|National Football League|
NFL Recent Player News
|2/26/2015||Tyvon Branch, S|
|The Oakland Raiders will release Branch before the start of the new league year next month. The team told Branch of the plans Thursday to cut ties with one of Oakland's longest-tenured non-specialists.
Analysis: Branch joined Oakland as a fourth-round pick out of Connecticut in 2008. Branch immediately became an impact player and started 62 of 64 games from 2009-12. He was slowed by injuries the past two seasons and played only five games. He had one year remaining on his contract. "It was a blessing to play for the Raiders (and) wearing that shield was special to me," Branch wrote on his Twitter account. "Thanks to the Davis family for giving me a chance!"
|2/26/2015||Ricky Jean Francois, DT|
|Jean-Francois' agent says the defensive tackle has agreed to a $9 million, three-year contract with the Washington Redskins. The agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirms Thursday night that the deal includes $4 million in guaranteed money.
Analysis: Jean-Francois was released this week by the Indianapolis Colts in a cost-cutting move. The Colts had signed him to a $22 million, four-year contract in 2013, but the club decided to take salary-cap savings of nearly $5 million by cutting ties Monday. He had three sacks and made 13 starts for the Colts last season.
|2/26/2015||Sam Bradford, QB|
|Chris Weinke is looking forward to working with Bradford. Weinke, the former Florida State star, is the St. Louis Rams new quarterback coach.
Analysis: Weinke and Bradford bonded for 3 1/2 hours over dinner during the NFL combine that was part of the interview process, with new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti also at the table. Weinke's bottom line about Bradford: "Love him, love him."
|2/26/2015||Matt Hasselbeck, QB|
|Hasselbeck agreed Thursday to a one-year contract extension to back up Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Analysis: A 16-year NFL veteran, Hasselbeck originally signed with the Colts as a free agent two years ago. In the past two seasons, he played in seven games, completing 37 of 56 passes for 431 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 93.7 passer rating.
|2/26/2015||Steven Jackson, RB|
|The Atlanta Falcons have released Jackson, who in two seasons with the team couldn't recapture his 1,000-yard form that made him one of the league's top backs with the Rams.
Analysis: Thursday's release of the 31-year-old Jackson was not a surprise. He led the team with 707 yards rushing and six touchdowns in 2014, but averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. In 2013, his first season with the Falcons, he had 543 yards rushing in 12 games.
|2/26/2015||Kendall Langford, DT|
|The St. Louis Rams have released Langford, who lost his starting spot to rookie Aaron Donald last season. The move frees up $6 million in salary cap space heading into free agency.
Analysis: The 29-year-old Langford had been entering the final season of a four-year, $22 million free agent deal. He's a former third-round draft pick by Miami.
|2/26/2015||Damond Smith, CB|
|The Arizona Cardinals have re-signed tackle Bradley Sowell and signed Smith. Both are on one-year contracts.
Analysis: Smith was among Kansas City's final roster cuts before the start of last season. In 2013, he was on the practice squad of the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League.
|2/25/2015||Reggie Bush, RB|
|The Detroit Lions have released running back Reggie Bush.
Analysis: After joining the team as an unrestricted free agent from Miami in 2013, Bush started 23 of 25 games and had 299 carries for 1,303 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 94 catches for 759 yards and three touchdowns.
|2/25/2015||A.J. Hawk, LB|
|The Green Bay Packers have released inside linebacker A.J. Hawk, cutting ties with the nine-year veteran and respected locker room presence.
Analysis: Hawk leaves Green Bay with 1,118 tackles, tops in the franchise since 1975. He appeared in 142 out of a 144 possible regular-season games with 136 starts since being drafted in the first round in 2006.
|2/25/2015||Jacoby Jones, WR|
|Jones has been cut by the Baltimore Ravens. The kick returner and wide receiver was a major contributor to the Ravens' drive to a Super Bowl championship.
Analysis: The 30-year-old Jones played three seasons with Baltimore after a five-year run with the Houston Texans. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said of Wednesday's move: "Releasing him now allows him a better opportunity to land with another team."
|2/25/2015||Peyton Hillis, RB|
|The New York Giants have released Hillis.
Analysis: A seven-year veteran, Hillis' contract was worth $945,000 against the cap this season. He joined the Giants in October 2013 after David Wilson suffered a season-ending neck injury. He played in the Giants' first nine games in 2014 before suffering a season-ending concussion. He rushed for 115 yards and caught 10 passes.
|2/25/2015||Josh McCown, QB|
|A person familiar with the visit says McCown is meeting for a second day with the QB-deficient Browns.
Analysis: McCown was released last week by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL draft. The Browns have made finding a starting a quarterback a priority this offseason. Brian Hoyer will likely hit free agency and Johnny Manziel checked into a rehab facility last month.
|2/24/2015||Giorgio Tavecchio, K|
|The Oakland Raiders have signed free-agent kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. The move, which the team announced Tuesday, will give Oakland an offseason backup to Sebastian Janikowski.
Analysis: Tavecchio played one preseason game for the Raiders last summer, kicking a pair of 47-yard field goals against Seattle. He has also spent time in training camps with San Francisco, Green Bay and Detroit. His finished his college career at California with 256 points, ranking fifth on the school's all-time scoring list. He converted 48 of 64 field goal attempts and 112 of 120 extra points.
|2/24/2015||Nick Williams, WR|
|The Atlanta Falcons have signed Williams.
Analysis: Williams appeared in five games as an undrafted rookie with Washington in 2013. He had a brief stint on the Redskins' practice squad last season.
|2/24/2015||Cliff Matthews, DE|
|The Atlanta Falcons have re-signed Matthews.
Analysis: Matthews could have signed with another team as an unrestricted free agent. Matthews, a sixth-round pick in 2011, had six tackles in seven games last season. He has no career starts and has played primarily on special teams.
|2/24/2015||Patrick DiMarco, RB|
|The Atlanta Falcons have signed DiMarco and defensive end Cliff Matthews to contract extensions.
Analysis: DiMarco has played in 30 games with 14 starts with Atlanta. He has 17 catches for 111 yards and one touchdown and has no career carries.
|2/24/2015||Mathias Kiwanuka, DE|
|The New York Giants have released Kiwanuka in a move that clears about $4.8 million of space under the NFL salary cap.
Analysis: The NFL Players Association estimates the new salary cap will rise to $143 million. Cutting Kiwanuka's contract, which had a year to run at $4.775 million, increased the Giants' cap space to nearly $23 million. A big chunk of the total will likely go to either signing unrestricted defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a long-term deal or placing the nearly $15 million franchise tag on him.
|2/24/2015||Byron Bell, T|
|The Carolina Panthers have informed Bell that he will not be re-signed.
Analysis: Bell will become an unrestricted free agent in March. Bell has started 56 games over the past four seasons for Carolina, including 15 in 2014 - his first year at left tackle following the retirement of Jordan Gross. Prior to last year Bell had been the starting right tackle.
|2/22/2015||James Harrison, LB|
|Harrison isn't preparing for a second retirement ceremony. The 36-year-old Harrison posted an Instagram photo on Sunday night saying he was heading to Arizona to train, as he does during the winter. Harrison will become a free agent next month after spending 2014 with the Pittsburgh Steelers following a brief 18-day retirement.
Analysis: The five-time Pro Bowler spent a month getting in shape before showing flashes of his former brilliance. Harrison finished with 5 1/2 sacks in 11 games for the Steelers, who went 11-5 and won the AFC North title. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this month the team wasn't ruling out a return by Harrison. Pittsburgh will be searching for depth at outside linebacker. Jarvis Jones is the only experienced outside linebacker under contract for next season.
|2/20/2015||Joseph Randle, RB|
|NFL investigators were in Wichita on the same day a hearing had been scheduled on a protection from abuse order sought against Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle. But Thursday's civil hearing on the protection order was delayed until March 12.
Analysis: Randle was arrested Feb. 3 on the drug charge at a hotel in Wichita after the 22-year-old mother of his child called 911 to report a domestic disturbance. Dalia Jacobs told police he brandished a gun and broke a car window during the altercation at a Wichita hotel. She filed for a protective order the next day, claiming Randle pointed a gun at a vehicle with their son and Jacobs' friend inside.
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