Hunter Henry is confident he will be able to strike an agreement on a new long-term contract with the Los Angeles Chargers.

To stop the 25-year-old from hitting free agency, the Chargers placed the franchise tag on him for 2020 and he has signed that agreement, which is a one-year deal worth around $11million.

A deadline of July 15 is in place for tagged players to agree a long-term extension, a prospect which is high on the agenda for Henry.

"It's definitely a blessing to get the franchise tag," Henry told reporters. 

"It only being one year, definitely we're going to try to extend something and get something for a longer term. Definitely would like to do something in that aspect.

"So, hopefully, we can work something out. We're definitely going back and forth. I think all this pandemic stuff has kind of put a lot of that on hold for a while with them going into the draft.

"Hopefully, we can pick it back up and see where we go from there.

"There are other guys that need to be signed too. We'll continue to talk especially as we get closer to the deadline."

Over the past two seasons, Henry has suffered a torn ACL and a fractured knee, but when healthy he has proven to be one of the NFL's best players at his position.

The prospect of holding out and not signing his franchise tag was never an option for Henry, who has caught 17 touchdowns in 41 regular season games.

"I was just ready to sign it," Henry said. "Just with everything going on with this [the coronavirus], and just myself, like I just wasn't a guy that wanted to hold out and kind of do all that. 

"I wasn't going to do that. That's just not me. Some guys can do it. It's just not me.

"I'm excited for this team, and I'm excited for going into this new stadium with new jerseys, new look, everything. I have pretty high confidence that we are going to have a season.

"We have four months until games are supposed to start to figure it out. I'm open to playing games without fans for a while, and then hopefully things will get better."

After the departure of quarterback Philip Rivers, Henry will catch passes from Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert, who the team drafted at number six overall this year.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has told Tyrod Taylor he cannot promise him the starting quarterback job ahead of a competition against Justin Herbert.

Former Oregon QB Herbert was picked by the Chargers at number six overall in last week's NFL Draft.

It came after Lynn and Taylor, who previously worked closely together with the Buffalo Bills, had spoken positively about the possibility of the veteran leading the team for 2020.

Now, Taylor will start training camp first on the depth chart, but rookie Herbert will get the chance to win the job and Lynn is happy to throw the 22-year-old straight into regular-season action if he emerges on top.

"We're going into this thing: Day one, Tyrod Taylor is going to be starting it off," Lynn told Sports Illustrated.

"He's earned that right. His teammates respect the hell out of him, he's a leader on this football team. 

"But it's a competition, bro. There's a competition at every position, not just this one. I can't just say Tyrod's gonna be the starting quarterback for the whole year if this young man goes in there and wins the job."

Herbert was the third QB taken behind the Cincinnati Bengals' top pick Joe Burrow and the Miami Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa, who went at five.

The introverted personality of Herbert was often cited as a negative during the draft process, but Lynn has no concerns on that front as the team look to find a long-term replacement for Philip Rivers.

"I watched how he played the game, and how his team-mates responded to him on the football field and I said, 'This is not a problem'," added Lynn.

"I don’t know why it would be. Is a quarterback supposed to be loud? There's a time for him to be loud, there's a time for him to not be loud.

"You don't have to be loud to be a great leader. You don't have to be outspoken to be a great leader.

"[Watching the tape], he just grew on me. He would lay it on the line for his teammates.

"Our young quarterback's gonna learn a lot from Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod Taylor's one of the most respected players on our team, and he doesn't say a whole lot either."

The NFL is currently completing its first virtual draft in 2020, 16 years on from a dramatic draft day that changed the league's recent history.

Eli Manning was taken at number one overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, but that was not where the quarterback ended up going.

It is eight years since this date in the calendar produced a match that will never be forgotten by supporters of Chelsea, after their famous battle against Barcelona.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 24.

 

2012: Chelsea reach first Champions League final

Chelsea and Barcelona have had their fair share of epic Champions League battles over the years and this meeting in 2012 was no different.

The Blues, under an interim manager in Roberto Di Matteo, looked to be on the brink of elimination when Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta had Barca two goals up on the night, with captain John Terry having been sent off. 

Trailing 2-1 on aggregate, Ramires scored a magnificent chip for the 10 men and it looked like it might just be their night when Lionel Messi smashed a second-half penalty against the crossbar. 

Barca were dominant, but they could not find a third goal and Fernando Torres raced clear in a late counter-attack to make it 2-2 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate, one of their most memorable wins ever.

Chelsea went on to win their first Champions League final against hosts Bayern Munich on penalties.

2004: Manning snubs Chargers for Giants

Eli Manning made it clear he did not wish to play for the Chargers (then from San Diego rather than Los Angeles) when he came into the 2004 NFL Draft as the leading college prospect.

His father Archie had cited reports about how the Chargers had treated fellow QB Ryan Leaf as evidence for why his son did not want to play there.

The Chargers selected him nonetheless, while the Giants picked QB Philip Rivers at four, and a trade was promptly worked out between the two teams.

It was a move that changed the recent history of the NFL, as Manning went on to guide the Giants to two dramatic Super Bowl triumphs, both against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Rivers had an impressive 16 seasons with the Chargers but fell short of postseason glory and will now try to go all the way with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, in 2020.

Another two-time Super Bowl champion, Ben Roethlisberger, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers at number 11.

He, like Rivers, is back vying for glory this year, while Manning retired after being usurped by Daniel Jones in New York.

1973: Sachin Tendulkar is born

April 24, 1973 was a great day in the history of Indian cricket, as Sachin Tendulkar was born.

The legendary batsman was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) and made his Test debut against Pakistan as a 16-year-old.

What followed was a career that produced 15,921 runs and 51 centuries, which are both records in the longest form of the game.

The Little Master also racked up 18,426 runs in ODIs, another record mark that sees him stand alone atop the charts.

2018: Liverpool 5-2 Roma in memorable UCL semi

Liverpool’s front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah combined for five goals in the space of 68 minutes as the Reds blew Roma away in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie at Anfield. 

Two late goals from the Italians gave them a faint glimmer of hope, and they ended up just one goal short of forcing extra time in a return leg which they won 4-2.

Liverpool lost the eventual final to Real Madrid, but made amends by winning the trophy in 2019, beating Premier League rivals Tottenham in the final.

2019: Lillard hits stunning game-winner to settle series

On this day last year, the Portland Trail Blazers had not won a playoff series in the previous two seasons, but that all changed when Damian Lillard drained a three-pointer from 37 feet to settle a thrilling battle against Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Portland led 3-1 but game five was on a knife edge at 115-115 before Lillard produced a moment of brilliance as time expired.

The team went on to beat the Denver Nuggets in seven games to reach the Conference Finals, where the Golden State Warriors blew them away in a clean sweep.

George and Westbrook now play for new teams, but Lillard remains the Blazers' leading man.

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft returned some normalcy to the sports world, even if commissioner Roger Goodell's basement does not quite exude the same glitz as the Las Vegas Strip. 

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the draft to be held remotely with NFL general managers, coaches and scouts isolated in their homes instead of inside team complexes, the virtual draft ran smoothly – and without much drama early on Thursday.

In what has been widely expected for weeks, and possibly months, the Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.

Burrow led LSU to the national title last season, completing 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and an FBS-single season record 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions. 

The second pick also went exactly like how many draft experts had predicted for weeks, with the Washington Redskins drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. 

Young led the FBS with 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2019, and was regarded to be the most talented player in the draft class – even ahead of Burrow. 

If not for Burrow's incredible 2019 season and because of Tua Tagovailoa's injury concerns, the latter may have challenged for the top spot in the 2020 draft. 

Tagovailoa became the second quarterback off the board when he was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth pick.

One pick after Tagovailoa, the Los Angeles Chargers took Oregon QB Justin Herbert – just the third time since the 1970 merger three quarterbacks were chosen in the top six picks. 

Three teams that had selected quarterbacks in the first round of the last two drafts, used the 2020 draft to beef up their offensive lines to protect their young, franchise QBs. 

The New York Giants (Daniel Jones at six in 2019) picked Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas at fourth overall, the Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield at one in 2018) selected Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 10th pick, and the New York Jets (Sam Darnold third in 2018) used the next pick to select Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. 

After this run on tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took part in the first trade of the draft to insure their new – and aging – quarterback would also stay upright. They moved up one spot in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to select Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs at 13 to shore up the offensive line in front of Tom Brady. 

The next trade came 10 picks later as Brady's old team, New England Patriots, dealt pick 23 to the Chargers – who selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. The Patriots received a second and third-round pick from the Chargers and now have five of the first 100 picks of the 2020 draft and 13 overall. 

While it is possible New England could use one of those picks to draft Brady's replacement, the Green Bay Packers have chosen the heir apparent to 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers, trading up from 30th to 26th to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

The opening round concluded with the defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs selecting the first running back to bookend the first round with LSU picks, taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire – the 14th player drafted out of the SEC. 

Wide receiver is considered to be the deepest position in the draft, and six went in the first round – but none until 12, when Alabama's Henry Ruggs III became the first player ever selected by the Raiders in their new home of Las Vegas. 

While Las Vegas was not able to host the draft festivities this year, Goodell announced that the city has been awarded the 2022 draft, with the commissioner saying, "We think you deserve another shot".

 

First round selections:

1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
2. Chase Young (Washington Redskins)
3. Jeff Okudah (Detroit Lions)
4. Andrew Thomas (New York Giants)
5. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
6. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
7. Derrick Brown (Carolina Panthers)
8. Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals)
9. CJ Henderson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
10. Jedrick Wills Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
11. Mekhi Becton (New York Jets)
12. Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders)
13. Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
14. Javon Kinlaw (San Francisco 49ers)
15. Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
16. A.J. Terrell (Atlanta Falcons)
17. CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
18. Austin Jackson (Miami Dolphins)
19. Damon Arnette (Las Vegas Raiders)
20. K'Lavon Chaisson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
21. Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
23. Kenneth Murray (Los Angeles Chargers)
24. Cesar Ruiz (New Orleans Saints)
25. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
26. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)
27. Jordyn Brooks (Seattle Seahawks)
28. Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens)
29. Isaiah Wilson (Tennessee Titans)
30. Noah Igbinoghene (Miami Dolphins)
31. Jeff Gladney (Minnesota Vikings)
32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)

The Los Angeles Chargers believe they have found their next franchise quarterback, selecting Oregon's Justin Herbert with the sixth pick in the NFL Draft. 

The Chargers needed a quarterback after letting veteran Philip Rivers leave in free agency, and Herbert fits the bill following Thursday's selection. 

At 6-foot-6, Herbert has the size of a prototypical pocket passer. He reads the field well and can fire the ball downfield and into tight spaces with his canon for an arm. 

In addition to being a strong-armed QB, Herbert also moves well, showing the ability to evade pressure in the pocket and scramble. 

As a senior in 2019, Herbert completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 3,471 yards with 32 touchdowns to just six interceptions. This came after he passed for 3,151 yards with 29 TD passes and eight picks in 2018. He is the only FBS QB in the last 20 years to have a three-to-one or better touchdown-to-interception ratio in all four seasons of his collegiate career (minimum 100 attempts each season). 

Over the past two seasons, Herbert rose to the occasion when the competition got tougher, throwing 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions in eight games against Top 25 teams. He rushed for three touchdowns in Oregon's Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin to join Texas' Vince Young (both in 2005 and 2006) as the only QBs in the last 20 Rose Bowls to rush for at least three TDs. 

The task now at hand for Herbert is to buck the trend of Oregon QBs drafted in the first round of struggling in the NFL. 

Since the 1970 merger, four Oregon QBs have been selected in the first round – Chris Miller, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and Marcus Mariota.

Mariota is still active, but to date none of those four have started as many as 100 games in the NFL, and all four have losing records. Their combined record as starters in the NFL is 92-154 (.374 winning percentage), and Miller is the only one to have earned a Pro Bowl selection. 

The 2020 NFL Draft is now just two days away, with the growing excitement for football fans providing a welcome distraction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is expected to be the first overall pick when the Cincinnati Bengals make the virtual draft's opening selection on Thursday.

From there, much of the first round remains uncertain with an impressive class of players to select from and significant variations between teams in many of their pre-draft assessments.

The QB position, as ever, is one that is producing intrigue and debate.

There is a historic group of offensive tackles and wide receivers, while many of the key defensive positions have just one standout leader before a notable drop off.

With teams finalising their evaluations and embarking on draft simulations while reporters, analysts and fans submit their final mock drafts, it is almost time for the real action to begin.

Here, we look at the key storylines to watch and the pivot points that should determine the shape of a dramatic first round.

Herbert or Tua? Will teams trade up?

Oregon's Justin Herbert has seen his stock rise during the draft process amid continued debate over the fitness of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

In terms of on-field ability, Tagovailoa was, in the eyes of many, on a par with or at least a very close second to Burrow in the QB rankings.

The impressive Tagovailoa topped Burrow and Herbert when it came to yards per attempt (11.27) and the percentage of passes resulting in a touchdown (13.1 per cent) last season.

But his three surgeries in a 12-month period, on both of his ankles and a dislocated hip he suffered in November, have prompted a wave of speculation over how far he will drop.

His case has likely not been helped by the COVID-19 crisis, which has limited teams' ability to conduct their own injury assessment or meet with prospects face-to-face.

Neither the Detroit Lions nor New York Giants, picking at three and four respectively, have an obvious need at QB, though each team has indicated a willingness to move down.

The Washington Redskins have been strongly linked with Ohio State's pass-rusher Chase Young at number two, but reports on Tuesday suggested even their spot could be up for grabs.

With the Miami Dolphins, who boast three first-round selections, due to pick at five, and the Los Angeles Chargers at six, the biggest pivot point will be whether either of those teams push themselves up into the top four to land their favoured QB.

The growing speculation is that man for Miami could be Herbert, but we will not know which reports were just smokescreen until draft day and there remains a chance Tagovailoa has been their preference all along.

Either the Lions or Giants would love to assume extra draft capital in a trade with Miami or LA, and they may be able to do that while still selecting the player they want, cornerback Jeffrey Okudah in Detroit's case and a top offensive tackle for New York.

With a potential face of the franchise on the board, will the Dolphins or Chargers really have the patience to sit back and hope their QB remains available, or will the draft order get its first big shake-up?

After the top three options, Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts are other QBs tipped to go before the end of round two.

Historic tackle class could lead to early run

The offensive tackle class is so strong that even the second-tier of options, which is headed up by Houston's Josh Jones, is expected to have multiple first-round selections.

In the top tier is Tristan Wirfs, Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills and Mekhi Becton, all of whom have received top-10 buzz over recent months.

With the Giants, Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all picking in the top half and in need of urgent offensive line assistance, trades have again been mooted and a rapid run of selections should not be ruled out.

Such is the desire to land a top tackle, the best options in a magnificent WR class all have a chance of dropping.

Will Jeudy, Lamb and Ruggs all drop out of top 10?

As the offseason started and a detailed analysis began on a historic group of wide receivers, few would have thought there was a realistic chance of none being taken in the top 10.

But that is now a possibility which has teams picking in the middle of the round relishing the opportunity to land a dominant pass-catcher.

The class is headed up by all-round talent CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma, Alabama's superb route-runner Jerry Jeudy and his college teammate, the rapid deep threat Henry Ruggs.

Lamb's YAC ability was highlighted by his 21.4 yards per reception last year, making him the top receiver in college football in that category, while he also had no drops all season and averaged 102.1 yards per game.

But due to the depth of the class, many teams will be confident of landing a starting wideout in the second or third rounds.

That and the potential flurry for QBs and tackles above, could mean Lamb, Jeudy and Ruggs fall into the grateful arms of the Jets, Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.

They are all picking between 11 and 13, while the Denver Broncos have been tipped to trade up from 15.

Star defensive names amid the offensive noise

When it comes to other key position groups, many have one clear leader likely to be picked towards the top.

Young looks poised to go at number two, unless Washington trade out of the spot, and he is far and away the leading edge option, with Okudah the top CB.

When it comes to linebackers and safeties, the versatile Clemson phenom Isaiah Simmons is good enough to top the list of prospects at both positions, while at defensive tackle, Auburn’s Derrick Brown is not expected to remain on the board for long.

If those stars all go in the top 10 as expected, even more value should be created for those teams needing tackles and receivers.

Alternatively, if Simmons or Brown get lost in the noise around trades or a run on those competitive position groups, teams further down could get a steal.

New England pick at 23 is key

Later on in the first round, all eyes will be on what the New England Patriots do in their first draft since the departure of Tom Brady.

With free agent and trade options still available - despite claims they are happy to roll with last year’s fourth-round pick, Jarrett Stidham - there are a range of possible selections outside of the QB position.

However, if Bill Belichick has fallen in love with a prospect or if Tagovailoa begins to slide, this could be the draft where Brady's successor is selected.

If the Patriots opt to be aggressive, their situation is complicated by a limited number of premium picks.

After 23, they do not select again until number 87 and their roster is already lacking in offensive firepower, a situation which frustrated Brady prior to his departure.

As they prepare to head to the brand new SoFi Stadium in 2020, the Los Angeles Chargers are going back to their roots with a uniform rebrand.

The Chargers, who will share the stadium in Inglewood with the Los Angeles Rams, revealed a new look on Monday, with their home powder blues and road whites marking a return to the original style worn by the franchise following its inception in 1960.

Two "colour rush" uniforms in royal blue and navy blue will also be in the Chargers' rotation.

The uniforms were met with excitement from the Chargers' players, safety Derwin James and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. among those to show their approval on Twitter.

told ya. pic.twitter.com/2HD94YFatP

— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) April 21, 2020

2020 New Uniforms Swagg on
pic.twitter.com/OCUlDe4WmL

— Derwin James Jr (@DerwinJames) April 21, 2020

What y’all think ? they https://t.co/q5MlyoAa3r

— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisJr) April 21, 2020

Philip Rivers' alarming dip in form during the 2019 season means his signing is no guarantee of success for the Indianapolis Colts, says Brian Baldinger.

The 38-year-old left the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency after 16 seasons with the franchise, agreeing a one-year, $25million contract at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Indianapolis hope eight-time Pro Bowler Rivers can provide them with a significant quarterback upgrade on last year's starter, Jacoby Brissett.

But former Colts offensive lineman Baldinger, now an analyst for NFL Network, believes the previous campaign, when Rivers threw for 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, is a cause for concern.

The Chargers missed the playoffs and went 5-11, just one year after Rivers had 32 TDs and 12 INTs as part of a 12-4 campaign in 2018.

Baldinger told Stats Perform: "He didn't play well last year, and it wasn’t because the offensive line was terrible, or because the defense started with Derwin James getting injured in preseason and all that.

"All that stuff is true, but they won 12 games the year before and a large part of that was because Philip Rivers was really good late in games. 

"Late against Kansas City, late against the Pittsburgh Steelers, late against the Baltimore Ravens in a playoff win, all this stuff was true. 

"But he didn't play well late in games last year, which is where your quarterback has got to elevate your team, he has got to put you on their shoulders. 

"You look at losses last year in Detroit, losses to the Oakland Raiders, losses to the Kansas City Chiefs, all late in games with interceptions by Philip Rivers. They were not good decisions.

"Is that just an outline of Philip Rivers, is that who he is? Because he didn't look good when you have to be good late in games. 

"I don't know what you're going to get, are you going to get 2018 Philip Rivers or 2019 Philip Rivers? I don't know yet and I don't think anybody knows."

Tyrod Taylor believes the Los Angeles Chargers will "turn a lot of heads" if he is their starting quarterback in 2020.

The Chargers went a disappointing 5-11 in 2019, which proved to be the last campaign of Philip Rivers' time with the franchise as the veteran QB departed after 16 seasons.

Though there was reported interest in Tom Brady, who chose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as his next destination, the Chargers are yet to acquire another signal caller in free agency, leaving Taylor at the top of their depth chart.

Los Angeles could still select a quarterback with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft next month, though Taylor is confident he can turn their fortunes around if he is under center in Week 1.

"We have a lot of talent on our team," he told the Orange County Register.

"If I am the guy that would be calling the shots, I know for sure that we'll go out and turn a lot of heads."

Taylor was the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback for three seasons and then began the 2018 campaign as the Cleveland Browns' starter, but he has still yet to shake the impression held by many that he is just a solid backup.

Entering his 10th year in the league, Taylor says that gives him extra fuel.

"It's motivating just for the highs and lows of my career," he explained.

"To be drafted in the sixth round, walking into my 10th year, there's definitely a lot of motivating factors in there being from my time when I was in Buffalo and when I played in Cleveland."

Taylor has spent the early stages of the offseason working with quarterback coach Jeff Christensen, who also happens to be working with free agent Cam Newton.

The 2015 NFL MVP has been linked to the Chargers following his release from the Carolina Panthers and those rumours only grew when Taylor was pictured practicing with Newton.

"It's just two guys working on their craft trying to get better," claimed Taylor, who has also worked out with Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson recently.

"I wasn't implementing or trying to say anything with the photos. We were just out there working and the photos got sent. So no regrets, I posted it.

"We're really good friends and we're going to continue to remain friends, and we're going to continue to push each other and try to find ways to get better."

Melvin Gordon says critics of his ability have given him fuel to prove he is "not an average running back" after joining the Denver Broncos in free agency.

The two-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year, $16million contract in Denver after leaving the Los Angeles Chargers, who he will now meet twice a season in the AFC West.

Gordon did not start his 2019 season until Week 5 after a tense contract holdout failed to land him the lucrative long-term extension he was looking for, not helped by Austin Ekeler's fine displays in his absence.

If he had his time again, Gordon would not hold out, but his focus is on proving people wrong in the 2020 season and bouncing back from a year that saw him average 3.8 yards per carry.

"Oh, it's huge," Gordon said of the chip on his shoulder in a conference call with reporters.

"I just feel like a lot of people just doubt my talent as a back. During the holdout, a lot of people were saying, 'Oh, he's an average back, he's not this, he's not that’.

"Just this year, people are like, 'Well, he's not the back that he was’. No one takes into account that I didn't have my center, or I didn't have my left tackle. We had guys that were hurt and just in and out.

"I didn't have really my starting linemen, my best linemen. No one cares about that, and nor should they, but some players they give that excuse for.

"Some players they give them an excuse - 'Well, they didn't have their line, but he's still a great player'.

"Then you have some players that are in my position where they don't care if you have a good line, or if your line is hurt or not. You're not what you are. You're an average player.

"I'm going to take that and I'm going to use it as fuel, because I know what type of player I am. I want to show that and I am going to show that. I'm going to show everybody that I'm better than just average."

Asked if he would hold out again, Gordon said: "I probably would come back.

"Just because my legacy of what I'm trying to do as a player and the mark that I'm trying to leave. Obviously, those are games I can't get back.

"I started out slow and being able to catch my stride toward the end of the season, but then it's too late.

"It was tough [after coming back], I definitely felt like I ruined some relationships. At times it definitely was difficult.

"I kind of felt some tension walking around, but I just tried my best to keep a smile on my face and just show up for work every day. Obviously, I can't take back what I did, it was done. And now I'm here."

Cam Newton is on the hunt for a new job in the NFL after being released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday.

His exit from the Panthers is a turn of events assumed unthinkable only a few years ago. Newton won the MVP award in the 2015 season for a scintillating campaign that ended with the Panthers losing Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos.

A series of injury issues have derailed the former first-round pick's career and, as he surveys his available options, Newton will find only one legitimate potential opportunity to start in 2020.

Newton taking snaps under center in Week 1 is dependent on interest from a team that also parted with their long-time starter this offseason.

Cam Newton – Los Angeles Charger?

The Los Angeles Chargers stand as the only team with a prospective opening for Newton to start.

Philip Rivers, with the Chargers since 2004, is now a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Los Angeles have not made a move to replace him, leaving Tyrod Taylor as the presumptive starting quarterback.

That is an unappetising scenario for Chargers fans considering buying the personal seat licenses at SoFi Stadium, which they will share with the Rams.

Aside from a few seasons of promise with the Buffalo Bills, Taylor has displayed little to suggest he is a starting quarterback capable of leading a playoff contender. He is, however, an ideal backup for Newton. 

Taylor and Newton possess a similar skill set with their ability to make things happen with their legs. Newton boasts significantly great upside as a passer and when at his best he has the arm to make any throw. 

Newton would also find an excellent set of weapons to get the ball to. Keenan Allen has at least 1,100 receiving yards in each of the last three seasons while Mike Williams provides a big-bodied target with the catch radius to negate the impact of inaccurate passes.

Hunter Henry is a prolific if oft-injured option at tight end and Austin Ekeler established himself as one of the better all-round running backs in the NFL last year.

The fit with the Chargers could hardly be better for Newton, who would instantly energise an uninspired fanbase. However, with the Chargers in a position to add one of the top quarterbacks in the draft with the sixth overall pick, they may not have interest. If they don't, then Newton will have to reconcile himself with being a backup.

Other potential destinations

Teams where Newton would appear to have a shot at replacing the current starter are thin on the ground. 

His best bets are with franchises that have 2019 draft picks who were not selected in the first round under center – the Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Second-rounder Drew Lock impressed down the stretch for the Broncos, but Denver will not have seen enough to be totally convinced by a gunslinger with a tendency for rash decisions.

Newton is an upgrade on Lock when healthy and the same is true with Jaguars starter Gardner Minshew. 

Minshew outplayed Nick Foles last year as a sixth-round rookie and his exciting style of play made him a cult hero in Jacksonville. Consistency will be key, however, if the Jaguars are to excel. Newton would be a tremendous replacement were Minshew to fail to regularly produce his best.

The Jags' AFC South rivals the Tennessee Titans are a possible outsider for Newton. They need a backup for Ryan Tannehill following Marcus Mariota's departure. Newton is an excellent insurance policy if Tannehill's 2019 resurgence proves a flash in the pan.

Proving his fitness

Any team considering taking a chance on Newton will be very interested in a physical examination given his recent injury history.

He battled a shoulder injury in 2018 and suffered a Lisfranc fracture last year, the latter issue limiting him to just two games. 

Newton's durability concerns may be a substantial worry for the Chargers, whose problems at offensive line led to much of Rivers' struggles in his final years with the team, though they have addressed the trenches by trading for guard Trai Turner and signing tackle Bryan Bulaga.

If Newton is to find a new home, he will need to prove he is healthy. Given the recent NFL order for teams to shut down their facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity to do so in a physical may not come for some time.

Newton is set to move on to the next stage of his NFL career but he may have to play the waiting game to find out where that will take place.

Melvin Gordon will be staying in the AFC West after signing for the Denver Broncos.

According to widespread reports, the former Los Angeles Chargers running back has agreed a two-year deal worth $16million, with $13.5m guaranteed.

Gordon will join Phillip Lindsay in the Broncos’ backfield as part of an offense now led by second-year pro Drew Lock at quarterback.

Having been selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Gordon made two Pro Bowls before a tense contract holdout backfired during his last season with the Chargers.

The 26-year-old missed training camp and sat out the first four games in search of a lucrative long-term extension.

But Gordon returned to the team empty handed and then saw Austin Ekeler, who has just signed a new four-year deal, shine for much of the campaign.

The form of Ekeler gave the Chargers comfort to move on from Gordon and he will now look to prove his old team wrong as he faces them twice a year as divisional rivals.

Gordon scored 47 total touchdowns for the Chargers across five seasons, contributing 4,240 rushing yards and another 1,873 receiving.

His move to the Broncos came as the Pittsburgh Steelers struck a two-year deal with tight end Eric Ebron that is worth around $12m.

A day after Tom Brady's exit from the New England Patriots was confirmed, a deal was struck to send the last quarterback to defeat him in a Super Bowl to pastures new.

Brady is expected to be announced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after deciding to end his 20-season association with the Patriots.

However, his change of scenery is far from the only transaction affecting the NFL landscape. Here, we wrap up the significant moves reported to have been agreed as the new league year began on Wednesday.

 

Nick Foles, who got the better of Brady in Super Bowl LII, is reportedly headed to the Chicago Bears after the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to trade him in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

The Jags are parting with Foles just a year after signing the former Philadelphia Eagle to a four-year, $88million contract. He will now provide competition for Mitchell Trubisky, whose role as the Bears' starter is under threat after a disappointing 2019.

Foles' departure allows Gardner Minshew to step in as the starter in Jacksonville. Sixth-round pick Minshew outplayed Foles, who was limited to four games because of injury, last year and will now get the chance to prove he is the Jaguars' franchise quarterback.

Brady's last game as a Patriot came in a playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, who made the surprising decision to deal defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Casey has at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

The Detroit Lions were also involved in the trade market, acquiring safety Duron Harmon from the Patriots. Detroit agreed to a two-year deal with defensive linemen Danny Shelton. Both players have a connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia from his time as New England's defensive coordinator.

Another former Patriot, center Ted Karras, is staying in the division, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints are said to have agreed a deal to bring back safety Malcolm Jenkins after he was let go by the Eagles. Jenkins was drafted by the Saints in 2009 before leaving for the Eagles in 2014.

Their NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers released safety Eric Reid, while the Atlanta Falcons inked edge rusher Dante Fowler to a three-year contract.

Leonard Floyd will fill the void Fowler's exit left for the Los Angeles Rams, who have re-signed guard Austin Blythe and veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the pass rusher who played a key role in their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season. Reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers re-signed center Ben Garland to a one-year deal.

The Los Angeles Chargers may have missed out on Brady, but they have bolstered their defense with the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Cornerback Chris Harris also intends to sign with the Chargers.

Cornerback Eli Apple will play a part in the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas, while safety Sean Davis is headed to the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal.

Tom Brady's departure from the New England Patriots might have been the big NFL news on Tuesday, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in free agency.

As the world waits on Brady's next move after 20 seasons as a Patriot, the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers reportedly found new starting quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Teddy Bridgewater respectively.

Here, we wrap up some of the other big moves that were reported to have been agreed ahead of the new league year beginning on Wednesday.

 

Tight end Jason Witten returned to the Dallas Cowboys last season after a campaign in the broadcast booth and he will be back in 2020, but with the Las Vegas Raiders. Witten, Maliek Collins and safety Jeff Heath are all thought to be making the move from Dallas to Sin City. Linebacker Cory Littleton has also agreed terms with the Raiders, according to reports.

Vic Beasley, who led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2015, is said to be heading to the Tennessee Titans. The edge rusher has only had 18 sacks combined over the previous three seasons.

Having had 11.5 sacks in 2019 with the Cowboys, Robert Quinn's agents told NFL.com he is bound for the Chicago Bears on a five-year, $70million deal. Chicago have confirmed Leonard Floyd has been released.

Malcolm Jenkins, a key part of the Philadelphia Eagles when they won Super Bowl LII, has been released, though the team confirmed two other members of their defensive backfield, Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod, had signed new deals.

Former Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, revealed he has been "reunited with my guy" Ron Rivera at the Washington Redskins. 

The Chargers were busy making an acquisition themselves, bringing in offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga on a three-year, $30m deal, according to NFL.com. Who he will be protecting remains to be seen, though, with the Chargers considered one of the favourites in the Brady sweepstakes.

A day after handing receiver A.J. Green the franchise tag, the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly made two signings on the other side of the ball in nose tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes.

The Jacksonville Jaguars bolstered their front seven by signing ex-Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert, while cornerback Darqueze Dennard is thought to be joining too.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC representatives in last month's Super Bowl, confirmed they had tendered one-year contracts to restricted free agents Kendrick Bourne and Matt Breida.

The previously unthinkable is to become a reality: Tom Brady has confirmed that his "football journey will take place elsewhere".

Brady will not be a New England Patriot when he starts his 21st NFL season, but where he lands in free agency remains unclear.

The Tennessee Titans are ruled out after re-signing Ryan Tannehill while the Las Vegas Raiders' reported acquisition of Marcus Mariota means Sin City is unlikely to be Brady's next destination.

So where is his most likely landing spot? We assess the options.

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

A sporting icon moving to the City of Stars late in his career? See LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers for evidence that can happen.

The Chargers, who would welcome a star acquisition to help sell season tickets for their new stadium, have a lot in the 'pros' column. They have a vacancy following Philip Rivers' departure, the cap space (over $50 million for 2020) and a plethora of offensive weapons such as Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler.

Los Angeles is also geographically appealing for a man who recently launched his own production company. Yet would Brady really want to challenge Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the reigning Super Bowl champions for supremacy in the AFC West?

 

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Another team heavily linked to Brady has been Tampa Bay, who are letting Jameis Winston hit free agency after he led the league in passing yards in 2019.

Winston also threw more interceptions than anyone else, and that is why a player of Brady's calibre - even at 42 years old - would be appealing to head coach Bruce Arians.

Brady's eyes would light up at the possibility of playing with a receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the Florida weather is a plus point too. Are the Bucs close enough to contending for a Super Bowl, though? 

 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The aforementioned Rivers seems a logical fit here given his familiarity with the coaching staff and reports suggest the two sides have a mutual interest.

However, if Brady really wanted to stick it to New England and Bill Belichick, what better way than signing for one of their rivals? The Colts are a team still seething at Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' U-turn when he seemed set to become Indy's head coach in 2018.

The Colts have plenty of cap space, a fine roster and could offer Brady the sanctuary of their dome for home games. Yet, it is hard to see Brady winding up at Lucas Oil Stadium given it was the Colts' complaint in the 2014 'Deflategate' scandal that led to the quarterback being suspended.

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Fans of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are sure to be among the happiest that Brady is finally leaving the AFC East.

Only what if he does not and Brady takes his talents to South Beach ala LeBron 10 years ago? The Dolphins, awash with cap space, could sign Brady and draft his long-term replacement Tua Tagovailoa to sit behind him and return to fitness.

Brian Flores, the former Patriots defensive coordinator, is the head coach in Miami, but his team are still in the early years of a rebuild - not the type of situation for a 40-something starting QB. Unless he really wants to stick it to Belichick and the Pats....

 

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

How about this for a Hollywood ending: The boyhood 49ers fan moves back home and rides off into the sunset after winning a seventh Super Bowl ring.

San Francisco came agonisingly close to winning it all last month only to fall short against the Chiefs, leading to Jimmy Garoppolo's naysayers to raise their concerns about his suitability as a franchise quarterback.

It would be some twist given Garoppolo once backed Brady up and was seen as his heir apparent, though Jimmy G's 2019 performances suggested he should be the present and future for Kyle Shanahan's team.

 

DENVER BRONCOS

Could Brady follow in Peyton Manning's footsteps and head to Mile High? Manning won a second ring as a Bronco in a perfect example of a veteran quarterback taking a talented team over the line, even if he was far from his best in Super Bowl 50.

John Elway drafted Drew Lock last year and though he produced some encouraging signs as a rookie, the Broncos head honcho said they would "always talk" to Brady if he became available. Consider them among the wildcards.

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