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NFL News and Notes: May 17, 2019

Jets Fire General Manager

In a very interestingly timed move, the New York Jets have fired general manager Mike Maccagnan. It is mostly interesting because they waited until after the draft and the first wave of free agency had come to a conclusion to do so. The team entrusted Maccagnan to draft Quinnen Williams third overall as well as to sign running back Le’Veon Bell to a massive contract. That is where some of the contention might have come from, though. Reports have indicated that new coach Adam Gase was adamantly opposed to the signing of Bell. It is not that he doesn’t like him as a player, but it was that he didn’t want to spend so much money on a running back. Instead of listening, Maccagnan signed Bell to a four-year, $52 million contract. With Maccagnan out, coach Adam Gase is taking over the duties as interim general manager.

Still, the search is on for a replacement, and names like Joe Douglas, the Eagles’ Vice President of Player Personnel, have already started to pop up. What is clear, though, is for a franchise as deeply supported and beloved by New York fans as the Jets, these seem like tumultuous times that are leaving many fans a little uneasy.

Jets Trade Darron Lee To Chiefs

After Adam Gase was appointed interim general manager, it did not take long for him to see his first action. On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that the Jets are trading linebacker Darron Lee to the Kansas City Chiefs. In return, they are receiving a 2020 sixth-round pick. After signing C.J. Mosley earlier in the season, Lee was expendable. The writing on the wall had pretty much been sealed since his fifth-year option had been declined earlier in the offseason, but previous general manager Maccagnan had been hoping to get a fifth-round pick for him. In a precarious position, one that would likely include cutting the former first-rounder if they couldn’t find a trade partner, Gase pulled the trigger on the deal with the Chiefs. For the Jets, it is the opportunity to move on. For the Chiefs, they are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by giving Lee a fresh start, and possibly the opportunity to show the skills that were so enticing when he was drafted simply for the cost of a sixth-round pick.

Kyler Murray Signs His Rookie Deal

Among others, the Arizona Cardinals have officially signed first overall pick Kyler Murray. As a first rounder, he receives a four-year deal with a fifth-year option. In total, he will make a little over $33 million, including a significant signing bonus. The most interesting part of the contract, though, is a clause that would void his deal if he were to return to the MLB. This was likely in response to the reason that he was available in the first place. After being drafted and signing with the Oakland Athletics in the MLB, Murray was allowed to finish his last season with Oklahoma. After winning the Heisman, he quickly realized that playing in the NFL could be a reality and spurned his deal with Oakland to pursue it. Now, just in case he changes his mind again, at least the Cardinals have protections against it.

Seattle Releases Two Longtime Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have parted ways with a couple of fan favorites and longtime players. Using the failed physical designation, the Seahawks have parted with both wide receiver Doug Baldwin and safety Kam Chancellor. Due to injuries, both of these players will be bidding adieu to the NFL. For Baldwin, he has dealt with a plethora of injuries including ones to his shoulder, his knees, and his groin. For Chancellor, it is a neck injury suffered back in 2017 that has ended his career. In fact, the only reason that he was kept on the team last year (albeit on the PUP list) was to avoid a more significant cap hit. As two of the few remaining players from their championship, these two go out as icons in the city of Seattle.

Patriots Bring Back Jamie Collins And Benjamin Watson

Jamie Collins is coming back to New England. After being drafted in 2014 by the Patriots, Collins was a staple of their defense for a couple of years. In fact, after managing 138 tackles in 2014, he went to his first Pro Bowl in 2015. Still, it was short lived as he was traded to the Cleveland Browns in 2016. After a couple of disappointing years, he is looking to rekindle his career by playing under coach Bill Belichick again, where he far and away had his best years as a professional.

The Patriots are also bringing back tight end Benjamin Watson. Watson was drafted by the Patriots back in 2004 and played for them for 9 seasons. He has most recently enjoyed stints with the New Orleans Saints; however, before Watson decided to return, the Saints had already replaced him with Jared Cook. Speaking of replacing, Watson will look to replace some of the production left behind by Ron Gronkowski. Last season, Watson had 35 catches for 400 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Could Kyle Rudolph Be On His Way Out?

It is a tough spot that tight end Kyle Rudolph and the Minnesota Vikings are in. On the one hand, they would love to keep the tight end after he went for 64 catches, 634 yards, and 4 touchdowns last season. On the other hand, Rudolph is not cheap. The two-time Pro Bowler is about to enter the last year of his contract and is due more than $7.5 million dollars. For a team that is pretty starved for cap space, that is a lot of money to pay their tight end. In fact, his salary makes him the fifth-highest paid player on the team. Throw on top of that the fact that the Vikings drafted a tight end with their second-round choice, Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr., and his playing days in the purple and gold may be limited. Coach Mike Zimmer has confirmed that he has been placed on the trading block and now it is just seeing if there is a buyer willing to pay the price.

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