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Bruce Arians’ offensive priority is keeping top defensive free agents, not Buccaneers’ QB

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TAMPA, Fla. — While the status of former first-overall draft pick Jameis Winston remains one of the Buccaneers‘ biggest storylines this offseason, coach Bruce Arians said Thursday that his priority is the defense, particularly re-signing outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks this year.

“Oh yeah. To me, it’s the whole defense,” Arians said after speaking at the NFL Coaches Academy. “You can’t get em all but we’ve gotta get … this team right now, the last eight games, our defensive statistics were … those young guys grew. We can’t let that go. I don’t care who’s my quarterback. We’ve gotta have a defense.”

Winston is set to become an unrestricted free agent after five years with the club. The team has been free to re-sign him at any point but has not done so.

In addition to Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, Ndamukong Suh, Beau Allen and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all set to become free agents.

Arians declined to comment on Winston opting to undergo LASIK eye surgery recently, despite discussing Winston’s nearsightedness at the end of the season.

“I don’t talk about guys’ personal stuff,” Arians said.

A source close to the situation told ESPN the decision was Winston’s and not done at the team’s insistence.

When asked if he felt closer to having more clarity on his quarterback situation, Arians said, “No, because you don’t know who’s available. You’re just sitting and waiting to see is there someone available? And is he a better option?

“That’s the problem. You get about three days to decide — the legal tampering [period]. Is somebody else gonna get let go? What’s the trade values? It’s really monotonous right now because you don’t really have any answers.”

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Source — Franchise designation period on players pushed back

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The NFL Players Association and the NFL management council have pushed back the start of the franchise designation period from February 25 to February 27 and the period will now end on March 12 instead of March 10, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Absent a new collective bargaining agreement, each team can use a franchise and transition tag on players.

The NFLPA is expected to vote on a new collective bargaining agreement next week, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

The vote is still expected despite an NFLPA statement saying its board of representatives has declined to vote on a recommendation in hopes of further meetings with NFL management.

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Colorado hiring Karl Dorrell from Dolphins as next head coach

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Miami Dolphins assistant head coach Karl Dorrell will become the new head coach at the University of Colorado, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

Dorrell, who coached the Dolphins’ receivers, will succeed Mel Tucker, who left the Buffaloes to become the head coach at Michigan State.

Dorrell was the head coach at UCLA from 2003-07, where he led the Bruins to five bowl appearances and amassed a record of 35-27. He was fired at the end of the ’07 season, despite the Bruins reaching a bowl game.

Earlier this week, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, a star running back at Colorado from 1987-90, withdrew his name from consideration for the job, ESPN confirmed.

Steve Sarkisian also withdrew his name from consideration and instead plans to remain at Alabama as offensive coordinator, sources told ESPN

Dorrell, 56, returns to college after spending the past five seasons as receivers coach for the Jets (2015-2018) and Dolphins (2019). His last college coaching job was in 2014, when he served as Vanderbilt‘s offensive coordinator.

The Dolphins gave Dorrell a promotion this week adding assistant head coach to his title, but Dorrell has been looking for an opportunity to return to being a head coach.

Dorrell quickly earned the respect of his Dolphins receivers last season and played a key role in DeVante Parker‘s breakout 2019 season.

Parker, who finished in the top five among NFL players with 1,202 receiving yards last season, credited Dorrell for teaching him how to watch film better, learn the subtleties of the position and trusting him to succeed.

It’s a return to Boulder for Dorrell, who was CU’s offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach from 1995-98 and the receiver coach from 1992-93.

Colorado’s search focused on coaches with NFL ties. After reaching out to Bienemy, the school also spoke with New York Giants assistant Bret Bielema, the former Arkansas and Wisconsin coach, and had significant interest in Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a source told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

The school also spoke with Sarkisian and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, both of whom spent time in the NFL.

Darrin Chiaverini had been serving as Colorado’s interim head coach.

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Kicker Mason Crosby, Packers reach 3-year deal, agent says

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Kicker Mason Crosby has agreed to a three-year contact with the Green Bay Packers, his agent Mike McCartney announced on social media Saturday.

The 2007 sixth-round pick has spent his entire career with the Packers and is coming off a season in which he had a career-best 91.7% success rate on field goals, tying the team record. He missed just one extra point on the way to being named a first alternate for the Pro Bowl.

“I think when you have a guy who has been through the fire like Mason has, for a guy in my position, it makes us feel very comfortable,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Friday. “He obviously had an excellent year last year. He’s a big part of our team, a big part of what we’re trying to do here. I’m very hopeful that that will reach the right ending.”

At age 35, Crosby shows no signs of diminished leg strength.

He holds the Packers career scoring record, a mark he surpassed during the 2015 season. He owns the seven longest field goals in team history (a 58-yarder, two from 57, three from 56 and one from 55).

Crosby also holds the NFL postseason record for most consecutive field goals made, with 23 (from 2010-16).



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