Vikings sign G Josh Kline

The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with G Josh Kline, the team announced on Wednesday.

According to ESPN.COM’s Courtney Cronin, it’s a three-year deal worth $15.75 million.

Kline joins Minnesota for his seventh NFL season in 2019. The Mason, Ohio, native originally signed with the New England Patriots as a rookie free agent on May 3, 2013, and most recently spent the 2016-2018 seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

Kline has started 64 of his 79 career regular season game appearances, including an active streak of 46 consecutive starts at right guard, the longest active streak in the NFL among all guards.

Prior to being claimed off waivers by Tennessee on September 8, 2016, Kline spent three seasons with New England from 2013-15, appearing in 33 regular season games with 18 starts. The Kent State alum has also appeared in six career playoff games, starting five, and was a member of the New England team that won Super Bowl XLIX after the 2014 season.

 

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Complete Week 17 schedule; Colts-Titans flexed to SNF

The Indianapolis Colts will face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football on NBC, the NFL announced today.

The winner of the Indianapolis-Tennessee game will advance to the NFL playoffs.

If the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Seattle Seahawks in tonight’s game, Kansas City will host the Oakland Raiders at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.  If Seattle defeats Kansas City, the Raiders-Chiefs game will be played at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS.

A look at the Week 17 schedule (all times ET):

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM FOX
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM FOX
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants 1:00 PM FOX
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers 1:00 PM FOX
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans 1:00 PM CBS
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM CBS
New York Jets at New England Patriots 1:00 PM CBS
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs* 1:00 or 4:25 PM CBS
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks 4:25 PM FOX
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings 4:25 PM FOX
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers 4:25 PM CBS
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens 4:25 PM CBS
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos 4:25 PM CBS
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins 4:25 PM FOX
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams 4:25 PM FOX
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans 8:20 PM NBC

Henry: ‘We were in the huddle, they were like, ‘You got to break a 99-yard’

Titans RB Derrick Henry is one of the unlikeliest players to have a 99-yard TD run, but Thursday night in Tennessee, Henry used his stiff-arm to rumble 99 yards to pay dirt as the Titans routed the Jaguars 30-9.

The third-year RB matched Tony Dorsett’s 99-yarder against the Vikings in 1983. Henry would finish the night with 238 yards and four touchdowns.

After the game, Henry, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, and Titans QB Marcus Mariota described what they saw on that 99-yard TD run:

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel:

(on what he saw specifically on the 99-yard run by Derrick Henry)

“He just ran out of guys to stiff arm. Just be careful getting too close to him, because I think I saw three of them from the 30 on. He’s been great, because it hasn’t been perfect. I think his attitude has been great. I think when you’re not doing things well as a team, or as an offense, or defense, or special teams, you know, there’s an opportunity to get frustrated with what’s going on. But, I think you just keep working and staying the course, and I think that’s what we did tonight. We had a good week of practice. These guys were focused. This isn’t easy to come back a few days later, felt like you slept twice, and it was time for the game.”

Titans QB Marcus Mariota:

(on the stiff arms Derrick Henry delivered to the Jaguars defense on his 99-yard touchdown)

“It was incredible. There is nothing like it. To be honest with you, it looked like it got bottled up and then he found his way out of it. Once that guy gets in the open field, he’s so hard to bring down. It is, it’s a treat to watch.”

Titans RB Derrick Henry:

(on how he felt on the 99-yard touchdown run)

“Trying to catch my breath. No, I’m just kidding. It’s so crazy, because before when we were in the huddle, they were like, ‘You got to break a 99-yard.’ My main focus is to get positive yards, but when I had the ball and I got it, I just saw it and I just hit it. My stiff arm was working, so that’s all about that. But, like I said, it started upfront with those guys. All of us, 11 of us, executing that play for that to happen.”

 (on what he heard on the Titans sideline after he scored a 99-yard touchdown)

“Everybody was just going crazy. I’m trying to hit helmets with everybody, dap everybody up. It was a crazy play. Like I said, us as a whole, we executed that.”

(on what he did with the ball from the 99-yard run)

“I’m definitely going to keep mine. When I see Tony (Dorsett) again, you know, I got to spend a lot of time with him when I was at the Heisman. You know, he’s a legend. It’s cool to be in that company with Tony (Dorsett).”

Titans’ Jurrell Casey: ‘We knew to put the game in Bortles’ hands’

Tennessee Titans Pro Bowl DT Jurrell Casey has been very critical of Jaguars QB Blake Bortles.

“As long as Bortles is back there if the ballgame is in his hands, he’s going to choke,” Casey told 104.5 The Zone in Nashville back in January.

Today, putting the ball in Bortles’ hands worked as the Titans defense stifled the Jaguars’ offense, which helped Tennessee beat Jacksonville 9-6 at TIAA Bank Field.

The Jaguars(2-1) have now lost three in a row to the Titans(2-1) after getting swept last season by Tennessee.

After the game, Casey, who sacked Bortles on Sunday, told reporters that Titans wanted to keep Bortles in the pocket and see if he can beat them with his arm:

“We knew to put the game in Bortles’ hands, and that was our game plan coming in; give the game to Bortles,” Casey said. “We found ways to get to him and last year they did a good job protecting him and picking up blitzes. We wanted to keep Bortles in the pocket, and we knew he likes to scramble.”

The game plan worked to perfection. Bortles threw for a paltry 155 yards, and was sacked three times as Tennessee limited the Jaguars to just two field goals, so until Bortles proves otherwise, the Titans game plan will probably not change moving forward.

 

 

Titans’ Quinton Spain earns the most ‘Performance-Based Pay’ in 2017(Complete List)

NFL Players will receive $134.16 million in “Performance-Based Pay” for their performance during the 2017 season, the NFL announced today. The Performance-Based Pay program is a collectively-bargained benefit that compensates all players, including rookies, based upon their playing time and salary levels.

Tennessee Titans’ guard Quinton Spain earned the highest amount of all NFL players, both in the Performance-Based Pay program, as well as the Veteran Pool. Under the combined pools, Spain will receive $489,782. Spain, a 2015 undrafted free agent out of West Virginia, played in 14 games for the Titans this season, starting all games in which he played. He played in 85.71% of Tennessee’s offensive plays, as well 13.08% of the Titans’ special teams plays, while earning the league minimum salary for a player with two credited seasons. See the tables below for the top 25 bonuses in each category.

Players have been paid nearly $1.4 billion cumulatively since the inception of the Performance-Based Pay program, which was implemented as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players Association, and continues as part of the parties’ current agreement.

The Veteran Pool is a component of the Rookie Redistribution Fund, which is a player benefit that was created under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL Players Association elected to fund the Veteran Pool for the first time in 2016 and extended the benefit for the 2017 season.

TOP 25 PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY DISTRIBUTIONS FOR 2017

 

PLAYER

 

CLUB

 

POS

 

COLLEGE

ROOKIE

YEAR

DRAFT

ROUND

 

DISTRIBUTION

1 Quinton Spain Tennessee G West Virginia 2015 UDFA $ 385,490.95
2 Wes Schweitzer Atlanta G San Jose State 2016 6 $ 376,698.80
3 Jalen Mills Philadelphia CB LSU 2016 7 $ 364,744.97
4 Anthony Brown Dallas CB Purdue 2016 6 $ 345,299.22
5 Keelan Cole Jacksonville WR Kentucky Wesleyan 2017 UDFA $ 344,998.87
6 Nicholas Morrow Oakland LB Greenville 2017 UDFA $ 337,312.82
7 Eddie Jackson Chicago S Alabama 2017 4 $ 334,782.65
8 John Wetzel Arizona T Boston College 2013 UDFA $ 333,603.68
9 Kevin Byard Tennessee S Middle Tennessee 2016 3 $ 333,066.93
10 Mike Hilton Pittsburgh CB Mississippi 2016 UDFA $ 327,377.67
11 Daryl Williams Carolina T Oklahoma 2015 4 $ 321,834.89
12 Jayon Brown Tennessee LB UCLA 2017 5 $ 321,425.69
13 Trevor Williams LA Chargers CB Penn State 2016 UDFA $ 316,820.42
14 Shaq Mason New England G Georgia Tech 2015 4 $ 314,837.80
15 Ricardo Allen Atlanta S Purdue 2014 5 $ 313,711.25
16 Dak Prescott Dallas QB Mississippi State 2016 4 $ 313,406.43
17 Trey Hopkins Cincinnati G Texas 2014 UDFA $ 310,435.00
18 Jesse Davis Miami G/T Idaho 2015 UDFA $ 308,989.36
19 Spencer Pulley LA Chargers C Vanderbilt 2016 UDFA $ 304,021.36
20 Tyler Larsen Carolina C Utah State 2014 UDFA $ 299,594.37
21 Joe Thuney New England G North Carolina State 2016 3 $ 296,620.57
22 Ken Crawley New Orleans CB Colorado 2016 UDFA $ 295,826.77
23 Jesse James Pittsburgh TE Penn State 2015 5 $ 293,971.07
24 Halapoulivaati Vaitai Philadelphia T TCU 2016 5 $ 293,132.51
25 Blake Martinez Green Bay LB Stanford 2016 4 $ 291,170.83

UDFA – Undrafted free agent

Report: Dion Lewis to Titans

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Titans and RB Dion Lewis have agreed to a four-year contract.

Lewis, 27, rushed for 896 yards and six touchdowns last season with the Patriots.

The deal will not become official until Wednesday at 4 PM ET.

Lewis becomes the second former Patriots player to sign with the Titans as Tennessee agreed to terms with ex-Patriots corner Malcolm Butler earlier in the day.

Report: Titans sign Malcolm Butler

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Titans and former Patriots CB Malcolm Butler agreed to five-year, $61 million deal with $30 million plus guaranteed.

Butler, who spent four seasons with the Patriots, did not play in Super Bowl 52 after being benched for an unknown reason.

Patriots fans will forever remember Butler for his game-clinching interception against the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.

The deal cannot be finalized until Wednesday at 4 PM ET when the free agent signing period begins.

HOF Willie Roaf on Titans: ‘I think people are sleeping on Tennessee’

After 12 games, the Tennessee Titans were 8-4 and looked like a team that could make some noise in the playoff. Then, they went on a three-game losing streak and needed to beat the Jaguars in Week 17, which they did, to make the playoffs.

Last week, in the wild-card round of the playoffs, the Titans were down 21-3 at halftime against the Chiefs. Then, Marcus Mariota caught his own pass for a touchdown; Derrick Henry started running the ball with purpose, the offense came alive, and just like that, the Titans beat the Chiefs 22-21 in Kansas City.

Now, they go to New England to battle the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday night.

Not many are giving the Titans a chance against the Patriots, but Hall of Famer Willie Roaf thinks the Titans have a shot:

“I think people are sleeping on Tennessee,” Roaf told the Go4it podcast with Paul Gant.

Roaf explained why he thinks Tennessee has a shot against the Patriots:

“If Tom Brady isn’t on top of things, that defense for Tennessee is underrated,” Roaf said. “The offensive line is excellent; you know they are running downhill. They are an old-school football team. If they keep it close, they’re dangerous. I worry about New England. Don’t take this game for granted because (Marcus) Mariota can beat you with his arms and with his legs. He can make plays, and he made plays against Kansas City last week. This is a team that wants to hang around, hang around. They run the ball. Look at the time of possession in the second half. The Chiefs were not even on the field. And 37(Johnathan Cyprien) is a head hunter. He took Kelce out, and he covers well. I’m telling you this is a team Tennessee the way that they play. If New England jumps on them early, I think it will be a blow out. If New England does not jump on this team early, and let them hang around, they will be dangerous. They’re a dangerous team.”

The Titans have to play a lot better against the Patriots than they did against the Chiefs. If you get down 21-3 against the Patriots, you’re probably not coming back. Therefore, Tennessee needs to get out early, get production from Henry and the run game, and hope that Mariota can make a few plays with his arm and legs.

Roaf talks Titans at 35:00

 

Eagles, Seahawks, Titans to make London debuts in 2018

The National Football League today announced the schedule of London Games for 2018, featuring a series of firsts, including a debut at a new stadium and three teams playing a regular-season game in London for the first time.

 The 2018 London Games schedule:

Week Date Visiting Team Home Team Site
6 10/14/18 Seattle Seahawks Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur
7 or 8 10/21/18 or 10/28/18 Philadelphia Eagles Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium
7or 8 10/21/18 or 10/28/18 Tennessee Titans Los Angeles Chargers Wembley Stadium

 English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium is the site of the first game of the 2018 London schedule in Week 6 on Sunday, October 14, as the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks.  The Raiders, the home team in London for a second time, welcome the Seahawks to Tottenham for their first game in London. Tottenham’s new stadium becomes the third venue to stage a regular-season game in the UK, joining Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium.

The following two weeks, October 21 and 28, two additional teams will make their London debuts as visiting teams. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the Jacksonville Jaguars in a matchup of 2017 playoff teams, while the Tennessee Titans will face the Los Angeles Chargers. The order of the games, along with all kickoff times, will be confirmed at a later date.

“We continue to be very excited by the growth of the NFL in the UK,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “The fans have demonstrated outstanding support and passion for the NFL over the past 11 seasons and we look forward to some great games in London this year. A key feature of our success is playing in iconic, world-renowned venues like Wembley and Twickenham, and we look forward to playing in what will be another incredible setting for NFL football at Tottenham’s new stadium.”

Mayor of London SADIQ KHAN said: “London is the international home of the NFL and I am really excited to welcome the world’s best American football stars and their thousands of fans from around the globe back to our city.

“I’m delighted Tottenham Hotspur’s fantastic new stadium is joining the line-up of world-class sports arenas in our great city. Spurs’ new ground will stage one game in its first year of opening and in 2019 we look forward to going back to staging at least four NFL games in London. Once again, London has shown why it is the sporting capital of the world and open to the very best sports events.”

By the end of the 2018 season, the NFL will have played 24 regular-season games in London, with 29 of 32 teams having participated.

“This is another important year as we develop our plans for London and the UK,” said NFL Executive Vice President of International and Events MARK WALLER.

“By playing games on three consecutive weeks we will learn a lot, both from the fans buying tickets and attending games, and from a logistics and organizational standpoint.

“We are very excited about playing our first game at Tottenham’s magnificent new stadium and will follow our usual pattern of playing one game in our first season at a new venue, as we did at Wembley and Twickenham in previous years. This enables us to achieve important learnings relating to the fans’ preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two per year, to make up for this.”

The NFL and Tottenham Hotspur announced in 2015 that they had reached agreement for a minimum of two games per year to be played during a 10-year partnership. The state-of-the-art stadium, due to open this summer, will feature a retractable grass field with an artificial surface underneath that will be used for NFL games. It will also have customized features such as locker rooms, medical and media facilities and a dedicated entrance.

“This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham,” said Tottenham Hotspur chairman DANIEL LEVY.

“The announcement of the first game of the NFL’s 2018 London Games to take place at our new home heralds the commencement of our 10-year partnership. This is one of the cornerstones of our vision for creating a world-class sports and leisure destination that will make Tottenham a hive of activity 365 days a year and drive the regeneration of one of the most deprived areas of London. The NFL will bring a whole new audience to the local area, showcase Tottenham and bring further economic and social benefits with truly global coverage and attraction.”

The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans in attendance.

“The NFL holds huge value and importance to Wembley Stadium. We are proud to have hosted games under the arch for the past decade and to have played a key role in the growth of the sport,” said MARTIN GLENN, Chief Executive of the Football Association.

“NFL games bring people to the stadium from all over the world, provide a boost to the local economy, and are among the highlights of the Wembley events calendar. Working closely together, we have been able to share knowledge and expertise with the NFL, and continue to learn a great deal from their events and the activation of their games. We are very excited to be welcoming some outstanding playoff teams to the stadium in 2018 and hope our strong partnership will continue for years to come.”

Three of the six teams playing in London in 2018 have made the playoffs this season (Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Tennessee), while two more finished the season with winning records (Seattle, LA Chargers).

All four winning teams in the NFL’s 2017 London Games went on to win their divisions: Jacksonville Jaguars (AFC South), New Orleans Saints (NFC South), Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), Minnesota Vikings (NFC North).

Ticketing details will be announced by NFL UK on January 18. Anyone interested in registering their interest in attending any of the games can do so at www.ticketmaster.com/nfl to ensure they receive all the latest information.

Complete Wild Card weekend schedule

The NFL announced the scheduled for Wild Card weekend tonight.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, January 6

AFC   4:35 PM (ET)

 Tennessee at Kansas City (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC)

NFC:    8:15 PM (ET)

 Atlanta at Los Angeles Rams (NBC)

Sunday, January 7

AFC:    1:05 PM (ET)

 Buffalo at Jacksonville (CBS)

NFC:    4:40 PM (ET)

 Carolina at New Orleans (FOX)

The Divisional Playoffs will be played on Saturday and Sunday, January 13 and 14.

The AFC (CBS, 3:05 PM ET) and NFC (FOX, 6:40 PM ET) Championship Games will be played on Sunday, January 21.

The 2018 Pro Bowl (ESPN, with simulcast on ABC, 3:00 PM ET) will be played on Sunday, January 28 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida and Super Bowl LII will take place on Sunday, February 4 (NBC, 6:30 PM ET) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

American Football Conference

National Football Conference

  1. New England (13-3), AFC East champion

  1. Philadelphia (13-3), NFC East champion

  1. Pittsburgh (13-3), AFC North champion

  1. Minnesota (13-3), NFC North champion

  1. Jacksonville (10-6), AFC South champion

  1. Los Angeles Rams (11-5), NFC West champion

  1. Kansas City (10-6), AFC West champion

  1. New Orleans (11-5), NFC South champion

  1. Tennessee (9-7)

  1. Carolina (11-5)

  1. Buffalo (9-7)

  1. Atlanta (10-6)