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Texans’ Watt engaged to soccer player Ohai



Houston Texans linebacker J.J. Watt announced his engagement to professional soccer player Kealia Ohai on Sunday night.

Watt, 30, posted photos of the proposal to his social media accounts.

The couple first confirmed they were dating in October 2016.

Ohai, 27, is the captain of the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League and has made three appearances for the United States women’s national team.

Her sister, Megan, is married to Watt’s former Texans teammate Brian Cushing.

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Eagles cut CB Orlando Scandrick, DT Akeem Spence after another loss



The Philadelphia Eagles have released cornerback Orlando Scandrick and defensive tackle Akeem Spence, the team announced Monday.

They also signed defensive tackle Anthony Rush from the Oakland Raiders practice squad.

Scandrick, 32, returned to the team in September after being cut prior to the season. The Eagles had originally signed him in July for depth after injuries depleted their secondary.

Scandrick, who was brought in to play nickelback, played in each of the past three games for the Eagles, including a start in Sunday’s 37-10 loss to the Cowboys, his former team of nine years. In his Eagles debut on Oct. 6, Scandrick recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble returned for a touchdown.

He played with the Chiefs in 2018.

Spence, 27, was in his first season with the Eagles after signing with the team in September. He was released after one season with the Miami Dolphins in August. Spence had seven tackles and zero sacks in six games this season.

It’s the second straight week the Eagles have released a defensive player following a loss. They released linebacker Zach Brown last Monday after losing to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6.

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Barnwell’s 2019 NFL trade grades



In the new, trade-happy NFL, there’s plenty of deals to discuss around the trade deadline, which is 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 29.

As the deadline approaches, I’ll grade each swap:

Monday, Oct. 21

Oakland Raiders get: 2020 third-round pick (via Seattle)
Houston Texans get: CB Gareon Conley

Raiders grade: B-
Texans grade: D+

Two coaches who also have a role in personnel decisions responded to Week 7 by making an emotional trade. One side makes more sense than the other, because Bill O’Brien’s propensity for filling holes on his roster by trading away future draft picks has quickly become a habit. The Texans technically have two third-round picks, but their own third-rounder is likely spoken for as a product of the Duke Johnson trade, which seems like a similar sort of misstep from the O’Brien-led Texans front office.

Going after Johnson as a secondary piece to supplement then-starter Lamar Miller made sense at first glance, but when the cost was revealed, O’Brien seemed desperate. The Texans sent a fourth-rounder to the Browns for Johnson which would become a third-rounder if Johnson was active for 10 or more games. Unless the Texans cut Johnson in the weeks to come, the receiving back will trigger the third-round pick, which will force the Texans to send the third-rounder they received from the Seahawks in the Jadeveon Clowney trade to the Raiders.

The Johnson deal seemed like a bit of mistaken genius after Miller tore his ACL, but the Texans have mostly built their running game around Carlos Hyde, who was acquired for backup lineman Martinas Rankin just before the Chiefs were going to cut Hyde at the end of camp. O’Brien ended up trading a third-round pick for a running back who has played about half of Houston’s offensive snaps while averaging just over eight touches per game. Johnson is an underrated player, but good franchises find backup running backs on the waiver wire or late in drafts.

This brings us to Conley. Jon Gruden likely decided that he was done with the former first-round pick after a disastrous game against the Packers on Sunday. When the Raiders tried to play Cover-0 and send the house on a third-and-4 against a dominant Packers offense, Aaron Rodgers threw a quick out to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Conley slipped coming out of his break and failed to tackle Valdes-Scantling, who turned upfield for one of the easiest 74-yard touchdowns you’ll ever see.

Conley struggled elsewhere during the Packers game and hasn’t been good in 2019. As the closest defender in coverage, the NFL’s Next Gen Stats suggest the Ohio State product has allowed opposing quarterbacks to go 21-of-29 for 389 yards with five touchdowns against a lone pick this season. That’s a 139.7 passer rating. The only cornerback who has been targeted at least 20 times who has given up more yards per attempt than Conley’s 13.4 yards per throw is the Chargers’ Desmond King.

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock didn’t draft Conley. The Gruden-led front office has continued to dump as many of former general manager Reggie McKenzie’s draft picks as possible. After trading Conley, there are just five draft picks across McKenzie’s six drafts left on Oakland’s active roster in Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson (2014), Karl Joseph and DeAndre Washington (2016), and David Sharpe (2017). Conley seemed to round into form during the second half of 2018 and had a famously impressive game against Antonio Brown, but it’s no surprise that the Raiders are moving on from a cornerback they didn’t appear to really want.

Getting a third-round pick for Conley has to be considered a victory, given that the Giants were only able to get fourth- and seventh-round picks when they traded away fellow first-rounder Eli Apple under similar circumstances last year. Seattle’s pick is likely to come at the bottom of the third round, but so was the fourth-rounder the Giants got for Apple. If anything, Apple had shown more across his first two seasons than Conley did, although most of Apple’s success came as a rookie, while Conley was better in his sophomore season.

Either way, the Texans are sending a meaningful pick to try and plug a hole. O’Brien cut 2018 free-agent disaster Aaron Colvin after he struggled during the season-opening loss to the Saints and then moved 2019 free-agent signing Bradley Roby to the slot while promoting second-round pick Lonnie Johnson Jr. to the starting lineup. Roby played well before going down with a hamstring injury, leading the Texans to start Johnson and street free agent Phillip Gaines ahead of veteran corner Johnathan Joseph, who himself was coming off a hamstring injury. Joseph only played 14 snaps against the Colts on Sunday, while Gaines was carted off with an ankle injury (he was placed on injured reserve Monday). Jacoby Brissett threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-23 victory.

In a vacuum, the move to get help at cornerback makes sense. Houston is now perilously thin at cornerback in a year in which it is competing for a playoff berth. Conley is a former first-round pick and still has three cost-controlled years left on his deal, so the Texans might be able to find a starter for years to come. The Texans even play the Raiders this Sunday, so maybe Conley can tip off his new team to some of Oakland’s tendencies.

By looking at the bigger picture, though, you can see how one desperate, emotional move begets another. The Texans failed to sign offensive tackle Nate Solder in 2018, which eventually led them to inexplicably sign Matt Kalil to play left tackle in 2019. When Houston failed to draft its left tackle of the future in Andre Dillard and Kalil was predictably injured during camp, O’Brien sent two first-round picks to the Dolphins for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills. To help free up the financial space to make that happen, O’Brien agreed to pay half of Clowney’s salary to ship him off to the Seahawks for a third-round pick and two linebackers who have barely suited up for the Texans on defense.

Now, after cutting Colvin in frustration after the opener, O’Brien’s used the third-rounder from the Clowney deal to acquire a player who has been one of the league’s worst cornerbacks this season. Across the first three rounds of the next two NFL drafts, the Texans have just two selections: their second-round pick in 2019 and their third-round pick in 2020.

For whatever issues I might have with the roster-building philosophy in Los Angeles, the Rams have at least used their draft picks to target superstars like Jalen Ramsey and Brandin Cooks. Tunsil is a star, but shedding draft capital to get players like Stills, Johnson and Conley just doesn’t make sense. O’Brien seems to know that he won’t be around if this all-in ploy fails and continues to throw future assets towards possible short-term fixes. It’s the opposite of just about what every successful franchise in the league does with their roster and their draft picks. Good luck!

Tuesday, Oct. 15

Los Angeles Rams get: CB Jalen Ramsey
Jacksonville Jaguars get: 2020 first-round pick, 2021 first-round pick, 2021 fourth-round pick

Rams grade: C
Jaguars grade: C+



Mina Kimes joins Get Up to explain how Jalen Ramsey improves the Rams’ defense and fits into defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ plans.

Trading for Ramsey could transform the Rams’ defense. According to ESPN’s coverage analysis from the NFL’s Next Gen data, the Rams have played some version of a man-to-man concept in their secondary on just 34% of their snaps in 2019, down from 41% in 2018 and 53% in 2017. Ramsey’s desire to play in a man scheme and take out the opposing team’s No. 1 wideout is well-known. I would suspect that trading for Ramsey will encourage defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to send more pressure and play tight man coverage behind.

Read the full analysis of the trade here.

Los Angeles Rams get: LB Kenny Young, 2020 fifth-round pick
Baltimore Ravens get: CB Marcus Peters

Rams grade: C-
Ravens grade: B+

Trading for Peters lets the Ravens take a flier for the rest of the season on a player with an All-Pro ceiling. Baltimore’s secondary has been disappointing this season, primarily owing to injuries to Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young, the latter of whom is out for the year. Peters probably will step in for Maurice Canady in the short term, and the Ravens will be the ones to net a compensatory pick if they decide to move on from Peters in 2020.

Read the full analysis of the trade here.

Cleveland Browns get: 2021 fifth-round pick
Los Angeles Rams get: OL Austin Corbett

Browns grade: C-
Rams grade: C+

Corbett is the most significant misfire so far in the John Dorsey era. Taken with the first pick of the second round of the 2018 draft, Corbett was drafted just before more successful linemen like Will Hernandez and Braden Smith, let alone the likes of fellow second-rounders like linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Donte Jackson and wide receiver Courtland Sutton. Corbett repeatedly failed to take advantage of the opportunities the Browns gave him to win starting jobs, but it’s a surprise to see them give up on him for a late-round pick two drafts away before he even finishes his second season on the roster.

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Ravens LB Pernell McPhee likely done for season with triceps injury



Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is expected to miss the rest of the season after likely tearing his triceps in Baltimore’s 30-16 upset win in Seattle on Sunday, coach John Harbaugh announced Monday.

This marks the third straight game in which the Ravens defense lost a player to a season-ending injury. Safeties Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott suffered significant knee injuries the previous two weeks.

McPhee, 30, was having a resurgent season in his return to Baltimore. He was second on the Ravens with three sacks.

The loss of McPhee hurts Baltimore’s pass rush, which has struggled at times this season. McPhee was also a key veteran leader on the defense. Rookie third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson will replace McPhee.

On more positive injury news, Harbaugh said he’s “very optimistic” the Ravens will be at full strength coming off the bye. That means the return of receiver Marquise Brown, cornerback Jimmy Smith and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor.

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