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NFL News And Notes

As the Combine draws to a close this week, general managers around the league have a better idea of what players they may be interested in towards the end of April at the NFL Draft.

Still, with free agency starting before that, teams are making adjustments to their own rosters with eyes on who they might be able to afford in free agency. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of the week around the NFL.

Bears Still Likely To Trade Top Pick, Could Happen Sooner Than Later

With Justin Fields under center, the Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Poles seem more likely to trade their top overall pick in the upcoming draft to a quarterback-needy team. According to Poles this week, that could happen sooner than later.

When asked about the possibility at the Combine, Poles indicated that there could be scenarios where moving the pick early could benefit them, especially as they evaluate the free agent market.

There are several teams that are likely looking at youngsters like Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson for their quarterback position, and the Bears sit in the enviable position of being able to try to get a team to overpay for the chance to get their guy.

While the Bears are likely not looking for a quarterback, they do have a lot of defensive needs. One potential top-of-the-draft pick might have come off their board as star Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter had an arrest warrant issued for him in relation to a fatal car accident back in January.

While he has been charged with misdemeanors, there is some belief that those could turn to felonies based on an investigation. Regardless of the outcome, it may have raised some red flags for teams as, particularly when considering he might have gone in the first few picks.

Veteran Quarterbacks Released

A couple veteran quarterbacks were released this week from their respective teams as both Carson Wentz (Commanders), and Marcus Mariota (Falcons) are now free agents.

Wentz struggled with Washington. In eight games (seven starts), Wentz threw for just 1,755 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He was eventually supplanted as the starting quarterback by Taylor Heinicke.

As for Mariota, he is done after one year with Atlanta. He was brought in as the starter after Matt Ryan’s tenure finished with the Falcons. In 13 games, though, he threw for just 2,219 yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

The 29-year-old will now look for his third team in as many years.

Tampa Bay To Part Ways With Veterans

Given their struggles in terms of cap space, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to make some room by cutting a pair of veterans in running back Leonard Fournette and tight end Cameron Brate.

While it does carry some dead money, the Fournette cut will open up about $4 million in cap space. The 28-year-old Fournette is coming off of a season in which he rushed for 668 yards and three touchdowns over 16 games. He also hauled in 73 receptions for 523 yards and another three scores.

Brate will save the team a little over $2 million. As the longest-tenured player with Tampa Bay, the 31-year-old Brate had a disappointing season last year, catching just 20 passes for 174 yards over 11 games (one start).

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