Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen spoke publicly for the first time Thursday about the limbo he finds himself in with the team that drafted him last year, telling SI TV that it’s “annoying” but that he “definitely understands the situation.”
The Cardinals hold the No. 1 pick in next week’s NFL draft and speculation is rampant that the team, with new coach Kliff Kingsbury at the helm, will select former Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.
“I definitely understand the situation,” Rosen told SI TV. “I mean, it’s annoying but, like, it is what it is. Football’s a business, and I definitely respect the higher-ups and their decisions. ... Whatever decisions are made, it’s my duty to prove them right if they keep me, and prove them wrong if they ship me off.”
The Cardinals went 3-13 last year under former coach Steve Wilks. Rosen started 13 games and passed for 2,278 yards, throwing for 11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions in his rookie season. Rosen was conspicuous in his omission from the Cardinals’ hype video — save for a brief shot of him 56 seconds in — released earlier Thursday along with a 2019 promotional calendar.
—The Carolina Panthers restructured the contract of star linebacker Luke Kuechly to free up more than $7 million in cap space, ESPN reported.
The Panthers converted $9.05 million of Kuechly’s 2019 salary into a bonus, a move that gives the cap-strapped club an additional $7.24 million to play with one week ahead of the draft, according to the report. The Panthers had just $1.34 million in cap space prior to the restructure.
It’s the second consecutive year the Panthers have given Kuechly upfront money. The 28-year-old linebacker is coming off his fifth first-team All-Pro bid. Kuechly posted 130 tackles — including a career-high 20 for loss — last year to go with two sacks and an interception in 16 games.
—Speaking during the Jacksonville Jaguars’ annual state of the franchise address, team executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin spoke about team attendance at this week’s organized team activities and criticized those not in attendance.
“We’re very close to 100 percent attendance, and quite frankly, our players should be here building the concept of team, working hard side by side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals,” Coughlin said, via ESPN.
The players not in attendance are All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey — who also missed last offseason’s program to train at his father’s facility in Nashville, Tenn. — and starting linebacker Telvin Smith. Following Coughlin’s comments, the NFLPA tweeted a statement from president Eric Winston reiterating that such activities are voluntary and that coaches and executives are prohibited “from threatening players to participate in voluntary workouts.”
—Washington Redskins defensive end Matt Ioannidis agreed to a three-year extension worth $21.75 million, NFL Network reported.
Ioannidis was drafted 152nd overall in 2016 out of Temple and was entering the final year of his rookie contract. In 38 career games, Ioannidis has 19 starts and 12.0 sacks, including 7.5 last season.
—The Houston Texans expect wide receiver Will Fuller to be on the field for their season-opening Monday night game against the Saints at New Orleans, team general manager Brian Gaine told the team’s website.
Fuller emerged as a dangerous deep threat in his third season in 2018, catching 32 passes for 503 yards and four touchdowns through seven games but suffered a torn ACL in Week 8 against Miami.
—Field Level Media