Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley is expecting backup quarterback Easton Stick to prove his worth after Justin Herbert was ruled out for the season, describing the 28-year-old as a winner. 

The Chargers will play the rest of the season without their franchise quarterback after Herbert underwent surgery to repair a fracture to his right index finger on Tuesday.

Herbert sustained the injury during the first half of the Chargers' 24-7 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, with Stick coming in to throw 13-of-24 for 179 yards but no touchdowns.

Stick had only played two snaps in five seasons in the NFL before replacing Herbert, who has started 62 of the team's 63 games since being drafted sixth overall in 2020.

He will suit up for the 5-8 Chargers when they go on the road to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday, and Staley is backing his team to adapt.

"When you lose any player of that calibre, it's tough," Staley said on Tuesday. "But that's why you have a team, to be able to support that position and put a good plan together moving forward.

"One of the reasons why I was so excited to team up with [offensive coordinator] Kellen [Moore] was the work that he did with Cooper Rush. Dak Prescott went down and the Cowboys went on a really good run with Rush as their backup quarterback. 

"The way that they had to play with Rush was different than the way that they were playing with Dak, but that's what you have to do, you have to make adjustments. 

"Then, the rest of your team has to come alive and you have to play the game the way that it needs to be played in order to win. That's what we're going to try and do on Thursday."

Staley took plenty of positives from Stick's first meaningful taste of NFL action, adding: "I thought that there was a lot to build off from that last game. 

"I think the way he played in that second half does give us confidence going into this game. He is a winner. You look at his track record at North Dakota State, all he has ever done is win. 

"He knows how to run a team, lead a team. He has been great for our team since I've been here. We're excited for him.

"He's a commander out there. People believe in him because of how hard he works. Since I've been here, him and Justin have set a very high bar for everybody else, in terms of how to work.

"I think he has gotten better every single year and I think that his team-mates have seen that. He has improved every year as a quarterback. Now, he gets to show what he can do."

Herbert finishes his season with a 93.2 QB rating – the same as he registered in 2022 – but his average passing yards per game dropped from 278.8 – the third-best in the NFL last season – to 241.1, putting him 13th.

The Las Vegas Raiders made the right decision when they fired head coach Josh McDaniels last month and have got their "swagger" back under interim coach Antonio Pierce.

That is the view of three-time Super Bowl-winning safety Duron Harmon, who hopes Pierce gets a shot at leading the team on a full-time basis next season.

The Raiders parted company with coach McDaniels and general manager David Ziegler in early November, having made a 3-5 start to McDaniels' second season with the franchise.

Pierce has overseen something of an upturn since taking the reins, with the Raiders overcoming the New York Giants – with whom Pierce won Super Bowl XLII during his playing career – and the New York Jets before losing difficult games against the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Harmon, who was with the Raiders last year, believes the team are already seeing their decision pay off, telling Stats Perform: "I think [the owner] Mark Davis did the best thing. 

"I have a lot of respect for Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler. They allowed me to go out there and play and I enjoyed my time there. But you could just tell the team wasn't responding to the coach. 

"So they did the right thing by letting him go and hiring somebody on an interim basis, like Antonio Pierce, another man who's a great leader, a leader of men who could just kind of get the juices going back throughout the locker room.

"I think they've done that. They played the Dolphins tough. They beat the Jets, they beat the Giants, I believe. 

"Then they ran into the Chiefs [last week], which is a tough test for everybody. Amik [Robertson] and Devante [Adams] came out and said that basically, they beat themselves. When you watch the tape, you could probably agree with them. 

"The idea that they have this type of confidence now, it shows that they have a head coach that is giving them that swagger that they need."

The 5-7 Raiders are outside the playoff picture in the AFC with five games to play, but Harmon does not think the prospect of a postseason run is completely unrealistic. 

"Hopefully, they can maybe get on a little run and maybe sneak into playoffs," he added.

"I have a lot of great relationships over there, and I still talk to a lot of guys over there and they can't talk highly enough about the energy shift that has been since Antonio has taken over. 

"So, I wish those guys the best of luck. I think if all goes well, hopefully, they give AP a good hard look to make him not only the interim but the head coach for the future."

The Kansas City Chiefs will begin defence of their Super Bowl title by hosting the upstart Detroit Lions as the NFL announced a few more select games on its 2023 regular-season schedule Thursday morning.

The league also revealed when and where Aaron Rodgers will make his highly anticipated debut with the New York Jets, who will host the AFC East-rival Buffalo Bills on Monday, Sept. 11 in a nationally televised primetime game on ESPN.

Detroit will visit Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 7 to officially start the NFL's 2023 campaign, with the game to be broadcast on NBC beginning at 8:20 p.m. ET.

The Chiefs will also be playing at home on Christmas Day with a matchup against their longtime AFC West foes, the Las Vegas Raiders. The NFL announced on Wednesday that the reigning champions will host the Cincinnati Bengals on New Year's Eve in a rematch of last season's conference championship game, which Kansas City won 23-20 on a late field goal.

Also announced is a clash between two of the NFC's marquee teams in Week 5, when the San Francisco 49ers will host the Dallas Cowboys in prime time on Oct. 8 as part of NBC's "Sunday Night Football" package.

The entire 2023 schedule for all 32 teams will be revealed Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. The NFL announced dates and times for eight games, including five International Series matchups that will take place in either London or Germany, on Wednesday.

Former NFL defensive lineman Chris Smith has died aged 31.

Smith was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Arkansas in the 2014 draft and spent eight years in the league, representing teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.

He last played in the NFL for the Houston Texans in 2021 before signing for the Seattle Sea Dragons in the XFL in March of this year.

Smith's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed his death on Twitter, saying: "Rest in Peace Chris. Condolences to all his family, friends and loved ones. We will miss you."

Smith's cause of death has not been released.

Several former teammates paid tribute, with Browns tight-end David Njoku declaring on Twitter: "Rest in paradise Chris Smith.

"Hometown hero and a brother to everyone. Such a kind soul. This is heartbreaking."

Smith also played for the Las Vegas Raiders and their former quarterback Derek Carr posted a photo of the two together and wrote: "Love you bro."

NFL tight end Foster Moreau revealed he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma during a physical with the New Orleans Saints.

The 25-year-old is a free agent following his release from the Las Vegas Raiders, who drafted him in 2019, and was diagnosed during a visit to his hometown team in free agency.

Moreau's hunt for a new team will now be halted as he prepares for treatment, though he plans to continue his NFL career in the future.

"Through somewhat of a miraculous process, this free agency period has been life changing for me," he posted on Twitter.

"During a routine physical conducted by the Saints medical team down in New Orleans, I've come to learn that I have Hodgkin's lymphoma and will be stepping away from football at this time to fight a new opponent: Cancer.

"I'm grateful for the support and thankful for the people who have stood firm with me. There hasn't been a single step I've taken without hundreds of people lighting the path before me and I will continue to seek their guidance.

"That being said, I'll go kick this thing's ass and get back to doing what I love."

In four seasons with the Raiders, Moreau had 91 receptions for 1,107 total yards, including a career-high 420 in 2022.

It did not come as a surprise that Jimmy Garoppolo left the San Francisco 49ers, and maybe it should not surprise anyone that he ended up with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Garoppolo was introduced by the Raiders on Friday after a one-day delay due to some contract details.

In Las Vegas, he reunites with Josh McDaniels, the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator for the first three seasons of his career.

"Oh yeah," Garoppolo said Friday when asked if the Raiders were on his radar as he approached free agency after five seasons with the 49ers. "Right off the bat actually, one of my agents gave me the first list of teams, Raiders were right up there. I have the familiarity with Josh, Dave [Ziegler]. All that played a role."

The Raiders gave Garoppolo a three-year, $67.5million contract, including $34m in guaranteed money.

"I'm coming in with the mindset that I need to earn everything – I don't want to be given any 'You're the franchise guy' or whatever," he said. "I want to come in and earn it.

"I think it will come through hard work, working with teammates, being in the facility. All those little things will play a role. But yeah, I don't want to be given anything; I want to earn it.

"Just because I’m the quarterback, I'm not the leader because of that. I want to be the leader because guys respect me and believe in me… I think it will happen naturally. I don't want to force anything, be inauthentic. I just want to be myself and it's done me well in the past."

Garoppolo joins a Raiders team coming off a 6-11 season, but with an offense that includes wide receivers Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Renfrow as well as running back Josh Jacobs.

"Whenever you've got skill position guys like that, the run after catch, I'm a big believer," Garoppolo said. "I think if you give them an accurate ball, if you've got the right guys that can make a play – and we seem to have the right guys here."

While Garoppolo is familiar with McDaniels and his offense, it’s been a while since he worked with him. He acknowledged he will have to relearn the language of the offense.

"Basically like going Spanish to French," he said. "It won’t take long but Josh's offense, obviously, has evolved over the years and you've just got to pick it up as quickly as possible. But we'll be fine."

He made the point of saying he wants to take the Raiders to the Super Bowl championship.

"I know every player says that when they come up to their first press conference, but that’s my goal," Garoppolo said. "I want to go get a ring, get the silver and black back to where it should be. I know it's not an easy process. I went through it in San Francisco, lower end of the field when I first got there."

Jimmy Garoppolo and the Las Vegas Raiders made their tie-up official on Friday as the quarterback was reunited with Josh McDaniels.

Garoppolo's move as a free agent was initially reported on Monday, with ESPN's Adam Schefter suggesting the quarterback had agreed to a three-year, $67.5million deal, including $34m guaranteed.

The 31-year-old Garoppolo was expected to appear at a press conference on Thursday, but that was postponed without explanation. Now the deal is complete, however, with the Raiders confirming it in a press release. Terms were not disclosed.

Garoppolo will replace Derek Carr, who has departed for the New Orleans Saints.

Raiders head coach McDaniels knows all about Garoppolo's game, having been his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo left his role as Tom Brady's Patriots understudy to spend five and a half seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, featuring in the team that went to Super Bowl LIV and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

He featured for much of last season with the Niners, despite losing his place as starter initially to Trey Lance, although his campaign ended early because of a foot injury.

The Las Vegas Raiders have added to Jimmy Garoppolo's weapons by agreeing a deal to sign wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.

News emerged on Monday that Garoppolo was signing with the Raiders following the departure of long-time quarterback Derek Carr, reuniting the former San Francisco 49er with his offensive coordinator from his time with the New England Patriots, Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels.

McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, a former director of player personnel in New England, have brought another ex-Patriot into the fold in Meyers, who is signing on a three-year deal worth $33million with $21m guaranteed.

Meyers had the most prolific season of his career in 2022, scoring six receiving touchdowns, while his 804 receiving yards were only a little down on his tally of 866 from 2021.

According to Stats Perform data, Meyers ranked 15th in combined open percentage (46.2) across man and zone coverages among wide receivers with at least 100 matchups and got open on 59.0 per cent of his man matchups. Only four wideouts with a minimum of 25 man matchups won a higher percentage.

The low point of his season came in a Week 15 loss to the Raiders, costing the Patriots the game when he inexplicably threw the ball back across field in the final seconds on a needless lateral play with the score tied. Chandler Jones plucked the ball out of the air and returned it for the game-winning score for the Raiders.

Meyers will now look to create happier memories of Allegiant Stadium with the Raiders as they attempt to return to the postseason in McDaniels' second year.

The New York Giants are trading for star Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller.

The move was reported on Tuesday, with the Giants sending a third-round pick to Vegas in the deal.

That 100th overall pick was originally sent to the Giants by the Kansas City Chiefs when they traded for Kadarius Toney last year.

Waller, a Pro Bowler in 2020, had been on the Raiders since he was signed off the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad in 2018.

The tight end established himself as a starter in 2019, the first of two consecutive 1,100-yard seasons.

He had the most catches among all tight ends in 2020 (107), ranked second for receiving yards (1,196) and third for receiving touchdowns (nine).

But Waller was limited to 17 starts over the next two seasons, restricted by knee, back and hamstring injuries.

With two years remaining on the contract that made him the best-paid tight end in the league last year, Waller will take his talents to New York.

He gives Daniel Jones – the quarterback who just signed a four-year, $160million extension – an established receiving target.

Darius Slayton had the most receiving yards among the Giants' pass catchers last year, but the wide receiver could move on in free agency.

Jimmy Garoppolo will join the Las Vegas Raiders as a free agent and reunite with Josh McDaniels.

Garoppolo's move was reported on Monday after the legal tampering period began, with ESPN's Adam Schefter suggesting the quarterback has agreed to a three-year, $67.5million deal, including $34m guaranteed.

He is set to replace Derek Carr, who had already left the Raiders to find a new home with the New Orleans Saints.

Garoppolo leaves the San Francisco 49ers after five and a half seasons, in which time he was part of the team that went to Super Bowl LIV and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

He was hampered by injuries in San Francisco, however, and lost his place as the 49ers' starter ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Trey Lance was named QB1, although Garoppolo returned to the team on a one-year deal to serve as backup.

Lance soon went down injured, but so too did Garoppolo, giving Brock Purdy the opportunity to establish himself at QB.

With Lance and Purdy set to compete for the starting role in 2023, there was never any possibility of Garoppolo again returning to the 49ers.

Instead, he will team up again with McDaniels, who was his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the New England Patriots ahead of joining the Niners.

Garoppolo only made two starts for the Patriots behind Tom Brady, but he is now in line to be the main man in Vegas, where McDaniels is the head coach.

Although Derek Carr has not known anything but the Raiders in nine seasons as an NFL quarterback, he is ready to embrace a new opportunity with the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints introduced their latest acquisition on Saturday in a news conference that lasted 45 minutes. Carr was joined by coach Dennis Allen, his family and members of the Saints front office.

New Orleans first tried to trade for Carr before the Las Vegas Raiders released him last month. That stuck with Carr as he entertained other offers.

"You're valuing me as a quarterback, me as a human, without even having to say anything," Carr said. "I'd be lying to you if I said I didn’t have a chip on my shoulder with how everything finished.

"It lit a fire in me that I’ve always had. But it just made it hotter and gave me this excitement to where I can’t wait to get to another building and just show what I’m capable of."

The Saints' brass and Allen, who was the Raiders' coach when Carr was drafted in 2014, did not need convincing. The team went all out to persuade Carr it was the best fit for him, and they agreed on a four-year, $150 million contract Monday.

"He was clearly our number one target in terms of what we wanted to do at the quarterback position," Allen said.

"We wanted to be first out there and just make sure that he knew he was the number one option."

One of several Saints players that reached out to Carr was record-setting receiver Michael Thomas, whose contract status and injury-plagued past three seasons have created uncertainty about his future with the club.

Carr sounded eager to work with Thomas, and confident he might get that chance, even though it would virtually require Thomas – the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year - and the Saints to agree by Friday on a more salary cap-friendly contract.

"He wasn’t even trying to recruit me," Carr said. "He was just like, ‘When are we getting to work, we’re wasting time, time is ticking'."

Carr is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and is the Raiders’ all-time leader in yards passing (35,222) and touchdown passes (217), but the team made the playoffs just twice with him at QB and did not win a postseason game.

The Saints have not made the playoffs since franchise all-time passer Drew Brees retired after the 2020 season. New Orleans went 9-8 in 2021 and 7-10 last season.

Two running backs coming off career seasons were designated as franchise players by their respective teams on Monday, as the Las Vegas Raiders applied the tag to Josh Jacobs and the Dallas Cowboys did the same with Tony Pollard.

The move enables both teams to negotiate with their respective players, both of whom would have been unrestricted free agents, towards long-term contracts up until July 15. Jacobs and Pollard would earn $10.1million in 2023 if a deal is not reached and they play under the tender offer.

Jacobs became the first Raider to lead the NFL in rushing yards since Hall of Famer Marcus Allen in 1985 when he compiled 1,653 this past season. The 25-year-old added 12 touchdowns and 400 receiving yards on 53 catches to earn first team All-Pro honours.

The four-year veteran has publicly stated his desire to re-sign with the Raiders, though he told The Athletic during the week of the Pro Bowl he has no interest in playing under the tag.

"Oooh, hero turned villain, man," he said when asked what his response would be to receiving the franchise tender.

"This is where I want to be. I feel like I've left my mark on this organisation. With the guys in the locker room – obviously, it's going to be shaken up next year – but I feel like this is home. For me, this is where I want to be, but I'm not going to discredit myself trying to be here, either. So, it's just got to make sense."

Pollard emerged as the Cowboys’ best running back and earned his first Pro Bowl nod with an outstanding 2022 campaign in which he rushed for 1,007 yards and scored 12 total touchdowns. His 5.22 yards per rush attempt ranked second in the NFL among players with at least 175 carries.

The 25-year-old is recovering from a broken left leg and high-ankle sprain he sustained in Dallas’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers in January, but is expected to be recovered in time for the start of next season.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters at the recent scouting combine in Indianapolis that the team was planning on using the tag on Pollard in hopes of working out a multi-year agreement.

"I really don’t want to say it’s a done thing because as these things come and go, you don’t know where you are until the deadline comes and goes," Jones said Friday. "But right now, certainly Tony is a big part of our plans."

A long-term deal with Pollard could impact the future of Cowboys longtime running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is scheduled to count $16.72m against the salary cap this season. The three-time Pro Bowler could be asked to take a pay cut to remain with the team or may be a candidate to be released.

Jacobs and Pollard are two of four players who have received the franchise tag ahead of Tuesday's deadline, along with Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram and Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne.

Derek Carr has left the Las Vegas Raiders after refusing a trade to the New Orleans Saints, the franchise confirmed on Tuesday.

The Raiders and Carr parted ways after nine seasons together ahead of the February 15 trade deadline.

Carr's release was expected after his refusal to join the Saints, in a trade deal that had already been agreed between the teams, which was reported on Sunday by ESPN and NFL Network.

The quarterback's exit before the deadline meant he will not receive the guaranteed $40.4million in future earnings under his previous contract in Las Vegas.

The 31-year-old reportedly rejected a pay cut to facilitate a trade to New Orleans and will instead enter free agency for the first time in his career.

"We have a lot of respect for Derek Carr and what he has meant to the Raiders organization for the last nine years," Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Zeigler said in a statement.

"Derek has done great things in this league and we're thankful to have been able to work with him this past year.

"He is a true professional and we appreciate his hard work in striving to produce the results we all desire. We wish Derek and his family all the best in the future."

Carr's agent, Tim Younger, posted on Twitter: "We wish the @Raiders the best of luck. This is the tough part of this business. That's the point; it's just business.

"Time now to reset for both sides. Derek chooses to hold on to many good memories and friendships, without any ill will. That's who he is. Onward and upward."

Carr had been with the Raiders since he was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and holds franchise records for his 35,222 passing yards and 217 touchdowns.

As starting QB for Las Vegas he went 63-79, but the Raiders made just two playoff appearances during his time – in 2016 when he was injured and five years later when they suffered a wild-card exit.

Las Vegas finished third in the AFC West in 2022 after struggles for Carr, who is said to be wanted by the Saints and the Carolina Panthers.

The Raiders were linked to Tom Brady before he retired and fellow veterans Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo as potential replacements.

The Las Vegas Raiders are expected to release quarterback Derek Carr after he informed the team he would not accept a trade to the New Orleans Saints.

Carr's refusal to join the Saints, in a trade deal that had already been agreed between the teams, was reported on Sunday by ESPN and NFL Network.

Reports earlier in the week had detailed Carr's plan to visit the Saints after he was given permission to speak to the team.

However, it is said the contract on offer in New Orleans would require Carr to take a pay cut.

That was not something the QB was willing to do, refusing to waive his no-trade clause, and with only the Saints approaching the Raiders about a trade, the obvious alternative was for the player to be released.

The Raiders would have to cut Carr by Wednesday to avoid paying his full salary in 2023 and instead allow him to enter free agency.

Carr has been with the Raiders since he was selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but he said goodbye to fans in an emotional social media post in January.

Las Vegas had hoped for a big season in 2022 but finished third in the AFC West as Carr struggled for form.

The New Orleans Saints have emerged as a candidate to acquire Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders granted Carr permission to speak with the Saints' front office and he will visit the team on Wednesday, according to multiple reports. It will be the first known meeting between Carr and a potential suitor.

Previous reporting indicated that the Raiders would only allow Carr to meet with teams willing to meet the team’s asking price in trade negotiations.

While there is reportedly no trade imminent, the visit firmly establishes New Orleans as a serious contender to land the nine-year veteran quarterback.

Carr, who has a no-trade clause, signed a three-year, $121.5million extension last April, but was benched for the final two games of the 2022 season in what was called a mutual decision.

Over $40m in Carr's contract becomes guaranteed on February 15, after which the four-time Pro Bowler would become cumbersome to trade.

The trigger date, which Carr has declined to renegotiate, forces the Raiders to urgently pursue a trade partner that both meets the team's asking price and pleases Carr enough to convince him to waive his no-trade clause.

The Saints are looking to improve a quarterback group that included Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton last season, with Taysom Hill continuing to take snaps as a gadget option.

New Orleans are projected to be well over the 2023 salary cap as currently constituted, and would need to restructure a number of contracts – including Carr's – if a trade were to materialise.

Saints coach Dennis Allen was the Raiders' head man in 2014 when the franchise drafted Carr in the second round and started him as a rookie.

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