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NFL News and Notes for Friday, June 17, 2022

With the season rapidly approaching, NFL general managers are finalizing rosters, locking up players with extensions, and putting the finishing touches ahead of training camp.

While most of the heavy lifting has been done, there is still plenty of news circulating around the league. Here are some of the biggest stories of the week.

Steelers Extend All-Pro Safety

First reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Pittsburgh Steelers and All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick have agreed on a four-year contract that will pay him a little over $18 million per year.

The deal comes with $36 million in guaranteed money and will lock the 25-year-old Fitzpatrick long-term with the Steelers. In total, the contract makes him the all-time highest-paid safety in NFL history.

Last season, in 16 games, he had 124 combined tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

He now returns to a team that ranked 22nd in scoring defense (allowed 24.4 points per game) but 13th in passing defense (allowed just 223.8 passing yards per game).

The Steelers currently have the worst odds of winning the AFC North at +850 and are +8000 to win the Super Bowl.

Jackson, Ravens Still Hopeful On Contract Extension

Lamar Jackson has been a fixture in the Ravens’ offense since being drafted, and both he and the Ravens are hoping that his place can be solidified for the long haul in the near future.

On Thursday, when talking to reporters, Jackson indicated that he wanted to spend his entire career with the Ravens and that he and general manager Eric DeCosta had recently discussed his contract.

While there is some doubt that a contract can get done before the season, it would be ideal for the both sides to hammer something out to avoid a distraction or possible holdout.

Last season, Jackson threw for 2,882 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 12 games. He also rushed 133 times for 767 yards and another two scores.

Baltimore has high hopes this season as they are the favorites to win the AFC North (+160) and are tied for the ninth-best odds of winning the Super Bowl at +2000.

Brady Losing Drive

In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Tom Brady disclosed that his drive to compete might be coming to an end. While it is not shocking to hear a 44-year-old admit that he may be close to the end of his career, it is noteworthy after an offseason that already saw him retire once, albeit for an abbreviated time.

The all-time leader in passing yards (84,520) and passing touchdowns (624) will give it a go for at least one more season with Tampa Bay.

Despite his age, his skill set has still not diminished. In 17 games last season, he threw for 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions.

This upcoming season, Brady will be looking for his eighth Super Bowl ring and second as a Buccaneer. Currently, Tampa Bay has the second-best odds of winning it all at +750, trailing just the Buffalo Bills (+650) as favorites.

Kansas City Brings Back McKinnon

First reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Kansas City Chiefs are bringing Jerick McKinnon back into the fold. After recently losing Darrel Williams to free agency, McKinnon signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs on Monday.

The 30-year-old McKinnon saw limited playing time during the regular season last year as he rushed just 12 times for 62 yards; however, he was pivotal in the playoffs.

In three games, McKinnon had 48 touches for 315 yards and a touchdown.

McKinnon’s role will be a little bit uncertain heading into the season as the team has Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ronald Jones, and draft pick Isiah Pacheco, but with his postseason output, McKinnon will likely serve as a useful piece for Andy Reid’s offense.

Kansas City has the third-best odds of winning the Super Bowl this season at +950.

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