Browns trade punter Andy Lee to Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns swapped punters.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Panthers acquired veteran Andy Lee from the Browns, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

The team later confirmed the deal.

Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd, wide receiver. For the Bengals, much of Dalton’s success will depend on how three pass catchers — veterans Brandon LaFell and Brandon Tate, as well as the rookie Boyd — make up for the loss of Jones and Sanu. This is especially critical with tight end Tyler Eifert (ankle) not expected back until Week 4 at the earliest.

Cleveland Browns: Corey Coleman, wide receiver. The rookie has dazzling potential and could make waves in 2016 alongside Josh Gordon and Terrelle Pryor. Still, there are so many new faces in Cleveland, it’s impossible to pick just one. On defense, keep an eye on high-motor pass rusher Carl Nassib, another promising first-year player. The offensive line, though, could be this squad’s fierce undoing.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Shazier, inside linebacker. A healthy Steelers offense can still blister teams with yardage and points, but let’s focus on defense: Shazier needs to pick up where he left off last season, playing the best football of his young career alongside fellow inside ‘backer Lawrence Timmons. With Pittsburgh’s secondary still a major question, Shazier is the most important figure on this side of the ball.

The deal ends one of the more nettlesome and controversial rookie holdouts in recent league history after Bosa, the former Ohio State star, and the team were deadlocked on how guarantees in his contract would be distributed.

The nitty-gritty details have yet to be announced, but NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Bosa inked a four-year, $25.8 million deal, per a source. The fully guaranteed pact comes with a $17 million signing bonus, per Rapoport, the largest upfront bonus installment in Chargers history for a veteran or rookie.

“I am very relieved. I knew it was going to get done. I was just surprised how long it took,” Bosa told reporters Monday. “I really left it mostly to my agents. That’s why I trust them. We just wanted what’s fair and what people in my position have gotten through the last five, six years. We came to a fair deal. There’s no animosity between any of us, me towards them or them towards me.”

“We look forward to having Joey join us and getting him prepared as quickly as possible for the 2016 season,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said in a statement released by the club — a statement far less incendiary than the contentious, detail-filled missive the Bolts released a week ago describing their dealings with the rookie.

The late-August signing leaves Bosa under the gun to develop in a hurry. After missing all of training camp and three preseason games, the third-overall pick is no guarantee to make an immediate impact in San Diego.

“Of course I’d loved to be out here with my teammates. NFL is a business and like I said I’m happy it’s over with,” said Bosa.
“We’ll see when he’s ready to go. We’re not going to put a timetable on it,” head coach Mike McCoy told reporters Monday. “We’ll get him up to speed as quickly as we can. … It’s a matter of just getting used to playing in pads with his teammates.”

Victor Cruz doesn’t need to prove anything to his Giants teammates

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If Victor Cruz’s return to the field Saturday proves to be a dud and comes with zero catches for zero yards and several drops, it won’t mean much to Odell Beckham Jr. The New York Giants’ star wide receiver isn’t worried about what Cruz does in the preseason.

Beckham doesn’t need any convincing to prove that Cruz can help the team this season. He has said on several occasions that the only date that matters is Sept. 11 — the day the Giants open their season on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

And while the Giants and fans want a clearer idea of what Cruz can do on the field after almost two full seasons on the sideline, his teammates don’t seem to care much. They seem convinced — almost to a man — the return of the old Victor Cruz will happen. It’s only a matter of when.

“He doesn’t need to prove anything to me,” running back Rashad Jennings said.

Cruz, 29, was a Pro Bowl receiver. He has two 1,000-yard seasons and a Super Bowl touchdown catch and ring on his resume, but suffered a serious, season-ending knee injury early in 2014 and missed all of 2015 with a calf injury. Cruz also struggled this summer with a groin injury.

It doesn’t seem to matter. The way undrafted rookie cornerback Donte Deayon sees it, Cruz is a “somewhat of a legend.” It’s a sentiment shared by many of the younger players in the locker room who look up to Cruz and his salsa-dancing superstardom. They’re used to seeing No. 80 making defensive backs look foolish.

It’s not as important to his teammates. They’ve remained patient, and are willing to stay that way through the start of the regular season, if need be.

“You tell him to just pace himself,” Harris said. “We have a lot of time until Sept. 11. We have 16 games. You don’t want to poop out the first half of the season and not be able to play the second half of the season when we really need you. If you miss a couple games, it’s cool.

“We have a whole lot of games after that. I tell him every day, ‘Keep your head up. Stay focused. Take your time getting back.'”

As if two years wasn’t enough already, Cruz’s teammates are willing to wait longer if necessary. Fatigue? What fatigue?

Thankfully, they’ll receive a sneak peek on Saturday and, in their eyes, how it unfolds doesn’t really matter. As long as Cruz comes out of it healthy.

It was the first place where Bill Parcells truly tested Romo to see whether he had the mettle to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It was only a preseason game on Aug. 12, 2006, but Romo not only started the game against the Seattle Seahawks but went the distance.

He completed 19 of 25 passes for 235 yards and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton in the Dallas Cowboys’ 13-3 win.

A little more than two months later and with the Cowboys sitting at 3-3, Parcells replaced Drew Bledsoe with Romo.

Romo-mentum and Romo-mania were born. Romo has become the franchise leader in touchdown passes, been selected to four Pro Bowls and been the reason the Cowboys have been in contention when he has started and finished a season.

But things changed on Jan. 6, 2007.

That’s the night a potentially game-winning field goal attempt slipped through Romo’s hands on the snap. The Cowboys lost 21-20, and it was the last game Parcells coached.

Multiple teams inquire about availability of Josh Gordon

Multiple teams have reached out to the Cleveland Browns to inquire about the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

However, a Browns team source told Schefter that the team is not looking to trade Gordon.

Gordon said Tuesday that he doesn’t want to be traded.

“I haven’t heard too much about it,” Gordon said. “Cleveland is my team. That’s where I want to be, everything like that. That’s not even in the ballpark for me. I’m not sure how that works.”

Cleveland has tried to establish an environment in which Gordon could thrive, and many around the league believe first-year head coach Hue Jackson is the right coach for him.

“I think it works out perfectly then for me,” he said. “Mr. [Jimmy] Haslam, the organization, Coach Jackson, I think the world of those guys, this city, this organization. They’re showing me the love and respect back to me by allowing me to stay here up to this point.

“I expect to move forward with that. I’m excited about it. This is where I want to be and I’m happy to be with Cleveland.”

Gordon took part in three series with the Browns’ starters in Sunday’s practice.

Gordon, 25, is suspended for the first four games to start the regular season, but the NFL is allowing him to participate in team activities during the ban.

Jackson said he wants to be sure that Gordon will be ready to face the New England Patriots in Week 5 on Oct. 9, the same game Tom Brady returns from a four-game suspension.

Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in the 2013 season but was suspended for 27 of the next 32 games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He has 161 receptions for 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns in 35 career games, all with the Browns.

Record crowd greets Rams back … for a horrible start

The Rams claimed they expected about 90,000 fans (they ended up with 89,140) and that would make it the largest crowd for a preseason game in U.S. history, and that technically appears correct. A crowd of 112,376 attended a preseason game between the Cowboys and Houston Texans in 1994, but that was in Mexico City. There were 105,840 fans on hand for an exhibition game between the Chicago Bears and a college all-star team in 1947, but that’s not an NFL preseason game. So the Rams’ statement holds. The combination of the first game back in L.A., the Cowboys being a marquee opponent and the size of the Coliseum gave the Rams a shot to break the record.

There shouldn’t have been much concern that the Rams would draw a lot of interest right away (and they will again in 2019 when their grand new stadium opens in Inglewood), but still had to be nice for the Rams to see such a huge turnout for a game that didn’t count.

The calm before the storm #DALvsLA pic.twitter.com/bV9IsUwAQO
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 13, 2016

The NFL has a long history in Los Angeles, it had just been a while since it could add to it.

The last time NFL football was played in Los Angeles was Dec. 24, 1994. The Rams played the Washington Redskins in Anaheim, while the Raiders took on the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum.

The Rams lost 24-21. Heath Shuler’s third-quarter held up for the Redskins. Chris Miller threw for 303 yards for the Rams in a losing cause. The Raiders lost too, 19-9 against their division rival which started Joe Montana at quarterback. Former Raider Marcus Allen rushed for 132 yards for Kansas City.

It was a long, long awaited return to the Coliseum for the Rams. The Rams played their home games at the Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 before moving to Orange County. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News pointed out, the Rams’ last home game at the Coliseum before Saturday came when Magic Johnson was a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Rams got a chance to reacquaint themselves with the old Coliseum after a long, long time away. After more than two decades, the people of Los Angeles finally had a home team to root for again. And look at it this way: It can only go uphill from that terrible start to preseason game No. 1.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — To borrow from Bill Parcells’ famous maxim that you are what your record is, players are what their production is.

Before they have much of an on-field resume, they can also be what their public persona is.

In the case of Tennessee Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry, his preseason debut Saturday night started a shift from persona to production. And that’s a big thing.

The second-round pick out of Alabama regularly smiles and laughs with his teammates. But in front of cameras and notebooks, he’s been regarded as somewhat sour in his first few months with the team, particularly when the line of questioning hasn’t qualified as fawning.

That’s irrelevant if he’s running well, and he ran great against the Chargers in the Titans preseason opener.

“I like him even more now,” Mike Mularkey said when Henry’s public personality is mentioned and how the group of reporters asking the questions might have a big hand in it. “No, we’ve got some quiet guys. Tajae Sharpe doesn’t say a whole lot, Derrick doesn’t say a whole lot, Jack Conklin.

Osweiler doesn’t get why Elway doesn’t get why Osweiler wanted to finish Week 17

And thus, we’ve arrived at the main issue here — at least how I perceive it. The issue isn’t that Osweiler was benched, it’s that he was benched on the eve of a Super Bowl run. This even though he probably deserved the chance to lead the team to the Super Bowl because he was actually the better quarterback last year, statistically speaking. The competitor in Osweiler, I’m guessing, looked at Manning and his noodle arm and knew that he was better at that point in time.

If Osweiler had won the Super Bowl for the Broncos, the questions that followed him to Houston this offseason wouldn’t exist, at least not in the same magnitude. Talking heads wouldn’t be talking about his inexperience, they’d be citing his Super Bowl run. Winning a ring in the NFL as a quarterback might be the only way to gain immunity from criticism.

Furthermore, if Osweiler had played and won the Super Bowl, he’d probably still be in Denver. When Osweiler departed, a report emerged that said he wasn’t interested in playing in Manning’s shadow. That wouldn’t have concerned Osweiler had he led the Broncos to a title with Manning sitting on the bench.

Obviously, Elway has no reason to regret the Broncos decision to play Manning. It didn’t cost them a ring and it provided Manning with the perfect sendoff. But it’s a little surprising to hear Elway say he was surprised by Osweiler’s reaction, which is why Osweiler’s response seemed to be also steeped in surprise.

Josh Norman takes on all comers. And he’s not just taking the field for the Washington Redskins, this new team, this season. He’s adding television to his curriculum vitae.

Per The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan, Norman will be a regular contributor on Fox’s NFL coverage. His one-year contract states he’ll have a minimum of 10 appearances this season. Most of the sessions will be done from his home in Virginia, although Norman will travel to the Fox studios during the Redskins’ Week 9 bye in the first week of November.

Eat your heart out, Brandon Marshall.

Norman watched Marshall earn two sports Emmy nominations with Showtime as an analyst on “Inside the NFL,” and the ever-competitive Redskins cornerback told friends he wanted to double Marshall’s nominations with four.

Oh, and Norman — one of the more outspoken and bold players in the NFL — agreed to do it without his coaches knowing about it … although they likely are aware of it by now.

“I haven’t told Coach [Jay] Gruden or [defensive coordinator Joe] Barry yet, but I’ll give them a nice shout out on TV,” Norman says. “It’s not at all going to be a distraction. If you keep your focus on you and not anybody else, you’re going to be fine. I’m going to be me on Sunday.”

The Redskins pounced on Norman, 28, who was named the Carolina Panthers’ franchise player this offseason — and then summarily made a free agent when the Panthers rescinded Norman’s tag, getting nothing in return for him.

Dolphins coaches: Laremy Tunsil on second string ‘not alarming at all’

Tunsil’s transition hasn’t been easy. He has struggled with some of the differences at guard, such as keeping his hand on the ground and understanding the different leverage. That’s resulted in missed assignments in practice.

“Every player on the team has something to work on. He is not alone in that,” offensive line coach Chris Foerster said. “He is really doing a great job — having him in two positions, he is studying, having him learn two spots technique-wise, all the things that go with it. He has done a really, really fine job to this point. (I) couldn’t be any happier with his progress.”

Tunsil will get a good share of reps in the preseason to improve his game. According to Christensen, Tunsil is going to be a building block with Miami for a long time, despite his rookie learning curve.

“He’s really a talented guy,” Christensen said. “He’s going to be a really fine left tackle at whatever point, but there is a learning curve for him at guard. Things actually happen quicker at guard. You have all of the twists. You’ve got a lot more movement. You’re setting outside about 85 percent of the time. It probably is going to be good for him long term to have played in there and understand how quickly things happen in this league.”

At a time when some have wondered whether this would be Carson Palmer’s and Larry Fitzgerald’s last season, Arizona has extended the contracts and careers of both players.

The Cardinals announced one-year contract extensions for Palmer and Fitzgerald on Friday, tying the quarterback to Arizona through the 2018 season and the wide receiver to the team through 2017.

The total deal for Palmer will be just over $24 million, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. He will get a $6.75 million signing bonus and a new $2 million roster bonus, plus $15.5 million in salary and bonuses fully guaranteed in 2017. Before the extension deal, none of his money for 2017 had been guaranteed.

His 2018 salary will be $12.5 million plus a $1.5 million roster bonus, none of which is guaranteed, according to the source.

“Clearly these are two core members of our team who have played major roles in our success,” said Cardinals general manager Steve Keim in a statement. “Each of them had contracts that were due to expire in the next year or two so these extensions provide a measure of certainty and clarity for the players and organization, both now and in the years ahead. It also reaffirms our long-stated intention that when the time comes, these two great players end their stellar careers as Cardinals.”

The deals came one day after Arizona signed defensive back Tyrann Mathieu to a five-year, $62.5 million extension, with $21.5 million guaranteed at signing.

The Cardinals wanted to keep the core of their team together for as long as they could, and these extensions will enable them to do just that. Palmer is 36 and Fitzgerald turns 33 this month, but they have played as if they’re in the prime of their careers.

Gruden: Redskins to ‘experiment’ with touchback rule

“I’m sure they’re probably discussing that possibility, and you know, that’s something everybody’s looking at due to the speed of the kickoff and the injuries that might happen on kickoffs, but it’s been an exciting part of football for a long time,” Gruden said. “It’d be unfortunate if it were to be dismissed from football in my opinion. But, my opinion doesn’t really matter. I think it’s an exciting part of the game and something that’s very important to the game.”

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has the ability to win a Super Bowl — he has the arm strength, the accuracy, the tools you need. The third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft is the most prolific passer in Falcons history, possessing the franchise records in career yards (32,757), passing touchdowns (202) and completions (2,915). He just never has had a complete team around him. Last season was a mixed bag for Ryan, who posted the third-best completion percentage (66.3) and yardage total (4,591) of his career, along with his second-lowest touchdown total (21) and third-worst passer rating (89.0). As always with Ryan, the key is the cast around him, and while Atlanta did add a solid No. 2 receiver in Mohamed Sanu, I have concerns about the defense’s ability to rush the passer.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
I think you can throw out Luck’s 2015 season, which was kind of a disaster, as a casualty of the injuries that dogged him for most of the year. The fact remains that he took Indianapolis to the playoffs in each of his first three professional years, advancing a level each time out. He has everything you need for success — athletic ability, speed, arm strength, accuracy and leadership qualities. Yes, he’s been saddled by a lack of roster support throughout his Colts tenure, but even after 2015, I have faith in Luck’s power to elevate a lesser team through his play.

Jaguars fans are about to get an extended look at Myles Jack.

Jacksonville defensive coordinator Todd Wash told reporters that the rookie linebacker will share reps with the starters during Wednesday’s training camp practice.

With veteran Paul Posluszny taking the day off, Jack will have a chance to show off some of the insane athleticism that triggered the team to grab the former UCLA star in the second round of the draft.

Jack was seen as a top-five pick, but spiraled down the board amid concerns over a knee injury that could eventually require surgery. After many initially projected Jack to the Jaguars at No. 5 overall, Jacksonville might have pulled off the draft’s biggest steal by grabbing him at No. 36 — a slide Jack won’t soon forget.

“It’s all motivation and I actually appreciate it. It’s made me hungry. It’s grounded me a lot,” Jack told The Rich Eisen Show in May. “It was, honestly, humiliating. It was embarrassing having to sit there, and afterwards walking out, having my girl to my left, my mom to my right, my grandmother to the right of her and having to look at them, it was a tough feeling. It wasn’t a good night, truthfully.”

Jack is expected to eventually replace Posluszny at middle linebacker, but Wednesday’s snaps aren’t a permanent promotion. With lightning-quick Telvin Smith notched on the weak side, Jack could wind up playing the SAM role as a rookie. The pairing of Smith and Jack would give the Jaguars plenty of speed and explosion, something the rookie has already shown off during camp.