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Minnesota Vikings sign LB Eric Kendricks to five-year extension – WSAIGO Sports
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Minnesota Vikings sign LB Eric Kendricks to five-year extension

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Veteran safety Morgan Burnett wants release from Pittsburgh Steelers

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PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ big free agent signing of 2018 says one year in Pittsburgh is enough as veteran safety Morgan Burnett would like to be released from his contract.

Burnett told NFL Network that a release would help him return to his natural position of safety instead of as a dime linebacker with the Steelers. Burnett missed four of the first six games of the season, and the Steelers continued to start rookie Terrell Edmunds in his absence.

Burnett recorded 30 tackles and six pass deflections in a subpackage role over 11 games. Edmunds and third-year player Sean Davis occupied both starting safety spots for the season.

A source told ESPN that Burnett hasn’t officially requested a release and isn’t sure whether the team will honor the request.

The Steelers signed Burnett, 30, to a three-year, $14.25-million contract in March, including a $4.25-million signing bonus. Releasing Burnett would save $2.16 million on the salary cap. Burnett played eight seasons for the Green Bay Packers before hitting free agency.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has fine for gesture significantly reduced

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The NFL significantly reduced the fine Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield received for a gesture he made on the sidelines during a December win over Cincinnati, according to a source.

Following an appeal, the league reduced the fine from $10,026 to just less than $1,700, a source close to the proceedings said.

The fine was originally assessed Dec. 29 for what the league determined was a suggestive gesture. But the source said the facts presented in the hearing did not support the fine.

The Browns stood by Mayfield, with now head coach Freddie Kitchens saying the gesture was an “inside deal” within the team and was “not a big deal.”

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Extending John Harbaugh is one coaching decision that makes sense – Baltimore Ravens Blog

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens and coach John Harbaugh have an agreement in principle on a long-term extension, which is the one coaching decision this offseason that makes the most sense.

This is a reward for turning a spiraling Ravens team into AFC North champions and giving a vision for what to expect from new franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson. This is a strong vote of confidence for the best coach in team history and for a leader who has the NFL’s best postseason track record over the past 11 years outside of Bill Belichick.

The biggest reason why this was a no-brainer resolution comes in the form of a question: Who would the Ravens replace him with?

Kliff Kingsbury? He went 35-40 in six years at Texas Tech — which included two seasons with Patrick Mahomes as his starter — before being dismissed in November.

Matt LaFleur? He was the playcaller for the NFL’s No. 25 offense and got shut out by the Ravens in October.

Bruce Arians? The 66-year-old has health issues in his past and retired a year ago, saying, “I wasn’t enjoying the game as much as I had in the past.”

While no one knows how any of these surprising hires will pan out, Harbaugh has proven to be as sure of a bet as there is in today’s coaching landscape. His 10 playoff wins since 2008 rank second only to Belichick. Harbaugh has led Baltimore to the playoffs seven times in the past 11 seasons and has had one losing record over that span. The other coaches who can boast that are Belichick, Mike Tomlin and Pete Carroll.

Harbaugh is at a different level than these other candidates, which is why he presumably would have been at the top of the list for any team looking for a new head coach. He has a Super Bowl ring, 114 victories (including playoffs) and a reputation for getting the most out of his team despite injuries, the lack of game-changing playmakers and uneven quarterback play.

If a team had offered draft picks in a trade for Harbaugh, that would have been an intriguing proposition for Baltimore. But an argument can be made that Harbaugh has kept the Ravens in the playoff race at the end of the season nearly every year despite some disappointing drafts.

Under Harbaugh, Baltimore has repeatedly overcome missing on some high draft picks. Since 2009, the Ravens have drafted two players (linebacker C.J. Mosley and fullback Kyle Juszczyk) who made the Pro Bowl during their time in Baltimore. Over that time, Harbaugh led the Ravens to the playoffs six times, including winning the Super Bowl in 2012.

Harbaugh is coming off what arguably was his best season. He helped turn around the Ravens from wallowing at 4-5 at the bye to playing host to a postseason game, and he did so with a rookie quarterback. Jackson went 6-1 as a starter in the regular season because of an offensive system constructed by Harbaugh and his staff.

With Harbaugh, there is a confidence level that Jackson can develop because of how the past two months played out. With a new coach, there’s more uncertainty as to whether Jackson’s unique skill set will be maximized.

NFL history has shown an extended run of success comes when teams have cornerstones in place at head coach and quarterback. The Ravens are hoping they have their franchise quarterback in Jackson. But Baltimore already knows the commodity it has in Harbaugh, which is why a recommitment to him will represent the best move the Ravens will make this offseason.

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