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Seahawks have no plans to trade QB Russell Wilson following 2021 season

Russell Wilson said this week his goal is to win more Super Bowls and he plans to win them in Seattle. On that point, the Seahawks and their star quarterback appear to be on the same page.

Sources familiar with the Seahawks’ thinking say the team has no plans to trade Wilson this offseason and is proceeding as if he’ll be their QB in 2022, regardless of any other big changes in the aftermath of a disappointing season that concludes Sunday against the Cardinals.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s future, on the other hand, is so uncertain as his first losing season in a decade comes to a close that even those who work closely with him on a daily basis don’t know what the near future holds.

Carroll — who is still owed close to $50 million on his contract through 2025 — and members of the front office are slated to meet with team chairwoman Jody Allen this coming week, though sources informed of the expected sitdowns say that’s commonplace after the season and not an indication significant changes are coming.

If Carroll ends up out, it won’t be a firing for wins and losses. A Super Bowl champion and the winningest coach in Seahawks history — 118-73-1 with nine playoff appearances in 12 seasons at the helm — Carroll would only be out if he and Seahawks brass aren’t on the same page regarding plans moving forward. Then a mutual parting of the ways would be possible.

One way or another, the Seahawks’ current state has the feel of a situation in need of a big fix.

Wilson made it clear before the season he wasn’t pleased with the protection from the offensive line as well as whispers behind the scenes he wasn’t happy with the coaching staff’s play-calling and philosophy. The Seahawks fired offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer after last season and replaced him with Shane Waldron — a process Wilson was a part of. But a subpar 2021 season that was disrupted by a broken finger that cost him three games and clearly affected him when he returned to action couldn’t have improved Wilson’s outlook on his future in Seattle.

Wilson has said he never requested a trade last offseason but merely provided a list of teams he’d be willing to play for if the Seahawks decided to trade him. It’s unclear what will happen if Wilson, 33, takes an even more aggressive approach this offseason.

Carroll, 70, has spoken positively about the future in Seattle and sources who know him well say he’s given no indication he plans to retire.

Dak Prescott breaks Tony Romo’s single-season TD pass record in Cowboys’ win over Eagles

Dak Prescott’s comeback season officially has a place in the Cowboys’ record books.

With his fifth touchdown pass in Saturday night’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Prescott moved past Tony Romo for the most passing touchdowns in a single season in Cowboys history with 37. Prescott did so by completing an eight-yard pass to former Eagles hero Corey Clement to make it a 37-20 game and officially end Prescott’s night.

The quarterback finished with a passing line of 21-of-27 for 295 yards, five touchdowns and a 151.8 passer rating.

“It’s special but I mean a record like that, that’s this team, that’s this offense,” Prescott told ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game. “All the different guys that caught passes, the guys that protected, everybody played a part in it and I’m just the beneficiary of it. But, to know where I was a year ago, to be where we are now headed to the playoffs, [I’m] very excited.”

Prescott’s record-setting season hasn’t been without some struggles, but when viewed in total, it’s a remarkable campaign for a quarterback who lost the majority of his 2020 campaign to a gruesome ankle injury. Shoulder fatigue only complicated matters during the preseason, as did a calf injury, which cost Prescott one regular-season game.

Despite the adversity, Prescott has been able to overcome the many challenges to cement his place in Cowboys history, surpassing the 36-TD mark set by Romo back in 2007. Prescott’s five touchdown passes pushed his total to 12 between Weeks 16 and 18, finishing the 2021 regular season on a high note with positive momentum heading into the postseason.

Buccaneers, NT Vita Vea agree to four-year extension worth over $73 million

Vita Vea can confidently call Tampa his home for years to come.

The defensive tackle and the Buccaneers have agreed to terms on a four-year extension, the team announced Saturday. The deal is worth over $73 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Vea has become an essential part of Tampa Bay’s defense in his first four seasons. The former 12th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft has blossomed into a stout, powerful interior lineman capable of taking on double teams, plugging gaps and perhaps most importantly, getting significant push on centers and guards in pass-rushing scenarios. He’s developed a reputation for being an interior wrecking ball and helps solidify the strength of the Buccaneers’ defense between the tackles, while teammates Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul handle the edge rushing.

At 26 years old, the former University of Washington star has proven to be worth the high pick the Buccaneers spent on him. Vea has been reliably productive, tallying 11.5 sacks in 49 games played, including a career-high 4.0 sacks in 2021, to go along with 104 tackles (16 for loss). His only hurdle has been intermittent injuries not uncommon to players who call the interior home.

With the Buccaneers again looking to make a Super Bowl run in 2022, they’re also not forgetting about their future. And after coming to terms on an extension, it’s clear Vea will be a key part of it.

Broncos HC Vic Fangio on future with Denver: ‘I’ll be good … don’t worry about me’

Denver’s season-ending loss to Kansas City didn’t come without significant effort on the part of the Broncos, but was it enough to preserve Vic Fangio’s job?

As of now, it wasn’t enough to terminate him — yet. Denver will likely come to a decision in the next 24 hours or so, and as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and James Palmer reported earlier Saturday, multiple league sources believe the Broncos will ultimately move on.

Fangio didn’t seem too stressed about his future following the Broncos’ 28-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The coach told reporters he did not know what was ahead for him, but that he had spoken with first-year general manager George Paton during the week leading up to Saturday’s game. Fangio then responded to a question from ESPN’s Jeff Legwold with some clarity.

“Everything,” Fangio said when asked what he and Paton discussed. “I’ll be good Legs [Jeff Legwold], don’t worry about me.”

If it was Fangio’s finale as head coach of the Broncos, Denver certainly didn’t give up on its coach.

The Broncos went toe to toe with the Chiefs for four quarters, overcoming an early deficit to take a 14-7 lead and keeping pace until a late turnover erased their chances of victory. So did a decision to settle for a field goal with less than five minutes remaining, relying on the belief the strength of Fangio’s team — his defense — could get the Broncos a stop and deliver Drew Lock one more chance to win.

They did not and, as a result, Patrick Mahomes kneeling out the clock in Denver’s red zone might end up being the final image of Fangio’s tenure.

“They’re a bunch of fighters and competitors and that’s going to be the foundation that they have to build on,” Fangio said when asked what Saturday’s performance showed about his team. “And when we get a little bit better, play a little bit better, coach a little bit better, that foundation will carry us through.”

The question now is whether Fangio will be around to see it through. Coaching a little better could include finding a different offensive coordinator to replace Pat Shurmur, who spent 2021 directing an offense that entered Week 18 ranked 19th in the league in total yards. Playing a little better could include identifying and acquiring a quarterback who is better than Lock or Teddy Bridgewater. The latter was good enough to lead the Broncos to victory on more than a few occasions but is headed to free agency, while the former wasn’t effective enough to do so Saturday. And above all, after sending seven different signal-callers to the field in Fangio’s tenure, what the Broncos need more than anything is stability under center.

Fangio’s renowned defensive expertise showed in his 2021 Broncos, who had a unit good enough to reach the playoffs but didn’t get enough complementary play to avoid losing 10 games. If he’s terminated this week, Fangio will likely have a defensive coordinator job in no time.

Ideally, though, Fangio would like to remain the head coach of the Broncos after spending more than three decades as an assistant. He’s played the same hit song many other coaches on hot seats have turned to in times of need, touting the completion of the ever-important foundation laid during his tenure. He’ll need more patience from Paton and the rest of the Broncos brass to be able to build the house atop said foundation.

“We, the whole organization, take pride in that,” Fangio said of his team’s established culture. “Is it what we want? Is it good enough? No. But you can’t think the things you’re doing good aren’t good enough because other things aren’t good enough. OK? Those have got to stay there. And when you get good enough at other things, that’s your foundation, if you follow what I’m saying.”

What Fangio is saying is simple: Don’t blow it up when we’re just starting to make legitimate progress. We’ll see if Paton ends up pushing the plunger or decides to give Fangio another chance this week.

2021 NFL season, Week 18: What we learned from Chiefs-Broncos, Cowboys-Eagles

1. The Cowboys bounced back just as they’d hoped they would. Dallas needed a positive night to close the regular season after falling in a frustrating home loss to Arizona and got exactly that, taking what was once a one-score game and turning it into a blowout with relative ease. The Cowboys racked up 475 yards of total offense, converted 8 of 13 third-down attempts and again capitalized on a turnover, producing a touchdown following an interception. The Cowboys head into the playoffs feeling good about their chances, starting with the performance of Dak Prescott (21/27, 295 yards, 5 TDs). They’ll hope to repeat this type of night a week from now.

2. Eagles fans shouldn’t take this loss too hard. With a postseason berth already secured, Philadelphia made it clear it wasn’t about to risk injury in Week 18 and played a significant amount of backups on both sides of the ball, starting with quarterback Gardner Minshew. The second-stringers battled, tying the game at 17-17 before the Eagles’ skeleton-crew secondary surrendered two passing touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half. From there, Dallas’ starters proved to be superior. No worries, Philadelphia — the starters will be back next week and ideally ready to go on Super Wild Card Weekend.

3. Cedrick Wilson should make some money this offseason. Wilson stepped up and capitalized on an Eagles defense filled with backups, catching five passes for 119 yards and two scores in what was the latest performance that proved he’s capable of making a difference when targeted. Wilson finished his regular season with 45 catches for 602 yards and six touchdowns in an offense that also includes Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. He’s poised to sign elsewhere for a larger role, and based on his production in 2021, he’ll answer the call. Dallas will be happy to have him for at least the postseason, which begins for the Cowboys next week.

4. Now, Dallas waits to see how things shake out in the NFC. The Cowboys are currently the fourth seed in the NFC, meaning they’ll be in line to face the highest-seeded wild-card team in the conference in a home game next weekend. That team could be Arizona, a squad that just scored a close win over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Week 17. Dallas got back on the winning track following that loss and will need to carry its momentum into such a matchup in order to avoid a repeat performance. If the Rams and Cardinals both lose Sunday, the Cowboys will move up to the third seed. Add in a Buccaneers loss and Dallas claims the second seed. If none of that happens, it’s the fourth seed and a rematch with the Cardinals.

NFL Research: Dak Prescott passed Tony Romo for the most touchdown passes by a Cowboys quarterback in a single season with 37.

1. It wasn’t pretty, but the Chiefs closed like winners. Kansas City again found itself in a tight game on the road, one in which early offensive success tailed off by the second half. Unlike in Week 17’s loss to the Bengals, the Chiefs got the defensive play they needed to turn the tables in their favor, and Patrick Mahomes’ keeper for the two-point conversion put them back in control. From there, it was about finishing the job, which the Chiefs did by holding Denver to a field goal, then bleeding the remaining clock with a nine-play, 71-yard drive that included a crucial third-down conversion and ate up the final 4:37 of the game. This is the mark of a winning football team, even if it hasn’t been nearly as dominant as previous seasons. The wins all count the same.

2. The Broncos gave it their all, but it wasn’t enough. Denver battled its tails off throughout Saturday’s game, overcoming an early 7-0 deficit to take a 14-7 lead and keeping pace with the Chiefs into the fourth quarter. But as has been the case for much of Denver’s 2021 season, the Broncos couldn’t close the deal. Their entire year was characterized by one play when Melvin Gordon was blown up in the backfield by former Chargers teammate Melvin Ingram, fumbled, and watched rookie linebacker Nick Bolton return it for a touchdown. From there, the Broncos were again battling uphill and never made it to the summit.

3. The Chiefs enter the playoffs with a couple of key health questions. Tyreek Hill suffered a heel injury in pregame warmups and wasn’t able to handle a full workload, and though he still contributed in spots, it wasn’t close to a typical performance from Hill. To make matters worse, a key third-down completion to Travis Kelce left him hobbled with what was described by the ESPN broadcast as a hip injury. Coach Andy Reid said afterward Kelce is fine, but it’s still worth monitoring, and with the Chiefs needing a Titans loss to earn them a first-round bye, they might not get the luxury of a week off for Hill and Kelce to get right. The good news: Their depth can step up when needed. Saturday was Jerick McKinnon’s day, making contributions on the ground and through the air in multiple key moments, finishing with 50 scrimmage yards and one touchdown on eight touches. Kansas City might need this type of help from others — Mecole Hardman was another one who stepped up Saturday, especially on the game’s final possession — if they don’t end up with the No. 1 seed and don’t get positive reports on Hill and Kelce.

4. The end of the road could be near for Vic Fangio — and Drew Lock. Fangio’s team certainly played for him Saturday and nearly scored an upset that might have been enough to convince the Broncos to keep him around in 2022, but the fashion in which Denver lost could end up being the final blow. Fangio elected to kick a field goal while trailing by seven with fewer than five minutes remaining, choosing to trust his defense to get the ball back one more time. They never did, as Kansas City gouged the strength of the defensive-minded Fangio’s team for 44 yards, then did just enough to prevent a change of possession. Even if Denver had gotten the ball back, their odds to winning were long. Lock was very inconsistent when passing, finding receivers for important completions, but also missing open targets in other instances, ultimately finishing 12 of 24 for 162 yards and a 71.9 passer rating. His future in Denver is uncertain at best, and with a report this morning from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Tom Pelissero and James Palmer stating multiple league sources not connected to the Broncos believe Fangio will be dismissed, Saturday’s result certainly doesn’t help. We’ll wait to see what happens there as the Broncos head into another important offseason.

NFL Research: Mecole Hardman finished with eight receptions for 103 yards, marking the first 100-yard game of his NFL career.

Next Gen Stat of the game: Kansas City gained 56.3 percent in win probability with Nick Bolton’s fumble return for a touchdown, moving from a 32 percent chance of victory to 88.3 percent.

Next Gen Stat of the game: All five of Dak Prescott’s touchdown passes came out of the shotgun without leaving the pocket and also not throwing on the run.

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