Denver Broncos general manager George Paton predicted star outside linebacker Von Miller will "have a Pro Bowl-type season".

The Broncos exercised the $18million option to pick up eight-time NFL Pro Bowler Miller, 31, for 2021 earlier this week.

Miller's future was clouded after missing the whole of 2020 with an ankle injury and being the subject of a criminal investigation in the offseason, which ultimately led to no charges.

The Broncos have since committed to Miller and are expecting big things from the Super Bowl champion and MVP.

"What he's brought since he's been here, he can rush the passer," Paton said of Miller.

"The tape I watched, he still had the juice before he got injured. Pass rushers are a premium, and he's special. He's a special pass rusher.

"You look at some of the great pass rushers of all time, they're rushing the passer well into their 30s.

"Von's been working and I think he's going to have a Pro Bowl-type season."

Miller is still working his way back from the long-term ankle injury which kept him out of 2020, but Paton was adamant they always wanted to sign him.

"Von's been a priority," Paton said. "We wanted Von here since I was here. We were going to try to do that any way we could.

"Had good conversations with Joby Branion, his agent, and I've spoken with Von. We ended up just exercising the option.

"We wanted Von Miller. We wanted Von to be a Bronco."

The San Francisco 49ers have signed six-time Pro Bowler Alex Mack on a three-year deal via free agency.

Mack joins the 49ers after five NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, having originally been drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round in 2009.

The 35-year-old spent his first seven seasons in Cleveland before signing a five-year, $57.5million contract in Atlanta before the 2015-16 campaign.

"The 49ers, obviously there's a connection with Kyle Shanahan, and him as a head coach and the offense he runs, that always has been something that I know it's a system I can be really good in," Mack said on Thursday.

"It's an offense I know I can excel at, so it was a very good fit between a good team and a good spot with a good coaching staff and a place I can be a good player in."

"We are excited to add another Pro Bowl player to our offensive line," 49ers general ,anager John Lynch said.

"Throughout his career, Alex has been a model of consistency. His leadership and high character will be felt throughout our team and community."

Mack, who grew up in California, has had a decorated career, as a three-time Second-Team All Pro (2013, 2016 and 2017) and being named in the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team.

He made 90 consecutive regular-season starts until a concussion in the 2020 season ended that run.

The 49ers missed the NFL playoffs in 2020, finishing with a 6-10 record under head coach Kyle Shanahan, who remains in charge.

San Francisco have already added cornerbacks Mark Fields and Briean Boddy-Calhoun and tight end Daniel Helm this off-season.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz conceded "it wasn't fun" playing for the Philadelphia Eagles before his trade in the offseason.

The Eagles dealt NFL Super Bowl winner Wentz to the Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 first-round selection.

Wentz – who signed a lucrative four-year, $128million contract extension in 2019 – was benched in favour of rookie Jalen Hurts in Week 13.

It spelled the end of Wentz' time in Philadelphia, where the Pro Bowler was drafted by the Eagles with the second pick in 2016.

"I'm not going to sugarcoat it -- it wasn't fun," Wentz told reporters on Thursday, in his first comments since leaving the Eagles.

"It's not fun when things were going well for years and all those things. ... As a man, you have to look yourself in the mirror and learn from it and become a better man, better player.

"It wasn't fun, it was difficult, but I did everything I could to be supportive of Jalen [Hurts] and my team-mates."

The 28-year-old Wentz ranked 23rd for completions (251), 34th for passing percentage (57.4), 25th for yards (2,620) and tied for 20th for touchdowns (16), while he was equal first for interceptions thrown this past season.

Philadelphia turned to rookie Nick Sirianni after Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson was fired following a 4-11-1 season.

"I've learned you're not going to make everybody happy," Wentz said amid reports he was not a good team-mate Philadelphia. "As much as you want to, you can't. It's unfortunate people have those opinions.

"I'm going to learn from it and try to be the best team-mate I can be. If there are team-mates who I don't think I was the best team-mate, I apologise, I wish I could be better. Last year was tough for everybody."

Wentz, who reunites with Colts head coach Frank Reich – the former Eagles offensive co-ordinator – added: "A lot of things in life we can't predict. A lot of crazy circumstances where you expect things to unfold. When you're drafted in a place like Philly you have a lot of high expectations and everything, but obviously the year didn't go as planned.

"Excited for this opportunity in Indy and be a part of something special that has already been created here."

Wentz joins a Colts team who are ready to contend in the playoffs, having narrowly lost to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round in 2020 after going 11-5 in the regular season.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said: "I can't emphasise how strongly I feel that Carson is the man for the job for the Colts at this time. There's been a lot at the quarterback situation that has happened over the last three years.

"To get someone I really do believe, after looking at this game for 50 years, I really think that he can be that guy that's the centerpiece and the guy who will be around with these teams we put together for the next decade that gives the Colts a chance for greatness."

Andy Dalton opted to join the Chicago Bears after receiving assurances he will be the team's new starting quarterback.  

Dalton has signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $10million with Chicago, who had been linked with a blockbuster trade for Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson during the offseason.  

Nick Foles is already at the Bears, though Mitchell Trubisky's time with the franchise has come to an end after he joined the Buffalo Bills in free agency.  

"They told me I was the starter," Dalton said during his introductory news conference on Thursday. "That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come here.   

"Every conversation I've had has been that, so that's the assurance that I've gotten.   

"I had several options and I felt like this was the best fit for me. When you hear that you're going to be the starter, that's an enticing pitch."

Dalton spent the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys, initially serving as back-up to Dak Prescott.  

However, he was thrust into a starting role when Prescott suffered a season-ending leg injury against the New York Giants in Week 5.  

Dalton went on to throw for 2,169 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 11 games – his completion percentage of 64.9 just above a career number of 62.2. He did miss time, though, due to a concussion and also contracting coronavirus.  

He was selected with the 35th pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 and, during his nine seasons there, he threw for 33,763 yards, putting him second on the team's all-time list for passers.  

Now the three-time Pro Bowler will aim to solve a problematic position for the Bears, who traded up to draft Trubisky second overall in 2017, ahead of both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.  

Chicago finished the 2020 campaign with an 8-8 record, good enough for second spot in the NFC North and a playoff berth. However, they were beaten 21-9 by the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round.  

"This was definitely the place I wanted to be," Dalton said of his new home. "I'm glad this whole thing worked out.  

"At this point in my career, you want to join a team that is competitive, that is doing things the right way, is trending in the right direction, and to get a chance to come in and start for a team like this, that's a great opportunity for me and for my future and my career and everything."

The Buffalo Bills have announced the signing of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on a one-year deal.  

Trubisky arrives in Buffalo after four years with the Chicago Bears, who selected him with the second overall pick in the 2017 draft.  

The 26-year-old was the first quarterback taken that year, the Bears trading up one spot to grab Trubisky ahead of fellow prospects Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, who went 10th and 12th respectively.  

His rookie season saw him finish with a 4-8 record after claiming the starting role from Mike Glennon, while the following year he made the Pro Bowl after Chicago won the AFC North, though they lost in the Wild Card round to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

However, Trubisky struggled to build on a campaign where he threw for a career-high 3,223 yards, with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Last season he was benched in Week 3 in favour of Nick Foles, only to reclaim the job by Week 12.

Overall, Trubisky started in nine games in 2020, completing 199 of his 297 pass attempts for 2,055 yards. He had a completion percentage of 67 per cent as he threw for 16 scores and eight interceptions. 

The move to the Bills will see him serve as back-up to starter Josh Allen, who steered the franchise to the AFC Championship Game in his third season in the league. 

Drew Brees said he could have kept playing in the NFL, but "it was time" to retire after ending his illustrious career last week.

After 20 seasons and numerous passing records, New Orleans Saints quarterback Brees announced his retirement on Sunday.

The 42-year-old was crowned Super Bowl MVP after leading the Saints to glory in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.

Brees reflected on his decision to retire on Wednesday, the 13-time Pro Bowler telling reporters: "I felt that it was time.

"Could I keep playing? Yeah, I'm sure I could. But I'm also looking at my kids, my family, the age of my kids.

"And just gauging all of those things, there's a balance there. And I also just felt like I would just feel it -- I would feel when it was time."

Brees sits as the all-time leader with 80,358 passing yards, while he bowed out of the game after 10,551 passing attempts (of which he completed 67.7 per cent), 571 touchdowns throws and 172 wins.

He had five seasons with over 5,000 passing yards, a feat no other quarterback has accomplished more than once. Not Tom Brady, not Peyton Manning, not Patrick Mahomes.

His total of 5,476 yards in 2011 saw him break Dan Marino's longstanding NFL record for a single campaign, though Manning squeezed above him by one solitary yard to take top spot on the all-time list two years later. 

Brees has the record for most seasons with at least 30 touchdown passes per year (10). There were once seven in a single game in 2015, against the New York Giants, a feat only eight players have ever achieved in the league's history. 

No quarterback has had more career games with at least three scores through the air than his total of 97. Same goes for four or more (37). And five (11), too.  

Brees' 54-game stretch with at least one touchdown pass from 2009 to 2012 is also an NFL record, while there were twice nine-game streaks where he posted 300 or more passing yards in each outing. 

"That's two-thirds of my life," Brees said after being introduced as a new analyst for NBC midweek. "Of course it's a difficult decision. I understand why guys have such a hard time with the transition from football.

"You can't replicate the locker room, and you can't replicate running out of the tunnel.

"There's just moments and feelings and emotions that are really hard to replicate after you've been a professional football player."

Brees added: "I've always said as long as I could play the game at a high level, I'm having fun doing it and able to stay healthy, then this is something I'll do forever.

"Obviously, I've had some injuries the last two years that have been frustrating -- both of them kind of freak things. [But] I don't think they were injuries that were saying I was getting old.

"Ever since the 2017 season, I have truly approached each season like it could be my last. ... What I started to do was start enjoying the little things maybe more. Smell the roses, so to speak, and stay in the moment.

"So if something happened like an injury and I never played again, I'd know I poured everything into it. I think that served me well. I think I played some of my best football over that time."

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel is expected to sign with the Washington Football Team.

According to ESPN and NFL Network on Wednesday, Samuel is signing a three-year contract worth $34.5million in Washington.

Samuel will reunite with Washington head coach Ron Rivera, who coached the 24-year-old during his first three seasons in Carolina.

A second-round draft pick in 2017, Samuel had a career-best 77 catches for 851 yards and 41 rushes for 200 yards last season as the Panthers (5-11) missed the playoffs.

In 53 career games Samuel has 185 receptions for 2,087 yards and 14 touchdown receptions and 478 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.

Washington (7-9) topped the NFC East in 2020, but lost to eventual Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers n the Wild Card Round.

A.J. Green has agreed to join the Arizona Cardinals, ending a 10-year stay with the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Wide receiver Green, 32, has made it to seven Pro Bowls since the Bengals selected him at number four overall in 2011. 

According to widespread reports, he is poised to join the Cardinals on a one-year deal worth up to $8.5million. 

Green has been one of the NFL's top wide receivers over the course of his career and is second in Bengals history for catches (649), receiving yards (9,430) and receiving touchdowns (65), behind only Chad Johnson in all categories. 

His threat has diminished somewhat of late, though, with his last Pro Bowl appearance coming in 2017.

Green had 47 catches for 523 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, playing in every game after missing the entire 2019 campaign through a serious ankle injury. 

The Cardinals are hoping some key veteran additions to join promising young quarterback Kyler Murray can power them to a Super Bowl run. 

Green joins a receiving corps that contains five-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins and, if he opts to continue playing, Larry Fitzgerald. 

They also signed three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt on a two-year, $28m pact following his Houston Texans departure. 

After a promising start, the Cardinals slowed to finish last season at 8-8 and have not had a winning record at the end of a campaign since reaching the NFC Championship Game in 2015. 

Trent Williams has agreed an enormous six-year, $138million deal to stay with the San Francisco 49ers.

In a move confirmed by his agent to NFL Network, Williams has become the highest-paid offensive lineman in the league's history.

The contract includes $55m in fully guaranteed money and a $30m signing bonus, tying the 32-year-old to the Niners through the 2026 season.

Williams produced a fantastic season after joining San Francisco in 2020, 10 years with Washington having ended with a public fallout in 2019.

He was a first-team All-Pro selection and was named to his eighth Pro Bowl, justifying the Niners' decision to trade third and fifth-round draft picks for him.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears reportedly pursued Williams heavily once free agency opened.

But the tackle was always keen to stay with the Niners and they have found a way to keep him, albeit breaking the bank to do so.

The 49ers are also poised to confirm the signing of center Alex Mack, who was most recently with the Atlanta Falcons, in another move on the offensive line.

The Chicago Bears have signed quarterback Andy Dalton, potentially providing him the chance to start under center in 2021.

According to multiple reports, Dalton will join the Bears on a contract worth $10million, with the chance to earn another $3m in incentives.

Chicago had reportedly made a "very aggressive pursuit" of Russell Wilson, who has been the subject of trade talk, but saw their efforts rebuffed by the Seattle Seahawks.

Dalton presents something of an uninspiring alternative. The three-time Pro Bowler was backup to Dak Prescott with the Dallas Cowboys last year but ended up starting nine games after Prescott's season-ending ankle injury.

He completed 64.9 per cent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions and enters a quarterback room featuring former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, with 2017 second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky allowed to hit the open market after failing to live up to expectations.

Trubisky and Foles alternated at starting quarterback last season, each providing unconvincing performances but doing enough between them to help the Bears sneak into the playoffs, where they suffered a dour Wild Card Round loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Beyond Wilson, the other elite quarterback whose name has been continually mentioned in relation to a trade is Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans.

And the Texans landed some insurance in case the disgruntled star gets his trade wish granted, signing journeyman Tyrod Taylor to a one-year deal.

The Miami Dolphins added a backup to Tua Tagovailoa, bringing in Jacoby Brissett on a one-year deal that sees him reunite with head coach Brian Flores, who was on the New England Patriots' staff when Brissett was there in 2016.

As it turns out, Leonard Williams will be with the New York Giants for more than just the 2021 season. 

A week after the Giants placed the franchise tag on Williams, the two sides agreed to a three-year, $63 million contract on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The deal reportedly includes $45m fully guaranteed. 

A long-term deal was reportedly being worked on between the two sides after the Giants placed the non-exclusive tag on him last Tuesday. 

New York also placed the tag on him prior to the 2020 season and Williams played his way into a big pay day. The durable defensive tackle, who has missed just one game in his six-year career, ranked seventh in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, third with 30 quarterback hits and tied for sixth with 14 tackles for loss. 

The 2020 season marked Williams' first full season with the Giants after he was traded from the Jets midway through the 2019 season for a third and a fifth-round draft pick. 

Williams was the sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft by the Jets and it looked an astute selection after he made the Pro Bowl in his second season with seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

The next two seasons, however, Williams was a non-factor, finishing with seven sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2017 and 2018 combined. And after seven games without a sack and two tackles for loss in 2019, he was shipped to MetLife Stadium's other home tenant. 

He flourished last season in leading one of the NFL's most improved defenses while racking up the most sacks by a Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul had 12.5 in 2014. 

New York allowed an average of 22.3 points last season after giving up an average of 28.2 in 2019, and that decrease of 5.9 fewer points allowed per game was tied with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the third-best improvement in the league. 

The Giants went 6-10 last season but narrowly missed making the playoffs while playing in the dreadful NFC East won by the 7-9 Washington Football Team. 

They have not made the playoffs since 2016, and are without a playoff win since beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl after the 2011 season. 

Shaquill Griffin has opted to leave the Seattle Seahawks and join the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency.

The cornerback, who was named to the Pro Bowl in 2019, has agreed a three-year contract worth at least $40 million with $29m guaranteed with the Jags, according to NFL Network.

Griffin can earn up to $45m based on incentives.

Seattle were keen to keep Griffin but did not apply the franchise tag and have been beaten to his signature by the Jags, who entered free agency with one of the league's best salary cap situations.

Griffin, 25, has only played the full 16 games once in his first four seasons and was not at his best in 2020 but has plenty of impressive play on tape and was among the top available corners.

He will be paired with their first-round pick from last season, C.J. Henderson, to form a promising young cornerback duo in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have also agreed a two-year deal with Tyson Alualu after the veteran defensive tackle enjoyed a career year with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They are hoping to improve a miserable defense that was 27th in net passing yards allowed per game (264), 30th against the run (153 YPG) and 31st in opposition yards per play (6.26) during 2020.

With Urban Meyer in as head coach and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence – billed as a generational talent – set to be picked at number one overall in the NFL Draft, the Jags could become competitive in a hurry after their 1-15 campaign.

Drew Brees deserves more recognition for his NFL career accomplishments, says his former New Orleans Saints team-mate Jermon Bushrod.

The 42-year-old quarterback has announced his retirement after 20 seasons in the pro game, 15 of which were with the Saints.

Brees made the Saints perennial contenders and also had a huge impact off the field, credited with helping the city to recover after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Two-time Pro Bowler Bushrod won a Super Bowl with Brees at the end of the 2009 season as part of an initial six-year run on the Saints offensive line.

He also spent the last season of his NFL career protecting Brees in 2018, when the Saints went 13-3 before ultimately falling to a controversial NFC Championship Game defeat to the Rams.

Bushrod believes Brees deserves to be remembered among the very best, despite having frustratingly ended his career with just one Super Bowl title.

"It is frustrating that he doesn't get the recognition that he deserves," Bushrod said to Stats Perform News.

"You know a lot of people tend to leave him out of their top 10 or top five list and to me [he should be in].

"Maybe I'm a little biased because I had the best of him. I put myself on the line for him and I would do it again if the situation ever came up.

"He is a Super Bowl MVP, he got us to win the Super Bowl, he has broken so many records.

"Those memories last, he is going to be a Hall of Famer and the career he has had is kind of going to be forever etched in stone."

Brees extended his career chasing a second Lombardi Trophy that ultimately did not arrive and his final Super Bowl tally of one remains a regret to those associated with the Saints.

Bushrod, who also played with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears, added: "It is frustrating, I'll be honest, because I was a part of the one Super Bowl with him but we should have had [more]. 

"We had two more opportunities while I was on the team [in my first run]. We had opportunities in the 2011 and 2012 season.

"And we had opportunity in the no call game [against the Rams in 2018], and they [the Saints] had an opportunity in the year or so before that.

"But Drew Brees was a huge part of the reason that we [won the Super Bowl] because when you have a guy like that who can march the ball up and down the field, everybody else just has to do their part. 

"Just do your part and don't make this game any harder than it really should be because we had this gunslinger back here who is extremely accurate and could get the ball all over the field. 

"It took pressure off of our defense. Our defense could take more chances, our special teams were great too because they put us in position.

"When you have Drew and you had that type of play caller in Sean Payton, if you give us a short field or you give us an extra possession we would light the scoreboard up and that was really cool to see."

While the Saints still went 9-3 in regular season games he played, Brees struggled to match his previous heights in 2020 and missed four games due to injury, so his retirement was widely expected.

Bushrod added: "Everyone kind of figured it was coming, based on his last year and the injuries that he was going through, to deal with something like that throughout the whole season.

"Being a guy who's 42 years old, who really pours a lot into this game, everybody kind of expected it.

"But I was sitting in my car when I got the alert on my phone and it took me back for a second that, 'Man, this guy is really done, but he had such an impact, not just on myself but on that city as well'.

"I just think of professionalism at its highest level [with Brees]. The amount of focus, the amount of detail, the amount of passion. His competitive spirit would pour out every day.

"You need to get the job done at a higher level because you see what this individual is doing, he knows what every single player on the offense is doing and it is pretty special to see.

"To be hand in hand, locked on with him and inside that huddle for seven out of my 12 years was truly a tremendous experience.

"He's done so much by investing millions of dollars from his philanthropic efforts but he's also created jobs in the city of New Orleans, he's leant a helping hand, in helping building homes and playgrounds. 

"What he did on the field was truly tremendous, but what he's done off the field is truly legendary. God gives you these platforms and you've got to be able to help and inspire the next person - he's done that."

Rob Gronkowski will head back to Tampa Bay in 2021 as NFL champions the Buccaneers continue to reassemble their Super Bowl-winning team.

Five-time Pro Bowler Gronkowski returned to the NFL last season, a year on from his retirement with the New England Patriots.

The tight end was traded to the Bucs, joining fellow Pats great Tom Brady for a title challenge.

As so often in their time together in New England, the season ended in spectacular fashion for Gronkowski and Brady as they won the Super Bowl in their new home stadium in Tampa.

Gronkowski had been playing on a one-year, $10million contract, though, making him a free agent this offseason.

Monday saw negotiations start between teams and potential signings, and Gronkowski told The Ringer: "You just never know what may happen."

The four-time champion added he wanted "just to see what's out there".

But the 31-year-old did not take long to make his decision as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Drew Rosenhaus, the player's agent, confirmed his return to the Bucs.

Gronkowski will play under the same terms again, signing for another season for $10m.

The former Patriot started all 16 regular-season games in 2020, although he was targeted only 77 times. He had 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns.

Gronkowski saved his best display for Super Bowl LV, however, with six receptions for 67 yards and two TDs in the dominant 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Of his 14 postseason scores – all of which have come from Brady passes, a playoff record – five have now come in Super Bowls.

The Bucs will hope to return to the big game next year after bringing back Gronkowski, along with fellow free agent Shaq Barrett, another key performer in the defeat of the Chiefs.

Brady last week extended his contract through 2022, meanwhile, as Tampa put the franchise tag on Chris Godwin.

The Kansas City Chiefs are signing Joe Thuney on a five-year, $80million deal, giving Patrick Mahomes some help on the offensive line.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Monday, the first day of negotiating with free agents, the Chiefs were signing the sixth-year guard.

Thuney spent his first five seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots, winning two Super Bowls.

The 28-year-old played all 90 regular season and playoff games during his time in New England and became the first player to start three Super Bowls in his first three years in the league.

Thuney has allowed just 1.5 sacks over the past three campaigns, continuing to protect Cam Newton - Tom Brady's replacement - last year when playing on the franchise tag.

That protection will be welcomed in Kansas City, where the Chiefs are attempting to build another challenge after seeing their title defence ended by Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the big game.

Mahomes has established himself as the NFL's best quarterback but was exposed by the Bucs.

The Kansas City superstar was sacked three times and failed to throw a touchdown as he went 26-for-49 for two interceptions and a 52.3 passer rating.

Shaq Barrett, another of Monday's big free agent signings, returning to Tampa, had 13 pressures against Mahomes.

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