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NFL Announces Proposed Rule Changes for 2020

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The NFL has announced proposed rule changes for the 2020 season to be considered during the upcoming owners’ meetings.

Nine rules changes have been proposed in total, two by the Competition Committee and seven by individual clubs.

The Competition Committee has presented a change that would “prevent teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.” The Tennessee Titans famously used this tactic in their upset win over the New England Patriots in last year’s Wild Card round.

They are also looking to expand the defenseless player classification to kickoff and punt returners in possession of the ball, but who have “not had time to avoid or ward off the impending contact of an opponent.”

The Philadelphia Eagles proposed four different rules changes, the most of any teams. First, they are looking to see automatic replay review expanded to scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul.

Second, they have presented an alternative to the onside kick. The change would allow a team that is trailing the chance to keep possession by converting a 4th and 15 from the 25-yard line. Onside kicks have been under scrutiny in recent years for their impact on player safety and overall success.

Philadelphia also wants regular and preseason overtime restored to 15 minutes with changes implemented that minimize the impact of the coin toss, as well as an adjustment to the blindside block rule.

The Miami Dolphins suggested that the defense have the option to start the game clock on the referee’s signal if “the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.”

The Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers both presented the same two rule changes dealing with officiating. The clubs want to add a “booth umpire” as an eighth official and a Senior Technology Advisor to the Referee as an assistant to the crew.

For rule change proposals to be adopted, 75 percent of the owners must vote in approval.

NFL

Report: Ravens Planning to Sign Dez Bryant to Practice Squad

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The Baltimore Ravens are planning to sign veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant to their practice squad, according to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The 31-year-old had signed a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints last season, but suffered a torn Achilles his first day on the practice field.

Baltimore explored adding Bryant back in August, but it never materialized, likely due to ongoing concerns regarding his health.

While he may not provide much of a boost to the Ravens passing game on the field, he could add some much needed experience and a veteran presence in a young receiver room.

Bryant spent the first eight years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys, catching 531 passes for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns. He has been selected to three Pro Bowls, and named First-Team All-Pro once.

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Report: Ravens Trade for Vikings DE Yannick Ngakgoue

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The Baltimore Ravens are reportedly trading for Minnesota Vikings defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, according the ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Ravens will send a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to the Vikings in acquiring Ngakoue.

Minnesota had just sent a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a trade for Ngakoue this offseason, but are clearly trying to recoup their losses and sell high after their 1-5 start.

The Ravens will now pair Ngakoue alongside his former Jaguars teammate in star defensive end Calais Campbell, who they also added in a trade this offseason.

Ngakoue arrives in Baltimore to even more firepower to a defense that is already one of the best in the league. The Ravens are second in the league in scoring defense (17.3 points per game), second in takeaways (11) and second in sacks (22), trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers in all three categories.

Selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Maryland by the Jaguars, Ngakoue has become one of the league’s most fearsome pass rushers in a short amount of time. The one-time Pro Bowler has 42.5 career sacks, 16 forced fumbles and 47 tackles-for-loss. He also has two career interceptions.

According to Schefter, the Ravens have attempted to trade for Ngakoue multiple times and he had been positioning himself to land in Baltimore ever since thing went sour in Jacksonville. Having grown up in Bowie, Maryland, he is finally home at his desired destination after a short layover in Minneapolis.

Schefter also reports that Ngokoue will arrive in Baltimore sometime over the next 24 hours to undergo COVID-19 testing with the Ravens on their bye. If all is well on the virus front, Ngakoue will be in line to make his Ravens debut in a massive Week 8 matchup against Pittsburgh.

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Report: Seahawks Positioning to Sign Antonio Brown

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The Seattle Seahawks are reportedly positioning themselves to make a run at free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Brown is currently serving a suspension for multiple violations of the league’s personal conduct policy, but will be eligible to return after Week 8.

Adding the four-time All-Pro would give Seattle an embarrassment of riches, considering they already boast the MVP frontrunner in quarterback Russell Wilson and a tandem of dynamic wide receivers in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf.

Wilson leads the league with 19 passing touchdowns and 129.8 passer rating. He is also completing an absurd 72.8% of his passes. Metcalf and Lockett have five and four touchdowns thus far, respectively.

The Brown-to-Seattle rumors are nothing new, as the star wideout generated buzz when he was seen working out with Wilson in California this summer.

Selected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Brown spent the first nine years of his career in Pittsburg before playing a single game with the New England Patriots last season. He is second in franchise history in receptions (837), yards (11,207) and receiving touchdowns (74), trailing only Steeler legend Hines Ward, although Brown played 87-fewer games.

If Seattle is in fact pursuing the troubled wide receiver, it would appear the unbeaten Seahawks are thinking Super Bowl or bust in 2020.

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