Fits for the free agents still available, plus Jon Gruden heads to arbitration


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It’s schedule release day, as Dianna details below. If the Jags nail their X-Men theme, they might have this year’s best announcement video. A lot to unpack today:

Today’s NFL update:

  • 👋 Remaining free agents
  • 💼 Jon Gruden’s legal update
  • 📣 Kirk Cousins speaks on Falcons draft

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Hey, I’m Still Here: Best fits for remaining free agents

Early this morning, former NFL GM Randy Mueller shared his team fits for the best remaining NFL free agents. After a second wave of signings saw edge Bud Dupree, OT Chris Hubbard and WRs Odell Beckham Jr., Tyler Boyd and Allen Robinson taken off the market, who is left? Three notable players, with Randy’s take on their landing spots.

S Justin Simmons (age 30): An All-Pro in four of the last five seasons, he has the most interceptions of any player in the league since joining the Broncos as a third-round pick in 2016.

  • Randy: “I think the Eagles make sense as a landing spot, with a defense in which Simmons succeeded during his tenure in Denver playing for then-head coach Vic Fangio, now the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.”

C Mason Cole (28): A third-round pick in 2018, he started all 16 games at center for the Cardinals in his rookie season before shifting to a backup role for the next few years. His career revived in Pittsburgh, where he started every game in 2022 and 2023.

  • Randy: “I see two potentially strong fits: The Cowboys lost starting center Tyler Biadasz in free agency and have no proven veteran at the position.
  • “Meanwhile, the Broncos have Luke Wattenberg (a 2022 fifth-round pick with 126 career offensive snaps, only 27 at center) and Alex Forsyth (a 2023 seventh-round pick with zero career offensive snaps) projected to battle for the starting center job. If Sean Payton gives Bo Nix the keys early, the rookie QB could use some help making protection calls and slowing the game down.”

WR Hunter Renfrow (28): In 2019, his 2.09 yards per route run ranked second among rookie WRs behind only A.J. Brown. In 2021, Renfrow set a career high in receptions (103), receiving yards (1,038) and receiving touchdowns (9). He was a Pro Bowler then, but has had fewer than 40 catches each season since.

  • Randy: “The Bengals lost Tyler Boyd, who was a fixture in the slot the past few years, and there aren’t other options with previous production like Renfrow. He could be a plug-and-play option.”

And with OTAs underway for two teams — Falcons and Commanders — it’s a great time to revisit Randy’s 2023 article on why NFL teams have OTAs.

Now, after we learned the Dolphins will host the Bills at Hard Rock Stadium to kick off Week 2 on TNF, Dianna has more on the NFL’s impending full-schedule announcement.


What Dianna’s Hearing: Happy schedule day!

Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, the NFL’s slow drip of schedule releases comes to an end. You can watch the schedule release on NFL Network, NFL.com, the NFL app and NFL+. This morning, we learned that we’ll see the Jets-Vikings, Jaguars-Bears and Patriots-Jaguars in the three London games. In Munich, the Giants will take on the Panthers.

The good news for teams? Top brass and head coaches already have the full schedule in their hands right now. They all are sworn to secrecy.

Players are the ones really looking forward to seeing how it all plays out tonight. And the rest of us, of course. You can follow along with our live coverage as updates are released throughout the day.

Back to you, Jacob.


Jon Gruden’s Lawsuit: Yep, this is still ongoing

Yesterday, a Nevada Supreme Court panel sided with the NFL against former Raiders coach Jon Gruden, reversing a district court’s order that denied the NFL’s motion to send Gruden’s complaint into its arbitration process.

Gruden, whose complaint alleges “Soviet-style character assassination,” can’t be happy that the decision will be made behind closed doors by commissioner Roger Goodell. Let’s take a step back.

What this is about: In the lawsuit, Gruden accused Goodell of leaking emails that included racist and homophobic content as part of a 2021 campaign to get Gruden fired. The NFL denied leaking the emails, while Gruden resigned under pressure that October and filed the lawsuit the following month. If you want to read Gruden’s complaint, you can find it here.

Gruden sent those emails in question to Washington’s then-president Bruce Allen, all while Gruden worked at ESPN. The league discovered the content while reviewing Allen’s emails during its investigation into the franchise’s workplace culture.

After Gruden filed the lawsuit, the NFL and Goodell tried to compel arbitration, based on the terms of Gruden’s employment agreement and the NFL Constitution.

What this means: Unless successfully appealed, Gruden’s case will not move forward in public nor in the legal system, instead settled in closed-door arbitration and decided by a defendant in the case, Goodell. Yes, a party to the dispute would rule on the dispute.


Podcast Talk: Cousins downplays draft surprise

Asked if he would have signed with the Falcons had he known they were going to draft a quarterback in the first round, Kirk Cousins said, “I don’t really deal in hypotheticals,” also adding praise for his rookie backup, Michael Penix Jr. “Mike’s been great.”

These were his first comments to Atlanta media since the Falcons drafted Penix with the No. 8 pick. First-year Falcons HC Raheem Morris has emphasized that the starting spot belongs to Cousins, whose teammates have appreciated his veteran approach. “He tells you how to win,” said TE Kyle Pitts.


Around the NFL

Yes, Tom Brady regrets being roasted. “I didn’t like the way they affected my kids … all of a sudden you realize: I wouldn’t do that again because of the way that it affected actually the people that I care about the most in the world.”

During a commencement speech at a Catholic college, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker bashed Pride Month and urged women to become “homemakers” instead of having careers. No comment so far from his employer or the league.

Washington’s new HC Dan Quinn called the reaction to his unlicensed shirt, which depicted two feathers attached to the team’s modern logo, a “great lesson.” Amos Morale III has more on the unsanctioned gear.

The Jaguars in London will continue to be temporary. The team agreed to a $1.4 billion stadium deal, the Associated Press reported. This would keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville, one of the NFL’s smallest markets, for another 30 years.

QB Drew Lock could be in for a bigger season than we expect. Dan Duggan updates us on the Giants‘ salary cap situation and spotlights how much money Lock can actually make this year.

“He’s a coach’s dream,” said Bears WR coach Chris Beatty, when asked about Keenan Allen. Beatty previously coached Allen with the Chargers from 2021 to 2023. Chicago’s excited to pair him with DJ Moore.


Jacob’s Picks

📕 Dynasty fantasy draft insight. Those picks aren’t as valuable as you may think. Excellent piece by Jeff Haverlack last April worth revisiting. (The Athletic)

📺 Watch Cousins speak at his press conference during Atlanta’s OTAs. Yes, plenty of Penix questions. (YouTube)

🎙 Who are the NFL’s best tight ends? This podcast ranks the best from last season and the top 10 since 2010. (Around the NFL)

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(Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)





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