston. Clowney, 26, is a three-time Pro Bowl pick with 29 sacks in 62 career games. ... Also, the Seahawks set their 53-man roster without a backup quarterback to Russell Wilson after releasing both Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch to reach the league limit. Seattle clearly wanted to see what else became available as other teams made their cuts.
— Kansas City wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas was suspended for the season opener for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and the club made a pair of trades. The Chiefs sent backup running back Carlos Hyde to Houston for Martinas Rankin, who is expected to provide depth along the offensive line. They also sent defensive back Mark Fields to Minnesota for a seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft. Defensive back Morris Claiborne joined Thomas on the reserve-suspended list while he misses the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
— The Oakland Raiders placed defensive tackle Justin Ellis on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury. Ellis had been dealing with the injury for much of camp and never was able to get healthy enough for coach Jon Gruden to believe he could contribute this season on the defense.
— Denver needs a backup to new quarterback Joe Flacco after cutting Kevin Hogan and rookie Brett Rypien. Broncos general manager John Elway said rookie Drew Lock (thumb) will go on injured reserve Sunday with the hope he can return at midseason. “We’re exploring all options” at quarterback, said Elway, who added that running back Theo Riddick (shoulder) and tight end Jake Butt (knee) will also go on IR.
— The Tennessee Titans traded wide receiver Taywan Taylor to the Cleveland Browns for a 2020 draft pick before the teams open the season against each other. Taylor was their third-round draft pick out of Western Kentucky in 2017, and he has 53 catches for 687 yards and two touchdowns in 29 games. But the speedy Taylor struggled with consistency and dropped balls, making him expendable once the Titans added Adam Humphries and drafted A.J. Brown.
— Dallas released safety George Iloka, one of its most notable signings in free agency, to get its roster down to 53 players for the regular season. Iloka was added after the Cowboys weren’t significant bidders in the pursuit of free agent Earl Thomas. The former Seattle standout chose Baltimore. Iloka spent his first six seasons with Cincinnati before a year with Minnesota. With two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott still holding out, the Cowboys kept two other running backs Saturday in rookie Tony Pollard and veteran Alfred Morris, who was added during training camp.
— The Atlanta Falcons will be re-signing kicker Matt Bryant, 44, after declining to pick up his option this summer. He is the Falcons’ franchise leader with 1,122 points. The team had recently signed veteran kicker Blair Walsh to compete with Giorgia Tavecchio, who struggled this preseason.
— The Washington Redskins will try to trade, or eventually release, former first-round pick Josh Doctson. The 26-year-old wide receiver was the 22nd overall selection in the 2016 draft but only played in two games his rookie season because of injury. He had 81 receptions and eight touchdowns in 33 games.
— New England released quarterback Tom Brady’s backup, Brian Hoyer, who was beaten out by rookie Jarrett Stidham , a fourth-rounder from Auburn. The Patriots also cut wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and placed starting center David Andrews on injured reserve after he suffered blood clots in his lung last week.
— The Philadelphia Eagles released their two top rushers from last season, Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood, and offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski, the starting left guard for the 2017 Super Bowl championship team.
— Minnesota waived kicker/punter prospect Kaare Vedvik, just three weeks after it acquired him in a trade for a fifth-round draft pick. Vedvik was among the 32 players cut by the Vikings to reach the 53-man limit for the regular season, meaning incumbents Dan Bailey and Matt Wile will stay as kicker and punter. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, the Vikings’ first-round draft pick in 2016, was also, unsurprisingly, cut. Quarterbacks Kyle Sloter and Jake Browning were let go too, leaving Sean Mannion as the lone backup to Kirk Cousins.
— Cleveland Browns veteran punter Britton Colquitt lost his job to an undrafted rookie Jamie Gillan, “The Scottish Hammer.”
— The New Orleans Saints cut tight ends Alize’ Mack, a seventh-round flyer from Notre Dame, and Dan Arnold, who dropped a touchdown pass in the NFC championship game.
—The New York Giants waived quarterback Kyle Lauletta, a fourth-round pick a year ago.
— San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon went on injured reserve, meaning he will miss a second straight season after having complications in his recovery from a knee injury.
— Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted outside linebacker Tuzar Skipper made the roster after collecting an NFL-high five sacks in the preseason.
— The Tampa Buccaneers acquired offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins and a draft pick from Pittsburgh for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft. The Buccaneers announced the move, adding that the draft choice they will receive from the Steelers is a seventh-round selection in 2021.
— The New York Jets cut third-round pick Jachai Polite, a pass rusher from Florida who was selected by previous general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was fired a few weeks after the draft and replaced by Joe Douglas.
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