Daniel Jones said he has spoken to Dallas Cowboys great Tony Romo as the New York Giants quarterback taps into Jason Garrett's offense.

Garrett is the Giants' offensive co-ordinator after his contract as head coach of NFC East rivals the Cowboys was not renewed at the end of the last NFL season.

The 54-year-old spent nine and a half seasons as Dallas coach, a spell in which he only recorded one losing season and won three division titles, but tasted victory in just two playoff games.

Romo played in Garrett's offense until 2016, earning four Pro Bowl selections, and Jones is leaning on the Cowboys' past for the Giants.

"I have [talked with Romo] a little bit, not a ton to be honest with you," Jones, who has become the Giants' undisputed starter following Eli Manning's retirement, said on Wednesday on a conference call with reporters. "I'm sure I will as we get going."

The Giants (4-12) and the Cowboys (8-8) both missed out on the playoffs last season, finishing behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.

Jones added: "I certainly did that, diving into some of the Cowboys stuff and what they had done in the past.

"The rules make it tough to communicate a whole lot about that stuff, so there's a little bit of patience involved in that until getting to a point where we could get the playbook and kind of understand some of the concepts and get some of the verbiage. But I did my best to be prepared for when I could get my hands on that stuff."

Giants running back Saquon Barkley is also set to lean on the Cowboys, turning to Dallas counterpart Ezekiel Elliott.

"I haven't contacted Zeke yet but it's something I do plan on doing," Barkley said. "But I kind of want to dissect and get the system down myself and then get to Zeke and see what he was doing here and what he was doing there.

"It's kind of like with anything. There [is] some basic stuff that you learn and some basics you have to be able to do, but at the end of the day there is some stuff you have to do as a football player to become great and use your creativity. And I will definitely use him to try to learn from him and see what he was able to do."

The New York Giants selected Jamaican Matt peart, a 318-pound tackle out of the University of Connecticut as the 99th overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday and he couldn’t be happier.

Standing at six feet and seven inches, Peart’s first love was basketball and the New York Knicks, but when he moved from Kingston, Jamaica as a child everything changed.

Peart moved to New York and went to Governor’s Academy courtesy of the Oliver Scholars programme for high-achieving students. There he fell in love with American football, and most importantly, the Giants.

"Just watching them on the TV, just the culture and everything the Giants stand for was something that was appealing for me as a young kid," said Peart in an interview with giants.com’s Dan Salomone.

"Especially growing up, especially that moment in high school when they had that Super Bowl (XLVI) win my freshman year. That was a very, very fun time for me," he said.

The offensive tackle is a fan of Eli Manning and while he won’t be protecting him, missing out on that honour by a year, at least he will have the opportunity to play in front of the same fans.

"My favourite player, my favourite Giant always would be Eli Manning, for sure," Peart said. "The man is just tough, tough as nails. I respect his game and I just respect everything he does for the game. You know, he's definitely my favourite Giant, 100 per cent."

At his height, it isn’t surprising that Peart grew up playing basketball in the Bronx where he lived, especially because of how few green spaces there are for playing a game like American Football.

"You know, Jamaicans call it 'The Concrete Jungle,'" he said. "So it's easier to pick up a ball and shoot some hoops because there weren't really that many fields open," he said.

When Peart went to Governor’s Academy he played both sports but soon found his love for American Football greater.

Playing both sports has helped him both physically and technically.

"I feel like when it comes to basketball, you have to have real fine footwork," said Peart.

"I really feel like that helped correlate on the field when it comes to football. Being a post player, you have to be able to have good footwork to work in the post. It's just what you have to have. I really feel like that helped me correlate over to football. Just being a tough and dominant player in the post as well helped me be a dominant football player as well."

At 318 pounds, Peart still paints a lean, very athletic figure, not at all what you would expect from somebody his size.

"It's rare to describe someone as 315 pounds and skinny, but that's what he is," said Giants coach Joe Judge.

"He's an athletic guy, he has a lot of length to him," he said.

According to the coach, Peart’s raw materials leave him with a lot of improvement still to be made.

“He's got tremendous work ethic, he's got a great attitude. I think we are going to see a lot better football in the future than we've seen from him already. That's what makes us really excited,” he said.

The newest addition to the 'Mr. Irrelevant' club is Georgia linebacker Tae Crowder, who was selected by the New York Giants with the 255th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Mr. Irrelevant is the title handed to the final player selected in the draft and that honour was bestowed to Crowder this year.

Crowder finished second on the Bulldogs with 62 tackles last season. He played a key role on a Georgia defense that ended the season ranked first in scoring defense and rushing defense and third in total defense. 

He was one of 12 finalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.  

In 43 career games at Georgia, Crowder had 122 total tackles – including 10 for loss – with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.  

Last year's Mr. Irrelevant was UCLA tight end Caleb Wilson, who was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 254th pick.

Wilson did not appear in an NFL game last season and was signed to the Washington Redskins' practice squad in December.  

The first Mr. Irrelevant was wide receiver Kevin Kirk in 1976 when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him with the final pick.  

The NFL is currently completing its first virtual draft in 2020, 16 years on from a dramatic draft day that changed the league's recent history.

Eli Manning was taken at number one overall by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, but that was not where the quarterback ended up going.

It is eight years since this date in the calendar produced a match that will never be forgotten by supporters of Chelsea, after their famous battle against Barcelona.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 24.

 

2012: Chelsea reach first Champions League final

Chelsea and Barcelona have had their fair share of epic Champions League battles over the years and this meeting in 2012 was no different.

The Blues, under an interim manager in Roberto Di Matteo, looked to be on the brink of elimination when Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta had Barca two goals up on the night, with captain John Terry having been sent off. 

Trailing 2-1 on aggregate, Ramires scored a magnificent chip for the 10 men and it looked like it might just be their night when Lionel Messi smashed a second-half penalty against the crossbar. 

Barca were dominant, but they could not find a third goal and Fernando Torres raced clear in a late counter-attack to make it 2-2 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate, one of their most memorable wins ever.

Chelsea went on to win their first Champions League final against hosts Bayern Munich on penalties.

2004: Manning snubs Chargers for Giants

Eli Manning made it clear he did not wish to play for the Chargers (then from San Diego rather than Los Angeles) when he came into the 2004 NFL Draft as the leading college prospect.

His father Archie had cited reports about how the Chargers had treated fellow QB Ryan Leaf as evidence for why his son did not want to play there.

The Chargers selected him nonetheless, while the Giants picked QB Philip Rivers at four, and a trade was promptly worked out between the two teams.

It was a move that changed the recent history of the NFL, as Manning went on to guide the Giants to two dramatic Super Bowl triumphs, both against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Rivers had an impressive 16 seasons with the Chargers but fell short of postseason glory and will now try to go all the way with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, in 2020.

Another two-time Super Bowl champion, Ben Roethlisberger, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers at number 11.

He, like Rivers, is back vying for glory this year, while Manning retired after being usurped by Daniel Jones in New York.

1973: Sachin Tendulkar is born

April 24, 1973 was a great day in the history of Indian cricket, as Sachin Tendulkar was born.

The legendary batsman was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) and made his Test debut against Pakistan as a 16-year-old.

What followed was a career that produced 15,921 runs and 51 centuries, which are both records in the longest form of the game.

The Little Master also racked up 18,426 runs in ODIs, another record mark that sees him stand alone atop the charts.

2018: Liverpool 5-2 Roma in memorable UCL semi

Liverpool’s front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah combined for five goals in the space of 68 minutes as the Reds blew Roma away in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie at Anfield. 

Two late goals from the Italians gave them a faint glimmer of hope, and they ended up just one goal short of forcing extra time in a return leg which they won 4-2.

Liverpool lost the eventual final to Real Madrid, but made amends by winning the trophy in 2019, beating Premier League rivals Tottenham in the final.

2019: Lillard hits stunning game-winner to settle series

On this day last year, the Portland Trail Blazers had not won a playoff series in the previous two seasons, but that all changed when Damian Lillard drained a three-pointer from 37 feet to settle a thrilling battle against Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Portland led 3-1 but game five was on a knife edge at 115-115 before Lillard produced a moment of brilliance as time expired.

The team went on to beat the Denver Nuggets in seven games to reach the Conference Finals, where the Golden State Warriors blew them away in a clean sweep.

George and Westbrook now play for new teams, but Lillard remains the Blazers' leading man.

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft returned some normalcy to the sports world, even if commissioner Roger Goodell's basement does not quite exude the same glitz as the Las Vegas Strip. 

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the draft to be held remotely with NFL general managers, coaches and scouts isolated in their homes instead of inside team complexes, the virtual draft ran smoothly – and without much drama early on Thursday.

In what has been widely expected for weeks, and possibly months, the Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.

Burrow led LSU to the national title last season, completing 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and an FBS-single season record 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions. 

The second pick also went exactly like how many draft experts had predicted for weeks, with the Washington Redskins drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. 

Young led the FBS with 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2019, and was regarded to be the most talented player in the draft class – even ahead of Burrow. 

If not for Burrow's incredible 2019 season and because of Tua Tagovailoa's injury concerns, the latter may have challenged for the top spot in the 2020 draft. 

Tagovailoa became the second quarterback off the board when he was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth pick.

One pick after Tagovailoa, the Los Angeles Chargers took Oregon QB Justin Herbert – just the third time since the 1970 merger three quarterbacks were chosen in the top six picks. 

Three teams that had selected quarterbacks in the first round of the last two drafts, used the 2020 draft to beef up their offensive lines to protect their young, franchise QBs. 

The New York Giants (Daniel Jones at six in 2019) picked Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas at fourth overall, the Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield at one in 2018) selected Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 10th pick, and the New York Jets (Sam Darnold third in 2018) used the next pick to select Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. 

After this run on tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took part in the first trade of the draft to insure their new – and aging – quarterback would also stay upright. They moved up one spot in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to select Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs at 13 to shore up the offensive line in front of Tom Brady. 

The next trade came 10 picks later as Brady's old team, New England Patriots, dealt pick 23 to the Chargers – who selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. The Patriots received a second and third-round pick from the Chargers and now have five of the first 100 picks of the 2020 draft and 13 overall. 

While it is possible New England could use one of those picks to draft Brady's replacement, the Green Bay Packers have chosen the heir apparent to 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers, trading up from 30th to 26th to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

The opening round concluded with the defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs selecting the first running back to bookend the first round with LSU picks, taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire – the 14th player drafted out of the SEC. 

Wide receiver is considered to be the deepest position in the draft, and six went in the first round – but none until 12, when Alabama's Henry Ruggs III became the first player ever selected by the Raiders in their new home of Las Vegas. 

While Las Vegas was not able to host the draft festivities this year, Goodell announced that the city has been awarded the 2022 draft, with the commissioner saying, "We think you deserve another shot".

 

First round selections:

1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
2. Chase Young (Washington Redskins)
3. Jeff Okudah (Detroit Lions)
4. Andrew Thomas (New York Giants)
5. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
6. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
7. Derrick Brown (Carolina Panthers)
8. Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals)
9. CJ Henderson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
10. Jedrick Wills Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
11. Mekhi Becton (New York Jets)
12. Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders)
13. Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
14. Javon Kinlaw (San Francisco 49ers)
15. Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
16. A.J. Terrell (Atlanta Falcons)
17. CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
18. Austin Jackson (Miami Dolphins)
19. Damon Arnette (Las Vegas Raiders)
20. K'Lavon Chaisson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
21. Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
23. Kenneth Murray (Los Angeles Chargers)
24. Cesar Ruiz (New Orleans Saints)
25. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
26. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)
27. Jordyn Brooks (Seattle Seahawks)
28. Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens)
29. Isaiah Wilson (Tennessee Titans)
30. Noah Igbinoghene (Miami Dolphins)
31. Jeff Gladney (Minnesota Vikings)
32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)

New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams signed his non-exclusive franchise tender, the NFL franchise announced.

The Giants placed the franchise tag on Williams on March 16 and depending on if he is being tagged as a defensive end or a defensive tackle, will determine his salary for the 2020 season.

The franchise tag for a defensive end is set at $17.8million and defensive tackle is at $16.1m.

Williams – the sixth overall pick of the 2015 draft by the New York Jets – did little to impress during his time with the Giants last season.

Acquired before the trade deadline for a third- and a fifth-round draft pick despite not being signed past the 2019 season, the 25-year-old had just 0.5 sacks in eight games with the Giants.

His entire five-year NFL career has been mostly underwhelming, totaling 17.5 sacks and 135 tackles.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch confirmed Marquise Goodwin is on the trading block and the wide receiver has come close to being dealt a couple of times. 

Speaking via a conference call with reporters on Monday, Lynch was asked to address a report from Michael Lombardi that said the 49ers made Goodwin, Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt available to be traded. 

Lynch acknowledged Goodwin's name was indeed involved in trade talks. 

"Marquise is the one guy out of that group that you mentioned where there's active discussions going on," Lynch said. "The other guys, we love and are really looking forward to playing with moving forward."

The 29-year-old Goodwin, who still has two years remaining on a deal to pay him a little over $10million, had 12 receptions for 186 yards in nine games last season before landing on Injured Reserve and missing San Francisco's run to the NFL Super Bowl. 

A third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2013, Goodwin signed as a free agent with the 49ers in March 2017 after spending his first four years in Buffalo.

The 2017 season ended up being the best of his seven-year career, as he finished with personal bests of 56 receptions and 962 yards. 

Lynch said Goodwin has nearly been traded a few times, and it appears his days in San Francisco are numbered. 

"There's a scenario where Marquise can help us," Lynch said. "He brings a lot to the table, so we have been in discussions.

"It came close a couple of times. There's a lot of different aspects to being able to close these deals, and he's a guy, because we know he has value, we continue to hang on and we'll see if something happens here." 

With just over 72 hours until Commissioner Roger Goodell begins announcing NFL Draft selections, there is plenty of speculation over what some teams are looking to do with their first-round picks.

The San Francisco 49ers have two first-round picks – the 13th overall and 31st  – and are open to trading one or both of them, according to ESPN. 

The defending NFC champions do not have picks in the second, third or fourth round – going without any selections from after their pick at 31 until their fifth-round pick at No. 156 – and are looking to accrue more selections, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

The New York Giants have the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, and theoretically already have a quarterback after selecting Daniel Jones with the sixth pick a year ago, but they are still reportedly interested in Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert in the first round. 

Giants first-year coach Joe Judge had a FaceTime conversation with Herbert, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, and New York has been doing extensive research on the 2020 Senior Bowl MVP. 

However, this could just be some gamesmanship by the Giants, as a couple of teams right behind them in the draft – the Miami Dolphins at No. 5 and the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6 – are in need of a quarterback, and New York could potentially be looking at driving up the price of their pick and trading down. 

Jones had an inconsistent rookie season, leading the Giants to a pair of wins in his first two starts but went just 1-10 as a starter the rest of the way. He finished the year completing 61.9 per cent of his passes for 3,027 yards, 24 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions. 

Herbert was sensational as a senior last season, completing 66.8 percent of his passes for 3,471 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions for an Oregon team that beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and finished the year ranked No. 5 in the final AP poll. 

In what will be a highly unusual NFL Draft, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is considering a move he has never made before. 

The Giants hold the fourth overall pick in Thursday's first round, a potentially advantageous position for a team that landed what it believes to be its quarterback of the future with last year's selection of Daniel Jones.

With Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert in high demand from teams seeking a young quarterback, Gettleman may have the opportunity to parlay the pick into multiple choices to help fill needs that still remain after an active offseason venture into free agency.  

Gettleman has not traded down in seven previous drafts as the GM of either the Giants or Carolina Panthers, but he told reporters during a conference call on Friday he is very open to doing so. 

 "It's something I would seriously entertain," he said.

 After bolstering two problem areas on defense with the free-agent signings of cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez, Gettleman is set to focus on fortifying an offensive line that is without its starting center and right tackle from last season.

Offensive tackle happens to be one of the deeper areas of this year's draft class with four players - Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, Alabama's Jedrick Wills, Georgia's Andrew Thomas and Louisville's Mekhi Becton - projected to come off the board within the first 15 picks. 

"It's a thick group," Gettleman said. "There are tackles throughout the draft. There's a lot of talent there." 

Another benefit to a trade-down would be the potential to recoup a third-round pick the Giants currently lack, having surrendered that choice to cross-town rivals the New York Jets last October for defensive lineman Leonard Williams. 

With several options on the table, Gettleman said he and the coaches have not yet zeroed in on a particular player or position group whenever the Giants do make their first selection. 

"I'm still working on it," he said. "At the end of the day, I have to think long-term and short-term.

"At the end of the day, the decision we make will be what's best for the Giants, and it will be a collective, collaborative decision." 

The NFL Draft is a crucial part of the team-building process, with this year as important as ever even though selections will be made remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With a dramatic free agency period now largely complete, contenders for Super Bowl glory in the 2020 season have already emerged.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints are expected to feature prominently in the playoffs once more, with Tom Brady's arrival putting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the mix as well.

All 32 teams understand the draft's importance, though while some of the top rosters may only need to fill one or two needs and ideally select the best player available, others are facing critical decisions that could alter the future of their franchise.

For the following eight teams, the pressure is on ahead of a 2020 draft that could impact their postseason chances, and the job security of those in charge, for many years to come.
 

Las Vegas Raiders

Armed with two first-round selections thanks to the Khalil Mack trade, the Raiders will pick at 12 and 19. Head coach Jon Gruden has had two losing seasons since signing his big-money contract, while Mike Mayock's first draft as general manager, that included three 2019 first-round picks, received mixed reviews on the evidence of last season. 

With question marks over whether Derek Carr will be the long-term quarterback, the Raiders need to give him weapons and will desperately hope to land one of the star receivers, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs.

Secondary help with their other top pick could address another key need, with the Raiders in need of tangible progress in their first year in Vegas following the departures of Mack and Amari Cooper in exchange for draft assets over recent seasons.

New York Giants

The Giants will pick at number 4 this year, having selected at 2 and 6 over the past two years – a sign that all has not been well on the field. Running back Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones have been their previous premium selections. An offensive tackle or versatile safety-linebacker hybrid Isaiah Simmons are seen as the most likely options this time around.

After the firing of head coach Pat Shurmur, pressure is on GM Dave Gettleman to hit with that pick and his selection at 36 for a roster still needing a significant injection of talent under Joe Judge. With no playoff win since their 2011 championship season, fans are growing impatient.

Miami Dolphins

After stripping the roster bare in 2019, free agency saw the Dolphins begin to use the salary cap space they had freed up, with Byron Jones lured from the Dallas Cowboys to be made the NFL's highest-paid cornerback. 

Now it is time for the Dolphins to start making the most of their masses of draft capital. They have three picks in the first round - 5, 18 and 26 – and three more across rounds two and three (39, 56 and 70).

They face a key decision regarding their long-term future at QB, with current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick only a bridge option. If they are happy with his medical reports, the Dolphins could trade up for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, stay at five to see if he drops, or instead go down a different route by taking Justin Herbert or Jordan Love with one of their three first-rounders.

That is a decision of paramount importance and with so many other selections in a deep class at tackle and receiver, it is a draft that, if they get it right, could catapult the Dolphins into being perennial AFC East contenders after the New England Patriots lost Brady.

Detroit Lions

Just nine wins in two seasons since arriving from the Patriots has Matt Patricia under pressure in Detroit. After trading Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions have been strongly linked with cornerback Jeffrey Okudah at number three overall.

With picks near the top of the second and third rounds too, and number 85 picked up as part of the deal for Slay, Lions GM Bob Quinn has options, including trading down from three. This is a pivotal draft in the team's rebuild.

Atlanta Falcons

The Saints have won the NFC South for three straight seasons and Brady's arrival with the Bucs gives the division another powerhouse. 

That leaves the Falcons in a difficult spot, given they have underwhelmed since their Super Bowl collapse at the end of the 2016 season. The Falcons are not rebuilding, and the clock is ticking for them with QB Matt Ryan now 34 and star wideout Julio Jones 31. 

Unlike many of the other teams in this list, the Falcons are not blessed with extensive draft capital, with only number 15, 47 and 78 in the top 100. GM Thomas Dimitroff may have to pull off something special if his team are to keep pace with divisional rivals led by Brady and Drew Brees.

New England Patriots

All eyes are on the Patriots after Brady's departure. Bill Belichick has given little away, this draft will tell us if he plans to draft an immediate successor, with his other options being rolling with Jarrett Stidham at QB in 2020, and potentially beyond, or signing a free agent like Cam Newton.

The Patriots have a pick at 23 that is prompting huge debate, given they are not scheduled to make another selection until number 87. If they go QB in the first round, it will leave the roster without star offensive weapons, one of the factors that frustrated Brady towards the end of his tenure.

Belichick has praised the depth and quality of the QB class and could wait to see if a developmental option under center is available in the middle rounds while selecting an immediate contributor at another position in round one. Or, he could do nothing and build around Stidham or a veteran recruit.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are one of the most intriguing teams in this year's draft with picks at nine and 20, as well as a second-round selection at 42. Trading away Nick Foles appeared to indicate Gardner Minshew will be unchallenged at QB, but would that remain the case if the team have a high grade on Herbert or Love and either fall into their lap?

Jacksonville's defense is in a complete rebuild after last season's Jalen Ramsey trade was followed by the offseason exits of A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell, while more receiving options for Minshew are also needed.

Two frustrating seasons have followed their AFC Championship berth and the pressure is on - this draft must set foundations to move the team towards contending again.

Minnesota Vikings

While Kirk Cousins' big-money contract extension removes any questions about the Vikings' future at quarterback, they go into the draft with some glaring needs.

The evaluations on whether they were wise to trade away Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills will be based on how they replace him with a historic class of a receivers to choose from. Cornerback reinforcements are a key requirement on the defensive side of the ball.

Having renewed their commitment to Cousins and with the Green Bay Packers to chase down in the NFC North, the Vikings - who pick at 22 and 25 in the first round - need to hit at those priority positions if they are to compete this year.

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 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.

Nate Solder knows all about the New England Patriots' winning culture and feels that will rub off on the New York Giants following Joe Judge's appointment as head coach.

The Giants last month hired former New England special teams coordinator Judge to succeed Pat Shurmur following a disappointing 4-12 campaign.

Judge was part of three Super Bowl-winning teams on Bill Belichick's staff, though his new role with the Giants is his first as a head coach.

Offensive lineman Solder, who won two Super Bowl rings in New England when Judge was there, believes his new head coach can bring 'The Patriot Way' to New York.

"He's a disciplined guy, he's a tough guy," left tackle Solder told Omnisport.

"He's got a winning model. He's won a lot of championships, been part of a championship games.

"I think those are all things that are going to benefit us hugely going forward."

The Giants are moving on without Eli Manning in 2020, the veteran quarterback having called time on his 16-season career after he lost his starting spot to rookie Daniel Jones in 2019.

Manning led the Giants to two Lombardi Trophies but his Hall of Fame candidacy remains a bone of contention, with his supporters highlighting his titles and longevity as his detractors point to average numbers.

Solder, though, has nothing but praise for Manning's dedication to his craft.

"What an honour," he said of playing with Manning. "I got to play with Tom Brady, I got to play with Eli Manning. I'm truly blessed for that.

"I've learned so many great lessons from him in terms of competitiveness, preparation and Eli's steadfastness through so many ups and downs.

"He was so steadfast and he was just consistent every day. He was the same guy.

"That's not easy to do, especially in the isolating position of being a quarterback, with so many expectations. I thought he did an excellent, wonderful job."

First-rounder Jones certainly impressed after replacing Manning, though, finishing the season with 3,027 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games.

"I think he's absolutely going to be better in his second year," Solder said of Jones.

"He did a lot of great things this year. It's tough to be a quarterback in this league, he's got a lot to learn, but he's very committed to getting better and I think that's going to pay off."

Eli Manning says he is "at peace" with his decision to retire as he had no plans to represent anyone other than the New York Giants.

The Giants confirmed on Wednesday that the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback would retire from the NFL, ending a 16-year spell with the team.

Manning joined the Giants in a controversial draft-day trade after being selected by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and led them to Super Bowl success in 2007 and 2011, both victories coming against the New England Patriots.

Plans are in place to retire Manning's number 10 jersey and the 39-year-old has not ruled out returning to the MetLife Stadium in a coaching capacity, but first he wants time to reflect on his career.

"I'll take some time just to figure out how I want to spend these next years first," he said at Friday's retirement press conference.

"This sport has very few real farewells. It's impossible to explain the satisfaction, and actually the joy, I've experienced being a Giant.

"From the very first moment, I did it my way. I couldn't be someone other than who I am. 

"Undoubtedly I would've made the fans, the media and even the front office more comfortable if I was a more rah-rah guy. 

"But that's not me. Ultimately I choose to believe that my team-mates and the fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure unadulterated Eli."

Manning split opinion throughout his career and bows out with 57,023 passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions.

Asked why now was the right time to announce his retirement, he added: "It was important for me to retire as a Giant. It was the right decision. 

"I know it is and I'm at peace with it. I think that's what has made this day a little bit easier.

"Wellington Mara used to say, 'Once a Giant, always a Giant.' For me, it's only a giant."

Giants co-owner John Mara also spoke at Friday's ceremony and confirmed Manning will be inducted into their Ring of Honor next season.

"This is certainly a day of very mixed emotions for us," he said. "It's sad in one sense because we're seeing the end of an incredible playing career and saying goodbye to someone who has been everything you could ask a player to be both on and off the field for the last 16 years. 

"Yet we're also very happy to that we get to be here to celebrate that incredible career and we're also able to witness one of the greatest players in franchise history be able to leave the game on his own terms, having played his whole career with the Giants, something that doesn't always happen in this business.

"If anybody deserved that opportunity it's Eli Manning. The last 16 years Eli has meant so much to all of us here with the giants and our fans. 

"We all know about the two Super Bowl MVPs and all of the great performances on the field, but just as important was the way he conducted himself on and off the field as the consummate professional, always with dignity always with class."

Eli Manning, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New York Giants, is to retire from the NFL.

Manning joined the Giants in 2004 in one of the more controversial moments in the history of the NFL Draft. Originally selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers despite his insistence he did not want to play for them, Manning was quickly traded to the Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers, whom New York had selected with the fourth pick.

He went on to lead the Giants to Super Bowl triumphs in the 2007 and 2011 seasons, both of his victories coming against the New England Patriots and his first marking arguably the greatest upset in Super Bowl history with Bill Belichick's team having gone undefeated in the regular season.

Despite twice winning the Lombardi Trophy, Manning has remained one of the more divisive figures in the NFL, with the merits of his career the subject of great debate as his skills have declined in the latter years of his career.

However, the Giants are in no doubt as to his place in the history of the storied franchise.

"For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field," Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said.

"Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise's history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability.

"It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organisation and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honour in the near future."

"We are proud to have called Eli Manning our quarterback for so many years," added Steve Tisch, Giants chairman and executive vice-president.

"Eli was driven to always do what was best for the team. Eli leaves a timeless legacy with two Super Bowl titles on the field and his philanthropic work off the field, which has inspired and impacted so many people.

"We are sincerely thankful for everything Eli has given our team and community. He will always be a Giant among Giants."

Manning, who will announce his retirement on Friday, will end his career with 57,023 career passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions. He also scored seven rushing touchdowns.

Controversially benched for one game in 2017, Manning started every game of a 2018 season in which the Giants went 5-11. He started the first two games of 2019 before being benched for rookie Daniel Jones.

An injury to Jones forced Manning back into the line-up for two further starts and he followed a defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles with a victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 15 to finish with 117 wins and 117 losses, a fitting record for a quarterback who split opinion throughout his career.

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