The Denver Broncos continued their splurge on the opening day of free agency by signing versatile defensive lineman Zach Allen to a three-year, $45.75million deal on Monday.

Allen, 25, was a third-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, and after barely playing as a rookie the former Boston College student racked up 11.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss over the past three seasons.

He spent all four of his seasons in Arizona playing for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who was hired this offseason to take over in charge of the Broncos' defense.

Joseph clearly liked the development he saw from the shifty six-foot-four bruiser, having deployed him in multiple different roles across the Cardinals' defensive line.

He is coming off a season where he set career-highs in sacks (5.5), tackles for loss (10), pass deflections (eight) and quarterback hits (20), despite playing in fewer games (13) than his previous record-setting season (15 games in 2021).

Allen is the latest in a string of aggressive moves from the Broncos to open free agency, having also signed offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey (five years, $87.5m) and Ben Powers (four years, $52m), as well as linebacker Alex Singleton (three years, $18m) and backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham (two years, $10m).

Robbie Anderson’s time with the Arizona Cardinals turned out to be very unproductive and extremely short.

The Cardinals released the wide receiver on Wednesday after he appeared in just 10 games following his acquisition from the Carolina Panthers in October.

By cutting the seven-year pro, Arizona will save $12 million in salary cap space for 2023. Anderson was due $8.8 million in salary, $200,000 in workout bonuses and a roster bonus of $3 million.

The Cardinals traded a 2024 sixth-round draft pick and a 2025 seventh-round pick to Carolina in exchange for Anderson, who had been sent to the locker room mid-game by Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks in his final game with the team.

In need of a healthy receiver after an injury to Marquise Brown, the Cardinals took a chance on Anderson, but he was slow to pick up the offense and finished with just seven catches for 76 yards in 10 games.

Anderson, who recently changed his legal name to Chosen Robbie Anderson, spent his first four seasons with the New York Jets. He set career highs with 95 receptions for 1,096 yards in 2020 in his first season with the Panthers but dropped to 53 catches and 519 yards the following season.

The Arizona Cardinals have made Nick Rallis the youngest coordinator in the NFL, hiring him to run their defense at the age of 29.

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported the Cardinals have appointed Rallis as their defensive coordinator in a move that sees him follow Jonathan Gannon to Arizona.

Gannon, the former Eagles defensive coordinator, was hired as head coach of the Cardinals days after Philadelphia lost Super Bowl LVII 38-35 to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona's State Farm Stadium.

It continues a rapid ascent for Rallis, who became the youngest position coach in the NFL when he was hired to coach the Eagles' linebackers in 2021.

Prior to that, he served as a defensive quality control and assistant linebackers coach for the Minnesota Vikings. Rallis went into coaching following a playing career at the University of Minnesota, getting his start as a quality control coach at Wake Forest.

He will be tasked with improving a Cardinals defense that was 22nd in the NFL by yards per play allowed in 2022 as Arizona slumped to a 4-13 record.

Arizona tight end Maxx Williams was college team-mates with Rallis. He wrote on Twitter: "So pumped to see this!!!"


The Arizona Cardinals have hired Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon to be their head coach.

Gannon makes the move to Arizona two days after the Eagles lost the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs 38-35 at State Farm Stadium, home of the Cardinals.

The deal, which was announced on Tuesday, is for five years. Forty-year-old Gannon becomes Arizona’s fourth coach in seven years and replaces Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired after the team ended the 2022 season on a seven-game losing streak to finish 4-13.

"I am super excited about the opportunity," Gannon said in a statement. "I look forward to getting my hands on the players and putting a winning product on the field."

Serving as the Eagles' defensive coordinator in the past two seasons, Gannon helped Philadelphia to an NFC title behind a relentless defence.

This past season, the Eagles ranked second in total defence (301.5 yards per game) and led the NFL with 70 sacks – 15 more than the next-closest team.

The defense registered eight more sacks while yielding just 14 total points in their first two playoff wins before struggling to stop the high-powered Chiefs in the Super Bowl, surrendering 24 second-half points in blowing a 10-point halftime lead while failing to sack Patrick Mahomes.

Gannon now takes over a Cardinals team in transition with approximately 30 unrestricted free agents.

With his hiring, Gannon became the second Philadelphia coordinator to be named a head coach within hours after offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was hired by the Indianapolis Colts earlier on Tuesday.

Wide receiver A.J. Green has decided to step away from the NFL after 12 years.

The 34-year-old took to social media to announce the decision to retire on Monday.

"Thank you to all who have supported, encouraged and inspired me throughout my career," he wrote on Twitter. "Special thank you to the University of Georgia, Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals for the opportunity to pursue my dreams.

"I've stayed true to the game and it owes me nothing. Be blessed.. Love y'all! The next chapter begins."

Green was drafted fourth overall in 2011 by the Bengals and earned his first of seven consecutive Pro Bowl selections that season after leading the team with 65 receptions, 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns.

His best season came in 2013, when he had career highs of 98 receptions for 1,426 yards and 11 TDs.

After 10 seasons with the Bengals, Green signed as a free agent with Arizona, where he spent the final two seasons.

He ranks second all-time in Cincinnati franchise history in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns and ends his career with 727 receptions for 10,514 yards and 70 touchdowns in 158 games.

Monti Ossenfort was introduced as the Arizona Cardinals' new general manager on Tuesday as the team prepare to hire a new head coach.

Ossenfort, previously the Tennessee Titans' director of player personnel and before that a New England Patriots employee in various roles, was appointed on Monday.

Predecessor Steve Keim had stepped away from the position last week after initially taking an indefinite, health-related leave of absence in December.

The Cardinals still need a coach, however, as the announcement of Keim's departure was twinned with the firing of Kliff Kingsbury.

That topic was unsurprisingly prominent as Ossenfort met the media alongside Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill.

Bidwill confirmed the team had interviewed seven GM candidates before settling on Ossenfort as the man to take them forward as they turn their focus to the coaching vacancy.

"It became clear Monti was going to be the best fit for us, with his well-defined vision of turning this organisation around on the field and assisting us in identifying our new head coach, which we will embark on in a matter of days," Bidwill said.

The Cardinals were a miserable 4-13 this year, with Kingsbury unable to even oversee the sort of strong starts that had raised hopes in previous ultimately underwhelming seasons.

Another key issue centred around quarterback Kyler Murray, whose relationship with Kingsbury reportedly deteriorated in 2022.

Ossenfort's message on the sorts of players he wants to see in Arizona colours was clear.

He promised a "unified message across the general manager, the head coach and ownership" and identified the profiles of the playing personnel as key.

"We are going to look for the right type of players," Ossenfort said. "Ego will not be tolerated in this organisation.

"We are going to look for focused, driven people who are willing to put the team first at every step of the way."

Kliff Kingsbury has paid the price for a dismal 2022 Arizona Cardinals season.

Kingsbury was fired on Monday after the Cardinals ended the campaign with a 38-13 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers that consigned them to a 4-13 record.

The head coach had entered 2022 with his future seemingly secure, agreeing a contract extension that would keep him in Arizona through the 2027 season.

That deal came on the back of an 11-6 campaign in 2021 as the Cardinals made the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

But even in that promising season, the Cards faded after a 7-0 start, losing in the Wild Card round to NFC West rivals and eventual Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams.

Late-season struggles were a consistent theme throughout Kingsbury's four-year tenure, which coincided with first overall pick Kyler Murray's arrival in Arizona.

Kingsbury had to deal with a series of injuries in 2022, including to quarterback Murray, but the team were never in playoff contention and lost their final seven games.

The franchise will now be looking for a new coach and also a general manager.

Steve Keim, whose contract matched Kingsbury's in length, had been in the position since 2013 but took an indefinite, health-related leave of absence last month.

He will not be returning, as the Cardinals confirmed his departure alongside Kingsbury's.

"We have announced that head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been relieved of his duties," a statement from the franchise read. "In addition, general manager Steve Keim has decided to step away from his position in order to focus on his health.

"The team wishes them well and thanks both of them for their contributions."

J.J. Watt feels he could not have had a better farewell from the NFL after his final game for the Arizona Cardinals.

The defensive end registered two sacks in his final career appearance, a 38-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, receiving a standing ovation when he was removed from the action in the final two minutes of the game.

An official stood between the 49ers center and quarterback Josh Johnson, holding off play to allow Watt to have his moment, which continued the tributes for the 33-year-old.

In a team meeting on Saturday, Arizona defensive line coach Matt Burke played a six-minute video tribute to the three-time Defensive Player of the Year – which included messages from his family, alongside the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

J.J's youngest brother, T.J., was the first to appear in the video and sparked tears, before both he and Derek Watt made significant contributions in the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-ending win over the Cleveland Browns.

"I absolutely lost it. I was bawling like a baby, and I didn't stop until long into the night," he told reporters.

"I mean, the highlight videos are great, all the plays are cool, but when you hear from the people in your life that are important, from my family, from my friends, and then you hear from people you have the utmost respect for, team-mates, coaches, opponents, it hit me in a different way that I never expected.

"There's no way to explain what it feels like to anybody because the love that I have for them, the pride that I have for them.

"How much fun I have watching them, and then they walk in wearing my jerseys and T.J. gets whatever he had [a half-sack], Derek scores a touchdown.

"I mean, I wanted to win today, but for our family, I couldn't ask for a better send-off.

"I want to thank the 49ers, that was very classy, and their fans, they didn't have to do that. I appreciate them doing that, that was better than I could have expected certainly from that standpoint.

"[I] had my wife and son here and my parents here, I'm thankful and grateful, and I'll always remember it that's for sure."

The NFL has been in shock this week, following the terrible scenes in Monday's game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills.

Damar Hamlin's cardiac arrest on the field has sent shockwaves through the sport, though it appears the 24-year-old is making progress in his recovery.

While Hamlin's health remains the league's priority over the rescheduling of that game from Week 17, there is also focus on the final round of fixtures.

There's plenty still be decided in Week 18, and Stats Perform has used Opta data to preview some of the key matchups.

SATURDAY (all times EST)

Chiefs (13-3) at Raiders (6-10) - 4:30pm

With the Bills and the Bengals having yet to finish the game that was rightly suspended on Monday, the AFC picture is not entirely clear. As things stand, a Kansas City Chiefs win in Las Vegas would mean they remain in with a chance of claiming the top seed, pending a decision on the Bengals-Bills game and the outcome of Buffalo's Week 18 clash against the New England Patriots.

The Chiefs have scored 28 or more points in nine consecutive games against the Raiders. The only longer streak of such games against a single opponent in NFL history is 10 by the Los Angeles Rams against the Green Bay Packers, and that came way back in 1949 to 1953. 

Jerick McKinnon caught two touchdowns in Kansas City's 27-24 win over the Denver Broncos and has seven touchdown catches in the Chiefs' last five games. That is the most receiving touchdowns by a running back over a span of five team games in the Super Bowl era. 

The Chiefs have scored 264 points on the road this season, averaging 33.0 points per game. If they hit their average on Saturday, they will finish with the third-most road points in a single season in NFL history, behind only the 2007 New England Patriots (314) and their own effort in 2018 (306).

Patrick Mahomes has 5,000 passing yards (5,048) and 250 rushing yards (329) in a single season for the second time in his career, also doing so in 2018.

Titans (7-9) at Jaguars (8-8) - 8:15pm

It will be winner-take-all in the AFC South when the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans face off. The victor will clinch the division and become the fourth seed in the playoffs. While Jacksonville would still be able to make the postseason via a wild card should they lose, Tennessee must win if they are to avoid elimination.

The Jaguars are looking to sweep the season series with the Titans for the first time since 2005. The only other NFL teams that have gone that long since they last swept a current divisional opponent are the Cleveland Browns, who last swept the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1988, and New York Jets, who last swept the Patriots in 2000 (the Browns also have a chance to end their drought this week).

Jacksonville could become the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs immediately following back-to-back 14-loss seasons.

Meanwhile, the Titans are looking to avoid joining the 1994 Eagles as the only teams in league history to have at least seven wins before ending the season on a seven-game game losing streak.


Giants (9-6-1) at Eagles (13-3) - 4:25pm

The Philadelphia Eagles have been the team to beat in the NFC all season, yet after successive defeats in the absence of Jalen Hurts, they now need a win to clinch the top seed.

Should they lose to the New York Giants, both the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers will have to suffer defeats in order for the Eagles to be guaranteed home advantage in the playoffs.

The omens are good for the Eagles, who have won eight straight home games against the Giants, tied for the second-longest home win streak against a single opponent in team history. It trails only their active 10-game home win streak against the Steelers that started in 1966. 

A win against the Eagles would give the Giants 10 wins after having just four last season. It would be the first time New York earned double-digit wins in a season after having four or fewer wins since doing so in 1933 (11 wins after a 4-6 record in 1932).

Lions (8-8) @ Packers (8-8) - 8.20pm

Given the NFC East will get two of the conference's three wild cards, matters are relatively simple for the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. A Packers victory sends them through to the playoffs, while Detroit need to win and hope the Los Angeles Rams defeat the Seattle Seahawks.

The Packers are coming off a 41-17 win over the Vikings in which they had four takeaways and no giveaways. Green Bay are now 50-0-1 in the Super Bowl era (including playoffs) with a turnover margin of +4 or better in a game.

Green Bay's record at home against the Lions is 61-27-4, the most home wins by any team against a single opponent.

With another win, Aaron Rodgers would be the first QB in NFL history to have two seasons where his team was multiple games under .500 immediately before going on a five-or-greater game winning streak to end the regular season. 

But the Lions have scored at least 20 points while throwing no interceptions in eight straight games, tied for the longest streak in NFL history (regular season) with the 2005 Broncos, 2010 Patriots and 2018-19 Ravens.


New England will clinch a playoff spot should they defeat the Bills, who are of course recovering from that incident involving Hamlin. The Bills have won their last two games against the Patriots and are looking for three straight wins in the series for the first time since 1999-2000.

The Miami Dolphins have lost five in a row but can make the playoffs should they beat the Jets. The matchup is perfectly balanced all-time at 56 wins apiece with one tie entering this game. 

A run of five wins from six games has put the Steelers in playoff contention. They will have to beat the Browns and need results elsewhere go their way. Cleveland won against the Steelers in Week 3 this season. The Browns have not won multiple games against Pittsburgh in a season since the 1988 season.

The 49ers can still claim the top seed in the NFC by beating the Arizona Cardinals. San Francisco beat Las Vegas in Week 17, 37-34, despite trailing by 10 points in the third quarter. It was the Niners' second-largest comeback victory in the second half under Kyle Shanahan.

It has been a terrible season for the Rams (5-11), but they are 7-3 in their last 10 games against Seattle. The Seahawks got a 27-23 win in Inglewood in Week 13, the closest game between these teams since a 30-29 Seahawks win in Week 5, 2019. 

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has undergone surgery to repair the torn ACL in his right knee, a procedure that both he and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said went smoothly.

Murray made the announcement on Wednesday via social media while posting a picture of himself smiling in a hospital bed.

"ACL surgery was successful, thank you for all the love and prayers," Murray wrote. "I appreciate the support and positivity more than I can express. I'll be back."

Murray will now begin the process of rehabbing his knee in the hope of being ready for the start of the 2023 season, which is not a certainty considering the timing of the surgery. The two-time Pro Bowler was injured in Arizona's Week 14 loss to the New England Patriots on December 12. 

Kingsbury told reporters on Wednesday the Cardinals are planning as if Murray will not be cleared in time for the 2023 opener, which he said went into the decision to hold out back-up quarterback Colt McCoy for Sunday's finale against NFC West champions the San Francisco 49ers.

McCoy had missed Arizona's previous two games with a concussion he sustained at the Denver Broncos on December 18.

Kingsbury said David Blough will make a second straight start at quarterback for Sunday's contest.

"It was tough," Kingsbury said about the decision to shut McCoy down. "He wanted to play, and it's just in our situation with probably not having Kyler start the year, it's the right thing to do."

Blough, signed off the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad following Murray's injury, completed 24 of 40 passes for 222 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions at Atlanta last week, a 20-19 Cardinals defeat that extended their losing streak to six games. 

Arizona enter Sunday's finale with a 4-12 record one year after making the playoffs with an 11-6 mark. Murray himself had a down year, as the former Heisman Trophy winner's passer rating fell from 100.6 in 2021 to 87.2 this season, and his 6.1 yards per pass attempt is the lowest of 33 qualifying quarterbacks.

"I think it can be kind of a reset for him," Kingsbury said of Murray’s offseason rehab. "We know we had our struggles this year offensively and we feel like we can play at a much higher level, and I think he understands that he can build himself back better and attack this thing. And I think that's how he's viewing it.

"It's kind of a reset and where he takes it now, it's kind of how what’s going to define his career."

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will miss the New Year's Day trip to face the Atlanta Falcons due to a knee injury.

Hopkins had been listed as questionable for the Week 17 encounter on Sunday and he was ruled out on New Year's Eve after his injury flared up this week.

He will sit out a seventh game of the season for a Cardinals side that are out of playoff contention.

Hopkins missed the opening six games of the year due to a suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Andre Baccellia has been promoted from Arizona's practice squad in the absence of Hopkins.

The Cardinals confirmed on Friday that David Blough will be the starting quarterback against the Falcons.


The Arizona Cardinals will have their fourth starting quarterback this season after coach Kliff Kingsbury announced that David Blough will get the nod for Sunday's game at Atlanta.

Blough, signed off the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad on December 14, will fill in for a still-injured Colt McCoy.

McCoy had cleared the NFL's concussion protocol earlier this week but reported a recurrence of symptoms following Thursday's practice.

Kingsbury told reporters on Friday that McCoy, who inherited the starting job after Kyler Murray tore his ACL in Week 14, will likely be held out of Arizona's final game of the season at San Francisco as well.

McCoy also missed the Cardinals' 19-16 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Christmas Day. Trace McSorley made his first NFL start and threw for 217 yards with one interception while completing 24 of 45 passes.

Kingsbury said the Cardinals want to get a further look at Blough, a five-game starter for the Detroit Lions in 2019, and then will decide between his options as to who will start on Week 18.

"We'll give him a chance, evaluate him, and see how that goes," Kingsbury said of Blough.

"The last week, we'll see where we're at and name a starter then.

"[Trace] is a competitor, but he understands the situation we are in and where we are at. There is some evaluation that needs to be done at this point."

Blough went 0-5 when pressed into duty as a rookie for the Lions. The 27-year-old threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut on Thanksgiving Day of 2019, but completed just 52.9 per cent of his passes with five interceptions over his four subsequent starts.

He will be taking the field on Sunday for a Cardinals team that has lost five straight games and sits last in the NFC West at 4-11, one year after finishing 11-6 and reaching the playoffs. 

J.J. Watt is still going out at the top of the game even if it is "bittersweet" that he will end his NFL career without a Super Bowl title.

That is the view of Carolina Panthers defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, who believes Watt has been a long-time inspiration to many younger players.

Arizona Cardinals pass-rusher Watt announced his impending NFL retirement on Monday.

He posted on Twitter that Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the first NFL game his son attended but also his final home game before retiring after the 2022 season.

Already eliminated from the playoffs, the Cardinals play their final two games on the road – at the Atlanta Falcons this week and at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 18.

"If it is the end, it is kind of bittersweet," Gross-Matos said to Stats Perform about Watt, whose 2021 move to Arizona did not produce the long postseason run he craved.

"For someone who has done so much for the sport, you kind of want them to go out with the championship, especially for all he has done. 

"But he has still had a great career. He is still getting double-digit sacks and he was able to get three in a game [against the Denver Broncos in Week 15].

"So I mean, he's still going out on top and I am hoping for the best for him.

"He did right by the shield and set a great example for a lot of great defenders coming after him

"He was definitely a huge inspiration for me, someone I looked up to a lot. He is someone I've watched over the years and continue to watch to this day.

"And, when I was in college he definitely convinced me to get in the weight room when he was throwing guys around [in the NFL]."

One of the NFL's most feared pass-rushers early in his career, Watt battled through some major injuries in the past few seasons and also revealed in October he was playing through a case of atrial fibrillation.

A first-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2011, the 33-year-old is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, a five-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection.

The future Hall of Famer led the league in sacks in 2012 and 2015, and his 111.5 career sacks rank fourth among active players. His 9.5 sacks this season are his most since recording 16 in 2018.

"Koa's first ever NFL game," Watt wrote in his announcement. "My last ever NFL home game.

"My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It's been an absolute honour and a pleasure."

Arizona Cardinals star defensive end JJ Watt has announced his football career is ending.

Watt posted to Twitter on Monday that Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the first NFL game his son attended but also his final NFL home game.

"Koa's first ever NFL game," Watt wrote. "My last ever NFL home game."

Already eliminated from the playoffs, the Cardinals play their final two games on the road – at the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday and at the San Francisco 49ers in Week 18.

"My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude," Watt wrote. "It's been an absolute honour and a pleasure."

One of the NFL's most feared pass-rushers early in his career, the 33-year-old Watt battled through injuries in the past few seasons and revealed in October he was playing through a case of atrial fibrillation.

A first-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2011, Watt is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, a five-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection.

The future Hall of Famer led the league in sacks in 2012 and 2015, and his 111.5 career sacks rank fourth among active players. His 9.5 sacks this season are his most since recording 16 in 2018.

Leonard Fournette revealed he has been playing through a Lisfranc injury as he sent a message – which he later deleted – to his critics.

Fournette is one of a number of players whose performances have been scrutinised in a season in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a disappointing 7-8.

But that record crucially has the Bucs top of the NFC South after the running back led his team to a vital overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Day.

Fournette contributed 162 yards from scrimmage, leading Tampa Bay in both carries (20 for 72 yards) and receptions (nine for 90 yards).

And the 27-year-old revealed his commitment to the Bucs in a Twitter post on Monday, although he soon deleted the message.

"I hate when people be on here just talking, saying I'm out of shape etc," he wrote.

"Do y'all understand I'm playing with a Lisfranc in my foot every week? Can barely push off my foot but through the Grace of God I'm going to keep proving y'all wrong."

Fournette has the backing of quarterback Tom Brady, who said after the 19-16 win: "He ran really hard and was on a mission.

"He ran through arm tackles, ran hard, caught the ball well, pass protected well.

"This team has a lot of resiliency. We fight hard. 7-8 is not where we want to be, but got a chance at a championship game next week."

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