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Source — Washington Football Team to hire 49ers executive Martin Mayhew as GM



The Washington Football Team is hiring Martin Mayhew as its new general manager, a source told ESPN on Thursday, adding another experienced voice to help coach Ron Rivera.

Mayhew interviewed with Rivera on Jan. 16 and had long been considered a strong candidate. Among the other known interviews, Washington also spoke with Ryan Cowden, Tennessee’s vice president of player personnel, Nick Polk, Atlanta’s director of football operations and JoJo Wooden, the Los Angeles Chargers‘ director of player personnel.

Mayhew had a longer track record in front offices and also had earned a reputation for knowing how to work with his head coaches. In Washington, Rivera has the power so the general manager will report to him. He and Mayhew share the same agent, but Mayhew also brings a wealth of experience. He served as Detroit‘s general manager from 2008-15 – after eight years in the Lions’ front office. Rivera has said he wanted someone who also could handle the administrative duties of the position.

ESPN had previously reported that Marty Hurney was expected to be named the team’s new general manager.

Mayhew was named Detroit’s GM late in 2008 after the Lions finished that season 0-16. Detroit was 8-24 in his first two seasons. The Lions made the postseason in 2011 and ’14, the only two years in which they had a winning record during his tenure. Overall, Detroit went 41-63 in his seven-and-a-half seasons.

Mayhew hired Jim Caldwell in 2014 to replace the first coach he had signed, Jim Schwartz. Detroit fired Mayhew midway through the 2015 season. But his hiring of Caldwell paid off: Detroit finished with three winning seasons in Caldwell’s four years with two playoff appearances. It was the first time Detroit had posted consecutive winning seasons since 1994-95.

One person who coached under Mayhew called him “smart, analytical, level-headed” and someone who stayed calm. He was able to have disagreements without it becoming divisive. He also said Mayhew sometimes lacked a gut feel for players, but felt that issue could be lessened if someone else on his staff offered that quality.

Mayhew was the New York Giants’ director of football operations in 2016 before joining San Francisco’s front office a year later. He spent two years as a senior executive and the past two as the vice president of player personnel.

Mayhew played four years as a defensive back in Washington, winning a Super Bowl in the 1991 season. His time in Washington was sandwiched between one season in Buffalo and four in Tampa Bay.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul having surgery on left knee



TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is undergoing a surgical procedure on his left knee on Wednesday, he posted on social media.

The three-time Pro Bowler posted news of the procedure, which was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, on his Instagram Story.

In July, Pierre-Paul underwent arthroscopic surgery on the same knee to clean up cartilage that was causing discomfort.

He was on the injury report throughout the 2020 season with the knee injury, even missing a practice leading up to the Super Bowl, but he did not miss a game this season.

He finished the 2020 season with a team-leading 9.5 sacks and a career-high 4 forced fumbles, with 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. His two sacks played a key role in defeating the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.

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Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger to return in 2021, team president Art Rooney II says



PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger back, and he wants to return.

Team president Art Rooney II acknowledged the mutual desire between the Steelers and their longtime quarterback in a statement Wednesday morning.

“Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting” Rooney said. “We were able to discuss a lot of things that relate to where we are and where we want to go. Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship. We both understand the next step is to work out Ben’s contract situation.”

The final year of Roethlisberger’s current deal comes with a $41.2 million cap hit, though a contract restructure and extension could lower that by a maximum of about $14 million.

Roethlisberger, who turns 39 next week, also could opt to take a pay cut to the veteran minimum, which would put his cap hit just over $23 million.

In a statement to NFL Network on Tuesday night, Roethlisberger’s agent Ryan Tollner said “we are happy to creatively adjust his contract to help them build the best team possible.”

Rooney’s statement is the most committal the Steelers have been toward bringing the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback back for at least one more season.

General manager Kevin Colbert was lukewarm last week in his assessment of Roethlisberger’s status with the team, saying “hopefully, there is a way we could try and figure out and do what’s best for the organization and do what’s best for Ben.”

Rooney echoed some of Colbert’s sentiments in Wednesday’s statement, saying that the sides still have to resolve Roethlisberger’s contract situation — something that has to be done by the open of the new league year on March 17.

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Cam Newton? Marcus Mariota? Jimmy Garoppolo? Patriots must move soon at QB – New England Patriots Blog



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots‘ approach in filling their quarterback void can be described in two words: Strategically patient. They are exploring all options — free agency, the 2021 NFL draft and trades.

But their patience will soon be put to the test.

Time is running out, as evidenced by Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry‘s recent remarks. Henry will be a top free-agent target if the Chargers don’t assign him the franchise tag, and he told Sirius XM NFL Radio the two most important factors to him will be money and a “good quarterback.” Henry said the quarterback is “huge for our position; it makes things a lot easier.”

Not having a clear picture at quarterback by the start of free agency in mid-March will undoubtedly make things a lot more challenging for the Patriots as they potentially court top tight ends (Henry, Jonnu Smith) and wide receivers (Allen Robinson II, Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay) to address glaring needs.

And even if coach Bill Belichick decides the draft is the best path forward at quarterback, he’ll still need to do something before then, with only third-year player Jarrett Stidham and practice-squad option Jake Dolegala on the roster.

The Patriots’ M.O. has been to account for as many needs as possible entering the draft, thus giving them the flexibility to select what they deem the best value regardless of position. There’s also the realization at pick No. 15, and with lower odds of making a bold trade into the top five by dealing away a future first-round pick, there’s no guarantee the Patriots will be in the mix for a top quarterback.

One veteran option who could at least temporarily fill the void is Cam Newton, who stumped for his return to New England in an entertaining appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast. Longtime captain and safety Devin McCourty is among those who would endorse Newton’s return, noting how the QB was put in a tough spot after missing the 2020 offseason with the team.

But Newton, who threw eight TD passes and 10 interceptions last season, will be a tough sell to a vocal part of the Patriots’ fan base that understandably didn’t like what it saw in 2020. It was always going to be a drop-off from Tom Brady, but the depths to which the passing game struggled– albeit with a lack of top pass-catchers around Newton — was dramatic.

Another question the Patriots are likely asking themselves in their strategically patient approach: Would Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota be an upgrade?

The Raiders face a salary-cap crunch, they need to improve their defense, and Mariota ($10.625 million base salary) might be a backup-QB luxury Las Vegas cannot afford. Thus, if they can land a mid-to-late-round draft pick for Mariota, they might be motivated sellers for a player who could also be in jeopardy of being released.

ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck, a backup quarterback in the NFL from 2001 to 2007, could envision Mariota in New England.

“The Patriots love to be value shoppers, Marcus Mariota played really well last year in relief, he’s due just $10.5 million, which means he could easily be paired with a young quarterback,” Hasselbeck said on ESPN’s Get Up this week. “His ability as a runner, but also as a passer, I think it would actually be a great fit in New England and makes a lot of sense.”

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo might make the most sense for the Patriots, given their background together (2014-17). But the San Francisco 49ers have no urgency to trade him unless they know they have an upgrade in place.

Deshaun Watson would be an option, but the Houston Texans are reportedly telling teams he isn’t available. Meanwhile, the New York Jets might trade Sam Darnold, but that potential QB domino falling doesn’t seem imminent.

Which all comes back to the Patriots and timing.

It’s one thing to be strategically patient — kicking the tires on Matthew Stafford, staying out of the Carson Wentz fray, and studying free-agent possibilities such as Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Miami Dolphins) and Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago Bears) — at this point of the NFL calendar.

But with free agency approaching March 17, the clock is ticking and could soon force the Patriots’ hand.

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