- Browns free-agency: Cleveland committed to Baker Mayfield, aims to bolster his weapons (ESPN) - Amid a dizzying last few days on the quarterback market, the Cleveland Browns so far remain committed to quarterback Baker Mayfield being their starter for the 2022 season. With the quarterback question seemingly settled, the Browns have work to do to remake a team around Mayfield that finished 8-9 and missed the playoffs. Here’s what to watch for from Cleveland as the NFL offseason heats up.
- JC Tretter re-elected NFLPA president (Browns Zone) - Center JC Tretter was unanimously re-elected Friday for a second term as president of the NFL Players Association, the union announced. Odds are good it will be less eventful than his first two-year term.
- Browns becoming ‘real players’ in the potential Amari Cooper sweepstakes (cleveland.com) - The Browns are becoming “real players” in the potential sweepstakes for Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper, according to Jordan Schultz of The Schultz Report. Schultz reports that the Cowboys, who might also still try to restructure Cooper’s deal, are seeking a third-round pick, but “might settle for a 4.” The Browns, who are in the hunt for elite veteran receivers, have an extra third-round pick in this draft, and an extra fourth.
- Browns will use low tender on running back D’Ernest Johnson for $2.433 million (Beacon Journal) - The Browns might face competition to retain No. 3 running back D’Ernest Johnson this offseason. The sense coming out of last week’s NFL Scouting Combine was the Browns would place the low tender on Johnson as a restricted free agent instead of a second-round tender. Now a firm plan is in place. The Browns will indeed use the low tender on Johnson sometime next week before the deadline at 4 p.m. Wednesday, a league source confirmed.
- Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson won’t face criminal charges in connection with sexual misconduct allegations (ESPN) - A grand jury on Friday declined to indict Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson following a police investigation sparked by lawsuits filed by 22 women who have accused him of harassment and sexual assault.
- Raiders sign DE Maxx Crosby to multi-year extension (raiders.com) - The Las Vegas Raiders have signed DE Maxx Crosby to a multi-year contract extension, the club announced Friday. Crosby, 24, was selected by the Raiders in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Eastern Michigan and has totaled 141 tackles (91 solo), 25 sacks, 12 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery over his first three NFL seasons.
- Eagles make Jason Kelce highest-paid center in NFL on 1-year, $14M contract (NFL.com) - Jason Kelce announced Thursday that he will return for his 12th season, and he will be paid handsomely for another year anchoring the Eagles’ offensive line. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Kelce agreed to a one-year contract that is worth essentially $14 million — a figure that will make Kelce the highest-paid center in the NFL on an annual basis. The Lions’ Frank Ragnow previously held that distinction at $13.5 million per season.
- Chicago Bears’ trade of Khalil Mack signifies a painful page-turn. But GM Ryan Poles’ work is just beginning (Chicago Tribune) - Chicago might never forget the force of that initial adrenaline surge, the surprise news that broke in the early hours of a September Saturday in 2018. Khalil Mack was coming to Halas Hall, joining the Bears defense to ignite an on-the-rise unit that had eyes on becoming elite. General manager Ryan Pace had pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Oakland Raiders, dealing away two first-round picks but reeling in a big fish at a pivotal moment for the franchise.