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)

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry signed his $10.2million franchise tender, the NFL franchise announced on Thursday.

The move ensures 2019 Pro Bowler and Titans star Henry is officially under contract for the 2020 season.

Tennessee have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal to replace the franchise tag.

On Wednesday, Titans general manager Jon Robinson said: "I think any time a player, when you have to use the tag on them, that's something that ideally they probably don't want.

"But still, at the same time, I know that he wants to be a part of this football team and I thought it was good that they communicated back he does want to be here, and he does want to keep working on this thing.

"It wasn't something like, 'OK, well, I'll take the [tag] and I'm done, or I am just going to do whatever.' He wants to be here, and he conveyed the message to me, through his agent, that he wants to keep working on this thing and we do, too."

Henry led the NFL in rushing in 2019, finishing the regular season with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns as Tennessee made the playoffs.

The 26-year-old also played a pivotal role in their run to the AFC Championship Game, going for 182 and 195 yards respectively in upset road wins over the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.

NFL free agency rarely disappoints and this year was no different as a host of transactions gave fanbases plenty to get excited or frustrated about.

This year, the top names to hit the open market were of a greater calibre to those in a typical offseason, adding to the drama.

That free agency took place during the coronavirus pandemic meant it was the only major sporting show in town. Hopefully, it provided a welcome distraction to many.

Including trades that went down over the period, we have picked out 10 of our favourite moves and contracts, as well as those we were not so fond of.

TEN MOVES WE LOVED

Brady makes Bucs contenders

While Tom Brady, entering a season where he will be 43, can no longer carry a team like he used to, the six-time Super Bowl winner is still a top-10 quarterback. A massive upgrade on the turnover-prone Jameis Winston, Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers are postseason contenders with a support system that includes Bruce Arians' scheme, an impressive receiving corps and a defense trending in the right direction. 

Evergreen Sanders could be Saints’ missing piece

Drew Brees is coming back for another two shots at glory with the New Orleans Saints after leaving some money on the table to help the team's cap woes. The QB now has a second star wide receiver to pair with the brilliant Michael Thomas in the shape of the ageless Emmanuel Sanders, a piece they have been missing and previously looked to address with Dez Bryant. Sanders has still got it at 33, and with Thomas, the underrated TE Jared Cook and a healthy Alvin Kamara to throw to, Brees can help the WR reach the Super Bowl with a fourth team.

Chargers add Harris, and much more

The Los Angeles Chargers added an elite cornerback in Chris Harris for just $8.5m a year, boosting a defensive backfield that already contains Casey Hayward, Desmond King and Derwin James. There were other smart moves too, Bryan Bulaga boosting the offensive line, star tight end Hunter Henry retained on the franchise tag and pass-catching back Austin Ekeler signing a team-friendly four-year deal. The pieces are coming together, though they are lacking an established QB, perhaps one like…

Rivers gives Colts crucial upgrade

Philip Rivers contemplated retirement before opting to join an Indianapolis Colts team with one of the better rosters in the NFL, providing them with a big upgrade on Jacoby Brissett at the most important position. Rivers, now 38, will love playing behind a top-five offensive line that brought back Anthony Castonzo. There is little risk for the Colts - if it doesn't work out, Rivers is on a one-year deal and the bulk of a roster that has been built through the draft will still be there in 2021. The Texans' free-agency woes serve as a boost in the AFC South.

Broncos buy low on dominant Casey

At age 30, five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey still has plenty to offer, yet the Denver Broncos were able to sign him for pennies on the dollar (a seventh-round pick) to boost a defense that also added A.J. Bouye and already features Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

Big Play Slay just what Eagles needed

The Philadelphia Eagles swooped for Darius Slay, who was coming off a down year but remains an elite corner, without giving up premium draft capital. They then handed him an extension that keeps Slay under their control for four years, should they wish to retain him, as the team improved a glaring weakness in the secondary. In another impressive move, they locked up rising star Javon Hargrave for his peak years and he can be paired with the great Fletcher Cox.

Campbell smart business for win-now Ravens

Despite his age (33), Calais Campbell remains a disruptive force on the defensive line. A trade and extension means he will help the win-now Baltimore Ravens for the next two seasons, all at the cost of just a fifth-round draft pick.

Conklin fills pivotal Browns need

A dreadful Cleveland Browns offensive line hindered Baker Mayfield’s sophomore season and held back a stellar cast of playmakers. After former GM John Dorsey departed, his replacement Andrew Berry was wise to add star right tackle Jack Conklin, even at $15m per year. Could Trent Williams be next on the other side of the line?

Wait, Arizona got Hopkins for what!?

An improving and exciting Arizona Cardinals team added one of the NFL's great receivers is in his prime, DeAndre Hopkins, to pair with Larry Fitzgerald for their number one overall pick Kyler Murray. That they could do that without giving up a first-round draft selection and getting rid of a contract they no longer wanted (more on that later), was a free-agency moment few fans will forget.

Niners keep Armstead, land key draft pick

The San Francisco 49ers found a way to keep Arik Armstead after his career year, and, with significant resources already invested in their defensive line, allowed the Colts to pay DeForest Buckner an eye-watering $21m a year. While his exit will hurt, the number 13 pick in the draft was impressive compensation that, in a WR-heavy class, should secure some major help for QB Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Honourable mentions: Cory Littleton to the Las Vegas Raiders, Gerald McCoy to the Dallas Cowboys, Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, D.J. Reader to the Cincinnati Bengals.
 

THE MOVES WE DIDN'T LIKE

Texans spend big on Cobb

Randall Cobb was productive in racking up 828 yards for the Cowboys last season, but handing the slot man $27m over three years just before he turns 30 is a questionable move when there is a Hopkins-sized hole in your receiving corps and limited draft capital with which to fill it.

Texans (sorry!) take on Johnson contract

The Texans' return for losing Hopkins was pitiful and they even did the Cardinals a favour by taking on the last two years of David Johnson’s big contract. Johnson has battled injuries and not been dominant since 2016. Even if he does get close to that level again, as a running back he offers less value than a star wideout.

Dolphins overpay for Flowers

New York Giants draft bust Ereck Flowers had a decent year at guard for the Washington Redskins, but surely that improvement was not enough to justify a three-year, $30m pact in Miami.

Bears still believe in Graham

Jimmy Graham still believes he has speed and big play ability, but the Green Bay Packers disagreed as they cut him this month. The Chicago Bears promptly handed the 33-year-old a two-year, $16m deal with a no-trade clause. Recent evidence suggests this will not work out.

Jags make puzzling Schobert splash

At a time when they are stripping their roster bare and entering full rebuild mode, the Jacksonville Jaguars' decision to lock up a middle linebacker for five years and $53.75m was a puzzling one, whatever the merits of Joe Schobert may be.

Titans give Tannehill all the money

Ryan Tannehill was incredible for the Tennessee Titans after replacing Marcus Mariota, but his career to date suggests 2019 is likely to prove an outlier that will be extremely tough to repeat. The QB looked a prime candidate for a prove-it-again franchise tag but instead landed $118m over four years, as the Titans committed their immediate future to him and dropped out of the Brady sweepstakes. It could work out, but at this stage you must ask if it was all worth it just to tag Derrick Henry.

And they pay up for struggling Beasley

While it is only a one-year deal, there are likely better ways for the Titans, who let Casey leave, to spend $9.5m fully guaranteed (potentially rising to $12m) than on Vic Beasley, who the Atlanta Falcons were happy to let walk as he struggled to generate consistent pressure, despite recording a flattering eight sacks in 2019.

New York make Giant reach for Martinez

The Giants were right to move on from middle linebacker Alec Ogletree, but Blake Martinez’s career to date suggest he might not offer a huge improvement when it comes to the all-important area of pass coverage. Big Blue have agreed to pay $30.75m for three years to find out.

Fant unlikely to solve Jets' woes

A former college basketball star, George Fant may have been a good swing tackle option in free agency, but not a three-year, $30m starting option who the New York Jets hope can solve their offensive-line woes. He spent a good portion of last year playing as a sixth offensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks, and did not become an established starter on a unit that has traditionally been among the league's worst.


Dishonourable mentions: Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Jamie Collins to the Detroit Lions, Melvin Gordon to the Broncos, Jordan Howard to the Dolphins.

Marcus Mariota says he is under no illusions that he will be back-up quarterback to Derek Carr at the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 26-year-old penned a two-year highly incentivised contract with the Raiders, with his base 2020 salary said to be guaranteed at $7.5million and another $5.9m in potential add-ons.

Mariota won the coveted Heisman Trophy in 2014 but largely struggled during five seasons with the Tennessee Titans and lost his starting berth to Ryan Tannehill last season.

Speaking about his move to the Raiders, Mariota says he wanted to join a team that can bring out the best of his abilities even if for the time being he is behind Carr in the pecking order.

"First and foremost, this is Derek's team, and I understand that," Honolulu native Mariota told Hawaii-based KHON-TV.

"I understand that going in. My priority going into free agency was to be a part of a team that I felt could bring out the best in me. 

"Whatever happens, whatever comes of that, I'm ready for. But I do know, to play starting quarterback in the NFL, to be at that spot, is not an easy job to do. 

"And I think, when it comes down to it, a strong, stable supportive quarterback room makes that job a whole lot easier, and that's what we have to do. 

"And I'm going to do my best to support Derek in every possible way that I can, and along with that, I'm just going to try to become the best player that I can be and see where that takes me."

The Raiders went 7-9 last season and were officially renamed the Las Vegas Raiders in January.

Carr, 28, started 16 games for the Raiders last season, throwing for a career-high 4,054 yards, and is under contract through the 2022 campaign.

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 Las Vegas Raiders have reportedly agreed terms with former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Mariota was the second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but struggled during his five seasons with the Titans.

The 26-year-old started six times for the Titans last season before losing his spot to Ryan Tannehill.

Mariota played 63 games for Tennessee, throwing for 13,207 yards with 76 touchdowns and 44 interceptions, and NFL Network reports he has agreed to join the Raiders.

The Raiders went 7-9 last season and were officially renamed the Las Vegas Raiders in January.

Derek Carr, 28, started 16 games for the Raiders last season, throwing for a career-high 4,054 yards, and is under contract through the 2022 campaign.

Derrick Henry will be remaining in Tennessee after the Titans placed the franchise tag on the running back, according to reports.

The decision to keep the 26-year-old is hardly a surprise after he led the NFL in rushing in 2019, finishing the regular season with 1,450 yards and 16 touchdowns as Tennessee made the playoffs.

Henry also played a pivotal role in their run to the AFC Championship Game, going for 182 and 195 yards respectively in upset road wins over the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.

The Kansas City Chiefs ended their Super Bowl hopes, but the Titans have opted to retain the core of their offense.

They announced on Sunday that quarterback Ryan Tannehill has signed a four-year contract extension, a move that not only seemingly ends speculation linking them with Tom Brady but also cleared the way for them to use the tag on Henry.

While Henry is staying put, fellow running back Devonta Freeman is now a free agent after being released by the Atlanta Falcons.

Freeman recorded 1,000-yard seasons in 2015 and 2016 but has struggled since signing a five-year, $41.25million contract in 2017.

He played just two games in 2018 due to injury, while his final campaign with the Falcons saw him finish with a career-low average of 3.6 yards per carry as part of a rushing attack that struggled.

As well as Freeman, Atlanta are also cutting cornerback Desmond Trufant. The moves will save them just under $8.5m in cap space ahead of the 2020 season, which officially starts on Wednesday.

 

 

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has agreed a long-term extension with the Tennessee Titans, seemingly ending speculation the franchise may sign Tom Brady in free agency.

Tannehill was acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins in March 2019, going on to impress in his debut season in Nashville after taking over as the team's starter.

During the regular season, Tannehill threw for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions as he helped the Titans to a 9-7 record and a playoff berth.

The 31-year-old also guided Tennessee to two postseason victories, beating the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens on the road, before they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.

The Titans have been suggested as a potential landing spot for Patriots icon Brady, should he leave New England. However, a move for the six-time Super Bowl winner now appears highly unlikely with Tannehill tied up.

Having been named the NFL's comeback player of the year, Tannehill commented earlier in the offseason that he was hoping to extend his stay with the team.

"I do know I love the [Titans] organisation, I love the team, I love the guys on the team, and I love the tone coach [Mike] Vrabel sets, and the vision that he has," he said at the Pro Bowl. 

"I feel like we're headed in the right direction. I'd like for things to line up and I'd like to be back (in Tennessee) if it all gets worked out. We'll just have to see. But hopefully we can get things worked out and keep building on what we did this year."

Now he gets to stick around after signing a four-year deal worth a reported $118 million, including $62m in fully guaranteed money.

Delanie Walker and Ryan Succop have become the latest veterans to be released by the Tennessee Titans ahead of free agency.

The Titans confirmed the roster moves on Friday, a day after pass rusher Cameron Wake and running back Dion Lewis were also cut ahead of a key offseason for the team.

After reaching the AFC Championship game, big decisions need to be made on free agent quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry, with the franchise and transition tags at their disposal.

The Titans have also been linked with a pursuit of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady when free agency begins on March 18.

Tight end Walker spent seven years with the Titans, racking up 5,888 yards and 36 touchdowns in making three Pro Bowls, but an ankle injury restricted him to just eight games over the past two seasons and he was released with a failed physical designation.

"In my time here with Delanie, he has been an absolute pro on the field, in the locker room, and his production speaks for itself," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said.

"He was a leader, a captain, and a highly respected member of this team. His toughness, competitiveness, attitude and professionalism are what we expect from our players. I want to wish him all of the best moving forward and he will forever be a Titan great.

"Over the last two days I have had the difficult task of informing a number of our players they are being released.

"These aren't easy conversations, but I want to thank each of them for the significant contributions they have made to our organisation."

The Minnesota Vikings made moves as they released cornerback Xavier Rhodes and defensive tackle Linval Joseph, while vowing to "remain in communication" with both players during free agency with a view to re-signing them.

"Both Linval and Xavier have personified what it means to be a Minnesota Viking since joining our organisation, providing incredible leadership on the field, in the locker room and within the community," said GM Rick Spielman.

Tackle Cordy Glenn was released by the Cincinnati Bengals, saving the team $9.5million in cap space.

The Green Bay Packers have released Jimmy Graham, while Dion Lewis and Cameron Wake are no longer with the Tennessee Titans after the duo were let go on Thursday.

Tight end Graham spent two seasons with the Packers, posting 100 receptions for 1,191 yards with five touchdowns in 34 games, including two outings in the playoffs.

The 33-year-old, a five-time Pro Bowler, previously played for the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.

"The last two years have certainly been interesting! A lot of memories, friendships and humbling moments that I will carry with me into the next opportunity," Graham wrote on Twitter.

"Thank you for the support during our exciting run this year toward that ever so elusive ring.”

The Titans, meanwhile, confirmed the departures of running back Lewis and linebacker Wake, saving them nearly $10million in cap space ahead of free agency.

A Super Bowl winner in February 2017 with the New England Patriots, Lewis spent two seasons with Tennessee, rushing for 726 yards and posting 84 receptions for 564 yards and two touchdowns.

Wake played in nine games but finished the previous campaign on injured reserve. It was his solitary year with the Titans, having previously spent 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

Mike Vrabel insists his FaceTime chat with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady amid heightened free agency speculation was nothing more than "a conversation you would have with your girlfriends".

Discussion over Brady's future as he prepares to hit the open market had already been at fever pitch before he and team-mate Julian Edelman chatted with Vrabel as they attended a Syracuse basketball game.

Tennessee Titans head coach Vrabel led his team to the AFC Championship game in 2019, having won three Super Bowls alongside Brady during his playing days.

Those results last season - which included a playoff win over the Pats - combined with Vrabel and Brady's relationship, has seen Tennessee regularly cited as one of the most likely destinations for Brady this offseason.

The six-time Super Bowl champion would first have to make the seismic decision to halt his partnership with Pats coach with Bill Belichick, which has produced a remarkable dynasty.

And Vrabel insists his friendly conversation with Brady should not be read into in the context of NFL business.

"Well, it would be no different than a conversation you would have with your girlfriends on a weekend," he said to Good Morning Football.

"My relationship goes back to 2001 with Tom Brady - training camp in Rhode Island, at Parente's we'd go to practice and bunch of us would go out to the bar at Parente's after practice and that's where a lot of those friendships were made.

"Those friendships aren't just going to stop or not continue to grow and develop now that I'm a head coach and he's a quarterback with an expiring contract.

"Those are going to continue on well after we're done playing with his family, with my family and having the ability to meet Jules and all those players - there's a special bond that goes on in the locker room and that's not going to stop."

A fascinating offseason is in store for the Titans, with incumbent QB Ryan Tannehill and Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry both on expiring contracts and candidates for the franchise tag after enjoying spectacular campaigns.

"Derrick and Ryan, those two players were a large part of our success," added Vrabel. "They helped us get to where we were.

"It wasn't good enough [to win the Super Bowl] but we always recognise those players who have helped us get to where we are.

"Obviously, the business of football to me is that every day [general manager] Jon Robinson and I are trying to look for players that are younger and cheaper.

"The players in those seats are doing everything that they possibly can to make sure that doesn't happen."

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired after Sunday's playoff exit at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs while Marcus Mariota expressed gratitude as his career with the team nears a likely end.

The Titans' Cinderella playoff run came to an end in the AFC Championship game, Tennessee missing out on a place in the Super Bowl with a 35-24 defeat at Arrowhead Stadium.

It was a game that marked the end of a 40-year coaching career for Pees, who won Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

Mariota was selected second overall by the Titans in 2015 but has not been able to live up to the expectations that came with his lofty draft position.

He lost the starting quarterback job to Ryan Tannehill after a Week 6 defeat to the Denver Broncos and, though he did play two snaps in the postseason, he was left largely to watch from the sidelines as his replacement excelled.

Mariota is a free agent this offseason and appears destined for a change of scenery.

"The organisation took a chance on me, and I felt like I gave them everything I've got," Mariota told reporters as the Titans players cleaned out their lockers on exit day.

"Obviously, we're not sure what is going to happen. But I know when it is all said and done, I gave this organisation everything I could.

"It is never easy, but being around these guys, being around this coaching staff, they helped me along with it. I've built a lot of relationships with these guys, and it's been truly special.

"No matter what, this game will be done for all of us at some point, but the relationships will last. I am truly grateful for the time with these guys."

Travis Kelce professed his love for the NFL's "best quarterback" after Patrick Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs past the Tennessee Titans and into the Super Bowl.

Mahomes starred in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, throwing three touchdowns and rushing for a sensational 27-yard score to help the Chiefs clinch a 35-24 victory.

Kansas City will now face either the San Francisco 49ers or the Green Bay Packers in their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years and tight end Kelce was in the mood to celebrate.

The 30-year-old interrupted Mahomes' post-game interview with broadcaster CBS to boisterously praise the reigning NFL MVP.

"This is the best quarterback in the National Football League right here, baby," Kelce said.

"And he shows it every time! Humble as can be. I f****** love you!"

Mahomes went 23 of 35 for 294 passing yards as he became the first player in the team's history to record multiple passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a postseason game.

The two-time Pro Bowler called the victory a vindication of the Chiefs' willingness to succeed in any manner necessary.

"I knew going into the NFL I was going to do whatever it took to just win games," Mahomes said.

"You can see that in every single player on this team. We don't care if we win 10-7 or 35-24. We're just going to go out there and find a way to win the football game, whatever it takes."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.