Connor Barwin agrees to contract with Los Angeles Rams

Connor Barwin agrees to contract with Los Angeles Rams

Former Eagles defensive end Connor Barwin on Thursday agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Rams. 

It's a one-year, $6.5 million contract, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Barwin, who visited the Rams on Wednesday, will be reunited with Wade Phillips, his defensive coordinator in 2011 and 2012 while with the Houston Texans who now holds the same position with the Rams.

Barwin had just five sacks last season, his first under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. He made the switch from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end and wasn't able to generate the same pass rush.

Prior to his 14.5-sack season with the Eagles in 2014, Barwin's previous career-high was 11.5 in 2011, his first season under Phillips, who will change the Rams' D from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

Had Barwin returned to the Eagles in 2017, he would have come with a cap hit of $8.35 million. By releasing him, the Eagles saved $7.75 million in cap space.

The Eagles will face the Rams in Los Angeles next season.

 

NFL Notes: Redskins QB Kirk Cousins to play under franchise tag again

NFL Notes: Redskins QB Kirk Cousins to play under franchise tag again

Kirk Cousins will be the first quarterback in NFL history to play consecutive seasons on the franchise tag.

Cousins and the Washington Redskins didn't sign a long-term deal by the deadline Monday. He will make $23.94 million on the franchise tag in 2017 after earning $19.95 million last year.

Team president Bruce Allen said in a prepared statement that the Redskins' goal was to sign Cousins to a long-term contract and offered him $53 million guaranteed or $72 million in the event of injury. That would have been the second-most fully guaranteed money given to a QB behind Aaron Rodgers' $54 million.

"Despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk's agent this year," Allen said. "Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis. While we would have liked to work out a long-term contract before this season, we accept his decision" (see full story).

Steelers: Bell fails to reach long-term deal with team
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers and star running back Le'Veon Bell failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract, meaning Bell will play on a one-year tender this season.

Pittsburgh placed the franchise tag on Bell in March and had until Monday afternoon to work out a new deal. Bell instead will make $12.1 million this season, the average of the five highest-paid running backs in the league.

Bell could become an unrestricted free agent next spring or the Steelers could place the franchise tag on him a second time. General manager Kevin Colbert says the team will "resume its efforts" to re-sign Bell next offseason.

The 25-year-old Bell ran for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns and caught another 75 passes in 12 games for Pittsburgh in 2016.

Panthers: GM Gettleman fired after 4 seasons
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Just over a week before training camp opens, the Carolina Panthers have no general manager. And no president.

The team that faded from a Super Bowl spot to a losing season in 2016 fired Dave Gettleman on Monday, eight days before the Panthers get down to preseason business. They already were without a team president after Danny Morrison resigned in February.

Owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement he made the decision after a long evaluation of the team's football operations.

"I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons," Richardson said. "While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed."

The Panthers report to Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on July 25 and have their first practice the following day.

Gettleman had been Carolina's general manager for four seasons, when the Panthers went 43-26-1. But Carolina was 6-10 last season a year after reaching Super Bowl 50, where it lost to Denver. The Panthers had won the NFC South his first three years at the helm (see full story).

Doug Pederson: Eagles 'probably' more talented than '90s Super Bowl Packers

Doug Pederson: Eagles 'probably' more talented than '90s Super Bowl Packers

It's been so long since the Eagles won a playoff game there are only three players still active in the NFL who've worn an Eagles jersey in a playoff victory: Brent Celek, Trent Cole and DeSean Jackson. And Cole may be finished.

It's been almost a decade since the Eagles beat the Giants in a conference semifinal game after the 2008 season. They haven't won a postseason game since, and second-year head coach Doug Pederson's job is to end that streak.

Now.

Howie Roseman brought him receivers, defensive linemen, offensive linemen, corners and a running back, and with Carson Wentz now in Year 2, everything points that way.

Does Pederson think this team is ready to finally make a run?

"I think you’re capable," he said. "There are a lot of (factors). I look back on my time in Green Bay as a player when we were making those playoff runs, those Super Bowl runs there. And do we have as much talent on this team than we did then? We probably have more talent, right?

"But we also had a lot of talent in 2010, here, and where did that get us?"

Pederson spent 1996 through 1998 and 2001 through 2004 backing up Brett Favre in Green Bay, and the Packers reached the postseason in all seven of those seasons, winning seven playoff games and reaching two Super Bowls, winning one.

If the Eagles have as much talent as those Packers teams, shouldn't 10-6 and a playoff berth be a reasonable goal? Maybe more?

"It’s hard to put a number on that," Pederson said. "There’s a lot of things that factor into a season. You can lose your quarterback on opening day."

OK, what if Wentz stays healthy? Is 10 wins a reasonable goal?

“It still goes back to, 'There’s a lot of those factors,' " he said. "So it’s hard to put a number. I’m not going to put myself in a box that way, obviously. It’s still a game-by-game mentality. We focus on our division. We focus on the NFC East, we start there. We have to win those games, focus on those. We focus on the NFC. There’s layers."

The Eagles have reached the playoffs three times since reaching the 2008 NFC Championship Game — 2009 and 2010 under Andy Reid and 2013 under Chip Kelly — only to lose in the wild-card round each time.

The eight-year gap without a playoff win is the Eagles' longest since they went 11 years from 1981 through 1991. The three years without even reaching the postseason matches the franchise's longest drought since a six-year drought from 1982 through 1987.

The Eagles are one of 12 teams that hasn't won a playoff game the last eight years and also one of 12 that hasn't reached the playoffs the last three years.

After winning 10 playoff games and reaching five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl from 2000 through 2008, it's been a dismal eight seasons.

"There has to be a combination of blending all of this talent with a coaching staff, with my ideas and philosophy, to bring all that together, with the egos aside — put pride aside — and just go focus on winning this game that we have in front of us," Pederson said. 

"I’m a big believer that if you do that, then you look back at the end of the season, and you’re probably going to be where you want to be, and that’s playing in the postseason."

The last Eagles head coach to not reach the playoffs in his first two years (not counting the 1987 strike season)?

Marion Campbell in 1983 and 1984.

But if this team has as much talent as those Packers powerhouses, they have to get there this year, right?

“I’m not one to make predictions or bold predictions but obviously (we want) to show the incremental improvement from last season and get better as a football team," Pederson said.

"Ultimately, you're judged and critiqued on Super Bowl wins and getting yourself into the postseason."

The Eagles won their first three games last year, then went 2-9 over the next 11, then won their last two, including the finale over the Cowboys' backups.

It marked the franchise's first back-to-back losing seasons since 1998 and 1999.

“By no means are you satisfied with 7-9, and you definitely want to get better," Pederson said.

"I want to get better personally as a head football coach, not only from managing the football team but also with play calling and just the little things, working with Carson Wentz, spending more time on special teams and defense, getting to know those schemes and philosophies as well. … You’re definitely trying to get yourself better."

How does Pederson define a successful season?

This is a franchise that has gone 56 years without a championship. They are one of only 13 current NFL franchises without a title since 1961, although four of the others — the Chiefs (Texans), Bills, Oilers and Chargers — won AFL titles before the merger.

“Oh, man, if you win the Super Bowl," he said. "That’s a successful year. Thirty-one teams failed to win the Super Bowl. I think if you’re not winning or playing in that game, everyone’s trying the next year.

"I think success can be measured in a few different (ways). If we go 8-8 is that a successful year? I don’t coach to be average. I’ll tell you that. These players don’t practice the way they do to be average. We’re all in this together. We’ll just continue to work every single day until we get to that goal.”