|Poll: How much will Pats miss Vince Wilfork?||03.16.15 at 4:07 pm ET|
|As opening of free agency officially approaches, Texans cut ties with WR Andre Johnson||03.09.15 at 4:36 pm ET|
With 24 hours before the official start of free agency Tuesday afternoon, teams continued to make roster adjustments in preparation for the opening of the market. Here are some of the more notable moves:
The Texans cut wide receiver Andre Johnson. The veteran, who has played all 12 of his seasons in Houston, has 1,012 catches for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns over the course of his career, all while working with some truly wretched quarterbacks. Johnson will almost certainly be one of the most attractive targets in free agency, but he’ll turn 34 before the start of the 2015 season, which means he’ll have to take a slight pay cut from the $21.5 million (over two seasons) he had left on his deal with the Texans. It’s debatable as to whether or not the Patriots would be in the mix for Johnson, but he’ll certainly find plenty of interested partners when free agency begins on Tuesday, including the Colts, who recently cut ties with veteran Reggie Wayne.
One note we forgot to include earlier in the day — the Bills have retained pass-rushing specialist Jerry Hughes, as the TCU product has apparently agreed to a five-year deal worth roughly $45 million, with $20 million in guaranteed money. Hughes had 10 sacks in each of his first two seasons with Buffalo, and the 6-foot-2, 253-pounder will likely have s sizable role in Rex Ryan‘s defensive scheme with the Bills.
The Eagles reached an agreement on a new contract with outside linebacker Brandon Graham. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a four-year deal with $26 million, with $14 million in guaranteed money. One of the highest-rated edge defenders in the league, the 6-foot-2, 265-pounder finished with a career-high 5.5 sacks with Philly in 2014.
|Report: MRI reveals pectoral muscle tear, ending the season for Ryan Mallett||11.24.14 at 1:48 pm ET|
Ryan Mallett‘s first chance as an NFL starting quarterback lasted just two weeks.
An MRI performed Monday on the Houston Texans quarterback revealed a torn right pectoral muscle that he played through in Sunday’s 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The news was first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
The former back-up to Tom Brady, who is a free agent after this season, suffered the injury in his first career start Nov. 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He practiced fully all week but was on the injury report with a chest injury throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
In his first start Nov. 16 in Cleveland, Mallett completed 20 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He had the 10th-best rating of any Texans starting quarterback since 2001. On Sunday against the Bengals, Mallett completed only 21 of 45 passes and looked off target all afternoon.
Mallett won the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick just before their bye week in early November as head coach Bill O’Brien turned to the quarterback he coached in New England in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots traded Mallett to the Texans on Aug. 31 after spending the first three years of his career in New England. Mallett threw only four passes in those three years.
The Texans acquired him for a conditional draft pick. The pick is a sixth-rounder if Mallett plays 40 percent of the team’s snaps this season and a seventh-rounder if he plays less.
‘ Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 24, 2014
What a terrible blow for Mallett. Started first game and played well against Browns then played hurt and lost for season.
‘ John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 24, 2014
Torn pec for Mallett ends his season, but good chance of return. It’s not a “chest” injury as much as a “shoulder” injury, anatomically.
‘ Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) November 24, 2014
|Tom Brady thinks Brian Hoyer against Ryan Mallett is ‘pretty cool’||11.12.14 at 11:20 am ET|
FOXBORO — Tom Brady can’t wait to see his last two back-ups square off against each other.
Brian Hoyer will lead his 6-3 Cleveland Browns into battle against the 4-5 Houston Texans Sunday in Cleveland. The Texans starting quarterback will be Ryan Mallett, getting his first career NFL start.
Hoyer has his team all alone in first place in the AFC North while head coach Bill O’Brien decided to make a change, giving Mallett the chance after Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled heading into last week’s bye.
“It’s pretty cool,” Brady said. “It speaks to their work ethic and I think what they’ve been able to accomplish. They’ve both overcome quite a bit in their career, so it will be fun to see. We play at 8 o’clock, so I’m sure a lot of guys from our team will be paying attention.”
Of course, Brady will have some extra time to pay attention Sunday afternoon if he’s not napping. The Browns and Texans play at 1 p.m. in Cleveland while the Patriots don’t kick off in Indianapolis until 8:30 p.m.
Brady has already faced another former back-up this season head-to-head, when the Patriots beat Matt Cassel and the Vikings, 30-7, in Week 2.
|Thieves poach 3 Super Bowl rings from Mike Vrabel, and he’s pretty ticked||11.08.14 at 5:16 pm ET|
Vrabel, now the linebackers coach for the Houston Texans, tweeted Saturday that burglars broke into his home and took the jewelry.
Vrabel took to Twitter to express his outrage. “To all the Houston area pawn shops: 3 super bowl rings are headed your way. Courtesy of the m—– f—— who smashed our back door in.”
Vrabel wasn’t alone. His wife, Jen, lit into the culprits of the crime.
‘ jen (@JenVrabel1) November 8, 2014
According to a spokesperson for the Bellaire Police Department, the break-in took place around 11 a.m. Saturday. The Texans are on a bye this weekend.
Vrabel was a starting linebacker on the Patriots teams that won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX. He was also a favorite receiving target of quarterback Tom Brady.
A championship ring from the Patriots’ Super Bowl XXXVI season sold on eBay in April 2012 for $50,000.
|Tom Brady on Josh McDaniels: ‘I’m glad he’s my coach’||01.01.14 at 2:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Whether or not the Patriots lose offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to the Cleveland Browns, Tom Brady made a point of appreciating the work McDaniels has done in his two stints in New England.
Brady and McDaniels worked together from 2001-2008, when McDaniels left to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos for a season and a half. He then spent most of 2011 as the Rams offensive coordinator before returning to the Patriots late in the run to Super Bowl XLVI.
It was a natural when McDaniels, a native of Northeast Ohio, became a candidate for the Browns head coaching vacancy when Rob Chudzinski was fired on Monday.
“I’m not surprised by much anymore in the NFL,” Brady said of McDaniels’ name coming up as a leading candidate. “He’s a great coach and I said the other day, he’s one of my best buds and I’ve been around him for a long time so I know him pretty well. I’m glad he’s my coach.”
He was not as effusive about another former offensive coordinator. Bill O’Brien will reportedly be hired as the new coach of the Houston Texans. He was on the Patriots staff from 2007-11, and was the fiery offensive coordinator during the ’11 season with Brady.
“That was a long time ago,” Brady said of his time with O’Brien. “Truthfully, I’m just trying to stay focused on this week. That’s not really in my thought process right now.”
As for other teams tapping the Bill Belichick coaching tree, Brady said he’s grown accustomed to it by now.
“Multiple times but it’s a credit to those guys and what they’ve accomplished,” Brady said. “It’s a very flattering thing when other people are interested. But you know, they’ll make their decisions based on whatever they make their decisions based on. I still have to go out there and do my job, which is ultimately what I owe this team and what I signed up for and what I promised Mr. Kraft when I signed my contract. What I commit to Belichick and all my teammates that I’m going to do the best I can do. It doesn’t matter who’s coaching or who’s running routes or who [I’m] handing the ball off to or who’s blocking or who’s playing defense. I’ve got to do my job and that’s where my focus is.”
He wasn’t staying up late on New Year’s Eve worrying about his coaching staff or partying.
“I was asleep. We had an early-morning practice,” Brady said.
|Patriots release TE D.J. Williams||12.04.13 at 5:23 pm ET|
FOXBORO — One week after signing him for roster depth, the Patriots Wednesday released tight end D.J. Williams.
The 25-year-old was signed by the Patriots on Nov. 27 and saw limited action in the win last Sunday at Houston, playing four snaps. He was not targeted in the passing game.
The release of Williams comes on the same day that tight end Michael Hoomanawanui returned to practice after missing two games with a knee injury.
Williams played in seven games with one start for Jacksonville this season before being released by the Jaguars on Nov. 4. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick (101st overall) by Green Bay out of Arkansas in 2011. Williams was waived by Green Bay on Aug. 31, 2013, and claimed off waivers and awarded to Jacksonville on Sept. 1, 2013. He has played in 34 NFL games with three starts and has nine receptions for 70 yards.