NFL news and notes: Sanders & Sanu traded, Peterson will face Vikings

By Sports Desk October 22, 2019

Trades were all the talk around the NFL on Tuesday.

We look at those transactions and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.


Three things that matter

Broncos trade Sanders to 49ers

It was reported that the Denver Broncos dealt two-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tand a fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers, with NFL Media noting the latter were in on Mohamed Sanu before he went to the New England Patriots. In return, the Broncos received third- and fourth-round picks in 2020 from the Niners.

Sanders, who should welcome the change of scenery joining a playoff contender, has 565 catches for 7,391 and 39 touchdowns over 134 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Broncos.

Patriots acquire Sanu from Falcons

Super Bowl champions New England acquired the wide receiver from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round pick. Sanu farewelled the Falcons and their fans on Twitter.

Sanu played at Rutgers with the McCourty brothers and Patriots assistant Steve Belichick before being drafted in 2012 by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he remained until he signed with Atlanta in 2016. He has 33 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown this season.

Hall of Fame cornerback Brown dies aged 78

No cause of death has been made public, but support has been overflowing on social media.

Willie Brown will be best remembered on the field for his interception of the Minnesota Vikings' Fran Tarkenton in Super Bowl 11 in 1977 that became an iconic moment in the game's history.

He later served as a defensive backfield coach for the Oakland Raiders from 1979 to 1988 and also was the head coach at Long Beach State in 1991.

Two things that don't matter

Peterson says he's 'ready to go'

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson insisted he will play against his former team in Minnesota on Thursday despite an MRI revealing a Grade 1 high ankle sprain and a Grade 2 low ankle sprain. Peterson initially injured his ankle during Sunday's game against the 49ers after fumbling, finishing with 20 carries for 81 yards. 

The 34-year-old, who has a long history of injuries, has rushed for 307 yards and one touchdown on 83 carries in six games this season. 

XFL reveals schedule for 2020 season

The league is set to open play February 8 when the D.C. Defenders visit the Seattle Dragons. The XFL's eight teams, which have been divided into two divisions, will have 10 games from February 8 to April 12 before the playoffs begin later that month and the championship game takes place April 26.

"It's a big moment for us,'' XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said. "We've got great time slots on the weekends. We think it's a well-designed schedule in terms of competitive balance.''

One video you have to see

Dion Jordan looks ready to get to work.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Le'Veon Bell held nothing back as he bashed the NFL and defended his quarterback on Twitter after Sam Darnold was heard on "Monday Night Football" saying he was "seeing ghosts."

Related items

  • Blaine Gabbert returns to back up new Bucs QB Tom Brady Blaine Gabbert returns to back up new Bucs QB Tom Brady

    Blaine Gabbert has returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will compete to be named as Tom Brady's backup quarterback.

    The 30-year-old was with the Bucs last year but suffered a dislocated shoulder in the preseason, meaning he did not see competitive action.

    Ryan Griffin is the other QB on the roster after the departure of former number one overall pick Jameis Winston, who remains a free agent.

    The Bucs confirmed the return of Gabbert on Friday, with his contract reportedly a fully guaranteed one-year deal.

    Gabbert has 48 career starts in his NFL career, having previously represented the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Franciso 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans.

    He was selected at number 10 in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Jags, and previously worked with Bucs head coach Bruce Arians in Arizona.

    The free agency signing of Brady, who left the New England Patriots after 20 years, has the Bucs dreaming of a Super Bowl appearance at their home stadium at the conclusion of the 2020 season.

    They have not reached the playoffs since 2007, but have a stellar cast of receiving talent to work with Brady.

    Brady was this week allowed to claim his trademark number 12 jersey by previous holder Chris Godwin, while Gabbert will again wear 11.

  • Foles excited for 'open competition' after talks with fellow Bears QB Trubisky Foles excited for 'open competition' after talks with fellow Bears QB Trubisky

    Nick Foles is excited by the prospect of competing to be the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback after the team confirmed they would hold an "open competition" at the position.

    Former Super Bowl champion Foles was brought in by the Bears in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a fourth-round draft selection.

    That move piled the pressure on incumbent starter Mitchell Trubisky, whose job is now under threat three years after he was drafted at number two overall by general manager Ryan Pace.

    Foles, 31, has already spoken to Trubisky and hopes they can put the team first going into training camp. 

    "The opportunity to be a full-time starter and do those things is something any player would love to do in the right situation," Foles told reporters. "It's an opportunity I'm excited for.

    "Mitch and I have already talked and we want to start out on the right foot. Ultimately, it's all about what’s best for the Chicago Bears."

    Pace and head coach Matt Nagy have praised the way Trubisky has taken to the challenge of Foles arrival.

    "With the addition of Nick Foles it's exactly what we talked about from the start - we want to create competition," Pace said. 

    "We've talked to both players and it's an open competition. We understand the focus is on the quarterback position.

    "It's been a focus for us with the addition of Nick Foles. We've increased competition at a critical position, we talked to both players, and credit to both those guys for embracing it."

    Nagy believes the blame for Trubisky being unable to hit the heights of other QBs in the early stages of his NFL career should be shared.

    "What we're trying to do is what's best for the Chicago Bears, plain and simple," he said. "You could feel how much of a competitor Mitch is. He's embracing it and he's excited to get back to work.

    "Part of the conversation we discussed, too, was understanding the big picture. I know Mitch gets a lot of this, but we could have been a lot better coaching, schematically. I could have been a better head coach.

    "And then as we all know, we can all be better as players around him as well. That's the focus there.

    "Mitch has had an unbelievable personality throughout it. All he wants to do is be the best quarterback he can be for the Chicago Bears.

    "And when we walk in on the first day, whenever it is, Mitch will be first in the huddle."

  • Sammy Watkins signs restructured contract to stay with Chiefs Sammy Watkins signs restructured contract to stay with Chiefs

    The Kansas City Chiefs have signed wide receiver Sammy Watkins to a new one-year deal.

    Watkins was not a free agent but there was speculation over his future with the team with him due to count $21million against the salary cap in the final year of his previous contract.

    However, the Chiefs and Watkins have agreed to a restructure that will keep him with the Super Bowl champions while giving them a much-needed cap saving of around $5m.

    Watkins, 26, can earn up to $16m in the terms of his new deal, though his base salary has been reduced from $13.75m to $9m, with $7m available to him in incentives.

    He will count $16m against the cap with his new deal, a figure which also includes $7m from his original signing bonus.

    Confirming the deal on Twitter, Watkins posted: "I'm back KC LETS GET IT..! #RUNITBACKTOUR".

    Watkins played a crucial role in the Chiefs' Super Bowl LIV triumph last season, catching 14 of his 18 targets in the postseason for 288 yards and a touchdown.

    His most important contribution came on a 38-yard catch in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, which set up Damien Williams' go-ahead touchdown in their 31-20 comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers.


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