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Tom Brady is set to hit NFL free agency, ending a glorious two-decade run with the New England Patriots.

The 42-year-old quarterback will be out of contract when the new NFL year begins on March 18, meaning for the first time in his illustrious career, he is poised to play elsewhere in 2020.

Here we take a look at Brady's records and statistics from his time as a Patriot.

 

199th pick - 198 players were selected in the 2000 NFL Draft - including six quarterbacks - before New England took Brady, an unheralded quarterback from the University of Michigan.

326 games - Brady made a total of 326 appearances for the Patriots - 285 in the regular season and 41 in the playoffs - since debuting in 2000. All but two of those appearances have been starts.

249 victories - No other quarterback can compete with Brady's 249 wins as a starter across the regular season and postseason. Drew Brees, with 171, is the next closest.

Six rings - The Patriots made nine Super Bowls during the Brady era. He owns the most Super Bowl victories among all players, one more than Charles Haley and two more than fellow quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

Four Super Bowl MVPs - Brady also leads the way in MVP awards for the big game. Only five players have been named Super Bowl MVP on more than one occasion (Brady, Montana, Bradshaw, Bart Starr and Eli Manning).

14 Pro Bowls - His Super Bowl appearances meant Brady had to miss many of the Pro Bowls he was nominated for, but he holds the record for most nods, along with Tony Gonzalez, Peyton Manning, Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen.

45 fourth-quarter comebacks - Peyton Manning may have more fourth-quarter comebacks in the regular season (43 to Brady's 36), yet his great rival has nine in the postseason compared to The Sheriff's two.

58 game-winning drives - In all six of New England's Super Bowl victories, Brady has engineered a game-winning drive. In the regular season, he is behind just Peyton Manning, Brees and Dan Marino in that category.

74,571 yards - Brees is the only signal caller to have thrown for more yards than Brady in the regular season, and the man second on the list is just 2,845 yards behind.

541 passing touchdowns - It's neck and neck between the two in the category of most touchdowns thrown in the regular season, too, with Brees leading the way on 547 scores.

Jimmy Graham has agreed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears following his release from their NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers.

According to widespread reports, Graham has struck a deal with the Bears that will pay him a total of $16million across the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with $9m guaranteed.

The 33-year-old gives the Bears another option at tight end, a position from which they struggled for production last season.

Graham spent two seasons with the Packers, not missing a game as he posted 100 receptions for 1,191 yards with five touchdowns in 34 outings, including two appearances in the playoffs.

The five-time Pro Bowler previously played for the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.

Graham got a headstart on free agency when he was released on Thursday with a year left on his deal with the Packers, who he will now face twice a year.

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

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

There was another Packers departure as linebacker Blake Martinez agreed a three-year, $30m deal with the New York Giants.

The Packers replaced him with Christian Kirksey while also bringing in offensive tackle Rick Wagner.

Stefon Diggs appeared to confirm he had been traded from the Minnesota Vikings to the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills are sending four picks – a first-, fifth- and sixth-rounder in 2020 and fourth-rounder in 2021 – to the Vikings for the wide receiver, according to ESPN.

Bills quarterback Josh Allen tweeted: "Ya Digg?"

Responding to Allen, Diggs wrote: "LETS GET IT."

Diggs was drafted by the Vikings in 2015 and has enjoyed two of his best seasons in 2018 and 2019.

He had 1,130 receiving yards last year, while he caught nine touchdown passes in 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NFL offseason programs have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, while new guidelines were introduced around free agency.

Teams with new head coaches were scheduled to begin their offseason programs on April 6, with the rest due to start two weeks later.

However, the NFL announced on Monday it had agreed with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to indefinitely delay the programs due to COVID-19.

Teams have been told to close their facilities to players, other than those undergoing medically supervised rehab, for the next two weeks.

"Based on the most recent guidance provided by leading health officials, and in consultation with the NFLPA and both our and the union's medical advisors, we believe this is the appropriate way to protect the health of our players, staff, and our communities," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

"We will continue to make decisions based on the best advice from medical and public health experts and will be prepared to make further modifications as needed."

The NFL also announced teams cannot bring in prospective free agents "to a club facility or other location to meet with club personnel" when the start of the new league year officially begins on March 18.

Team personnel, including medical staff, cannot travel to meet a prospective free agent.

"The NFL and NFLPA are developing protocols that will provide clubs with opportunities to review a free agent player's medical records from his prior club[s] and to arrange for a free agent player to have a medical exam in the player's home city or at another nearby location," a statement said.

"These steps are consistent with those announced last Friday for club contact with draft-eligible college players."

The NFL announced earlier on Monday that the 2020 draft would go ahead on April 23-25, but with no fans present.

Byron Jones will reportedly become the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL after agreeing to terms with the Miami Dolphins.

ESPN reports Jones, 27, has agreed a five-year deal worth $82.5million, including $57m guaranteed, with Miami.

Jones was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 and spent five seasons with the team, earning Pro Bowl selection in 2018.

He returned to cornerback in 2018 after spending two years at safety.

ESPN also reported that former Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry was heading to the New York Giants on a three-year, $45m deal.

The San Francisco 49ers have signed Arik Armstead to a five-year contract extension, while DeForest Buckner is reportedly heading elsewhere in a trade.

Selected by the franchise in the first round of the 2015 draft, Armstead has appeared in 62 games - 43 of them as a starter - in his NFL career with San Francisco.

The defensive lineman enjoyed an outstanding 2019 season too, registering 54 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles as the 49ers reached the Super Bowl, albeit they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami.

His new deal runs through the 2024 season and while details were not officially disclosed, it is reportedly worth $85million.

"We are very pleased to have come together with Arik and his representatives to complete this contract extension prior to free agency," said 49ers general manager John Lynch.

"Arik's physical tools and versatility have allowed him to be highly productive in our style of defense, and we look forward to watching him take his game to an even higher level as he grows within our scheme.

"Arik has been an impact player on the field and a difference-maker in our community, and we are excited for what the future holds for him."

Buckner, however, is said to be on the move from San Francisco, with NFL insiders on social media reporting the defensive lineman is to be traded to the Indianapolis Colts.

The 49ers get the 13th pick in this year's draft in return for a player who made the Pro Bowl in 2018, while Buckner will net a lucrative contract extension from his new employers.

The 2020 NFL Draft will take place as planned in April, though there will no public events held in Las Vegas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement released by the league revealed the decision was made following guidance from medical experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and in conjunction with authorities in Nevada.

The draft, which will run from April 23 until 25, will still be televised, though, while the NFL are looking into "innovative options" for how the process will be conducted.

"This decision reflects our foremost priority - the health and safety of all fans and citizens," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.

"While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the city of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl."

The CDC recommended on Sunday that gatherings of 50 people or more in the United States should be cancelled or postponed for the next two months.

Las Vegas was selected to host the draft ahead of the Raiders' first season in the city since relocating from Oakland.

The Cincinnati Bengals will have the first overall pick.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have used their franchise tag on Shaquil Barrett, one of a number of defensive stars to receive the designation on Monday.

After signing a one-year deal with the Bucs during the previous offseason, Barrett shone in Tampa's new 3-4 system, recording a league-high 19.5 sacks in 2019.

The linebacker - whose tally of 37 quarterback hits was also tied for the most in the NFL - has received the non-exclusive tag, meaning he can still negotiate with other teams during free agency.

However, Tampa Bay has the option to match any contract offer the player receives. If they choose not to, they will then receive two first-round picks from the team who signs Barrett.

Bud Dupree has also been tagged by the Pittsburgh Steelers, meaning the pass rusher is due to earn an estimated $16.12million for the 2020 season.

Dupree posted 11.5 sacks in 2019, as well as four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Having only joined via a trade from the New York Jets midway through the season, the New York Giants allocated their tag to defensive lineman Leonard Williams. 

The Kansas City Chiefs have used their franchise tag to retain the services of Chris Jones, who has led the team in sacks for the previous two campaigns.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots tagged left guard Joe Thuney, as have the Minnesota Vikings with safety Anthony Harris.

Teams can still negotiate new long-term contracts with those players who have received their franchise tags.

A.J. Green has received the franchise tag from the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals icon was scheduled to be a free agent when the new league year begins on Wednesday but will now move into a 10th season with the team.

Green, 31, will earn around $18million in 2020 if he opts to sign the tag, with the team having until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal before the new season.

Amid a stellar career that has seen him earn seven Pro Bowl selections, the wide receiver sits second in Bengals history when it comes to receptions (602), receiving yards (8,907) and receiving touchdowns (63).

Green has been the subject of trade rumours after missing all of last season due to an ankle injury suffered in training camp, having only played nine games in 2018, with the team struggling in his absence.

But the franchise tag means Green remains under the control of the Bengals, who hold the number one overall pick in April's NFL Draft which they are expected to use on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

"A.J. has been a big part of this team for a long time," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after the franchise tag decision was announced on Monday. 

"Now that he's healthy, I am excited to see what he will add to our offense this year."

With the legal tampering period for NFL free agents beginning on Monday, teams have been making key roster moves.

The Arizona Cardinals opted to hand the transition tag to running back Kenyan Drake, who they acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins last season.

Drake will initially be contracted for one year at around $8.4m but is free to negotiate with other teams. If he signs an offer sheet elsewhere, the Cardinals will have the opportunity to match the deal under the terms of the tag.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots are reportedly applying the franchise tag to guard Joe Thuney at an estimated cost of $14m.

Thuney had looked poised to become one of the top offensive linemen hitting the open market but will now stay in New England, where the future of QB Tom Brady is dominating the agenda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has approved a new collective bargaining agreement that includes the possibility of extending the regular season to 17 games in 2021.

The deal, ratified by league owners in February, includes the expected addition of two more teams to the playoffs as early as the 2020 season, as well as an increase in minimum salaries for players.

It still required the players' approval, however, and the final vote was close, with the NFLPA revealing the count was 1,019 to 959 in favour.

"The result comes after a long and democratic process in accordance with our constitution," the NFLPA said in a statement released on Sunday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell believes the labour deal – which will run through until 2030 – offers "substantial benefits" to both current and retired players, with an increase in benefits and a boost to pensions.

As well as a rise in performance-based pay and player revenue, there will be two additional spots added to rosters – taking the tally active for games to 48 – while practice squad sizes will increase. There is a notable decrease too, with padded practice sessions during training camps cut from 28 to 16.

"We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football," Goodell said in a statement.

"We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the management council executive committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement."

With a CBA now in place, the new league year is set to open at 16:00 ET (20:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Rob Gronkowski will appear on WWE Smackdown next week as the former NFL star closes in on signing a contract with the sports entertainment company.

Three-time Super Bowl winner Gronkowski retired after helping the New England Patriots to the championship after the 2018 season.

He spent last year as an NFL analyst on FOX and now looks set to do a deal with WWE, with whom he previously appeared at WrestleMania 33 in 2017, assisting his friend Mojo Rawley in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The 30-year-old has been tipped to appear at this year's WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should the event go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic.

WWE said earlier this week they were close to finalising a deal with Gronkowski, and it was Rawley who broke the news of his Gronkowski's upcoming booking on March 20, which looks likely to precede more regular appearances.

"I talked to Gronk earlier today and I'm here to confirm that the rumours are true, baby," Rawley said on Friday's episode of Smackdown, which was held without fans at the WWE Performance Center in Florida due to COVID-19.

"And whereas nothing is officially signed, what is official is that next week Friday night, live on Smackdown, Rob Gronkowski himself will be in the house. 

"Yes, he will be here. He'll talk about everything that's on his mind. But hey, check this out. Gronk will be here. Mojo will be here. And we're gonna be hyped, so everybody get hyped."

Danny Trevathan will not hit the open market after the Chicago Bears signed the linebacker to a three-year contract extension.

The Bears have confirmed Trevathan, 29, has signed fresh terms on a deal reportedly worth $21.75million, with $14m guaranteed.

Initially drafted by the Denver Broncos - with whom he won the Super Bowl - as a sixth-round pick in 2012, he has spent the past four years in Chicago.

"Bringing Danny back is a key re-signing for us," said Bears general manager Ryan Pace.

"Not only is he a great inside linebacker and great leader on our team, he is a big part of our culture. We are proud to have him under contract in Chicago for three more seasons."

Trevathan added: "You never know what's going to happen in free agency but luckily they brought to me a good offer and they took good care of me.

"I feel like it's something special when you have people having your back. It makes you want to work hard for the common goal, which is to get to the Super Bowl. My work here is not done."

Elsewhere, the New England Patriots have agreed to a two-year extension with special teams star Matthew Slater, who made his eighth Pro Bowl last year.

Deals are increasing in frequency as NFL teams finalise their plans ahead of the start of free agency on March 18.

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