NFL Fills Sports Void with Blockbuster Trade, New Deals and Free Agency Action


The coronavirus outbreak has left sports fans with little to do in a month that is generally pervaded with major sporting events. While the health and safety of citizens obviously supersede our entertainment, the absence of sports has been surreal.

With the exception of UFC fighting, most major events have been canceled or postponed.

Fortunately, the NFL’s free agency and trade period will begin Wednesday as scheduled, and there is no shortage of news regarding some big moves that teams have made.

Here are some notable moves so far:

The Houston Texans have agreed to a blockbuster deal to send star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, according to multiple reports.

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ESPN’s Adam Schefter and others reported the Texans will send Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to Arizona in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Cleveland Browns have reached a deal that would make former Atlanta Falcon Austin Hooper the highest-paid tight end in the league.

The addition of Hooper would beef up an already talented corps of receivers for third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield.

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Schefter reported the Falcons will replace Hooper by trading for Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst, who was a first-round pick in 2018.

Rapoport reported Atlanta also cut former Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman.

ESPN reported the Tennessee Titans have agreed to sign quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a four-year, $118 million deal.

The Titans also placed the franchise tag on star running back Derrick Henry, according to Schefter.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys reportedly have elected to place a franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly are trading five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell to the Ravens for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they have terminated the contracts of linebackers Mark Barron and Anthony Chickillo and also cut wide receiver Johnny Holton.

Schefter reported he expected the Indianapolis Colts to pursue longtime San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

Longtime Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo will sign a two-year extension, according to ESPN. Although the Colts did not disclose the details of Castonzo contract, ESPN reported the deal is worth $33 million.

The Minnesota Vikings reportedly agreed to a two-year extension with quarterback Kirk Cousins.

The New England Patriots have agreed to two-year extensions with special teams ace Matthew Slater and safety Devin McCourty, ESPN reported.

There is still no word on where Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might end up, but NBC sports reporter Chris Simms said San Francisco is not pursuing the 42-year-old.

Other notable reports:

The NFL also announced changes to its plans for this year’s draft.

Player selection will proceed as scheduled the weekend of April 23-25, but all public draft events have been canceled.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority — the healthy and safety of all fans and citizens,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

“While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl,” Goodell added.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.