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|NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A day after deciding to move on from troubled receiver Josh Gordon http://www.officialoilers.com/authentic-adidas-connor-mcdavid-jersey , the Cleveland Browns now have cause to consider cutting loose their kicker, too.
The Browns were kicking themselves after yet another missed opportunity Sunday, losing 21-18 to the Saints in no small part because Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points.
All four errant kicks came in the second half — two in the final 76 seconds — as the Browns blew a 12-3 fourth quarter lead and have lost 18 of their last 19 games.
Gonzalez hooked an extra point wide left with 1:16 remaining after Antonio Callaway’s spectacular 47-yard touchdown reception on a fourth-down pass tied the score at 18. He then pushed a 52-yard field goal well right of the uprights with 3 seconds remaining after the Saints went back ahead on Wil Lutz’s 44-yard field goal 18 seconds earlier.
“It was on me a hundred percent,” Gonzalez said. “I can’t blame it on anybody else. We were so close to that win and it’s been so long, and I just let everybody down.”
Cleveland (0-1-1), which has not won since Dec. 24, 2016, has the lone non-loss a tie last week against Pittsburgh. In that one, Gonzalez had a 43-yard field goal blocked in the final seconds of overtime.
This one was worse. Callaway’s dramatic touchdown, when he chased down a heave from Tyrod Taylor in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-6, electrified the Browns’ sideline.
Gonzalez took away that energy immediately.
“I was like, all right, let’s put this extra point through,” guard Joel Bitonio said. “But we missed it.”
Gonzalez’s final attempt, the 52-yard field goal after Taylor completed two passes for 41 yards in 18 seconds, was not close.
“I’m not going to lie about it,” Gonzalez said. “It snowballed. I was pulling them, and the last one I pushed it because I was overcompensating. I get paid to make those kicks, and I have to make them.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson was noncommittal whether he would look for a new kicker.
“I don’t know that,” he said. “We will address all of that once we get in (the office) tomorrow.”
The Browns already know they will be without Gordon after announcing Saturday they intend to cut ties with the former Pro Bowl receiver. He missed the Saints game with a mysterious hamstring injury after practicing all week, and has played in only 11 games since the start of 2014 due to multiple suspensions under the league’s substance abuse policy. He was listed as inactive Sunday, leaving open the possibility he could be traded rather than released.
Jackson did not go into detail publicly about why the club decided to move on a day before playing in New Orleans, but said it was discussed with the team.
“I’ve always been honest and up front with our guys about what we’re doing as an organization,” Jackson said. “I told them that last night and nobody flinched. They understood it. Again, we wish Josh well on his journey. We all love and respect Josh, but we had to do what we felt we had to do as an organization.”
Jackson agreed that such a decision about a player with Gordon’s talent could erode some teams’ morale, “if you’re not strong enough.”
“I just think we have strong enough leaders,” Jackson added.
Callaway, a rookie out of Florida, replaced Gordon’s big-play role with his touchdown.
Meanwhile Harrison Phillips Color Rush Jersey , the Browns refused to place all the blame for their latest disappointment on Gonzalez, citing other critical mistakes.
An illegal contact penalty on safety Derrick Kindred nullified a third-down sack by defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees capitalized with a touchdown pass that closed Cleveland’s lead to 12-10.
With 4:51 left, Saints safety Marcus Williams intercepted Taylor’s pass at the Cleveland 40 and returned it to the 18, setting up a go-ahead touchdown.
“You can’t put your team in that situation,” Taylor said.
Not on a day when the kicker could not kick straight.
Gonzalez, a seventh-round draft pick out of Arizona State in 2017 — he was the FBS all-time career leader in field goals made (96) and points by a kicker (494) when he left school — missed his first extra point after the Browns went up 12-3 in the third quarter. He was wide left on a 44-yard field goal that would have given them a 15-3 early in the fourth quarter, sending him into a funk that affected his final two attempts.
“I was cursing myself out in my head,” he said. “I’m really upset about it.”
Adrian Peterson’s short stint in Arizona is over. Jordy Nelson long and productive stay in Green Bay has ended, too.
Meanwhile, Drew Brees is staying put in the Big Easy, Case Keenum is headed to the Rocky Mountains, and Kirk Cousins will make his first visit as a free agent to Minnesota. The Vikings long have been considered a natural landing spot for one of the most valuable quarterbacks available.
One day before the league’s new year begins, veteran running back Peterson was released by the Cardinals on Tuesday, and receiver Nelson – Aaron Rodgers‘ favorite target – was let go by the Packers.
Seven-time All-Pro running back Peterson began last season with New Orleans but, after barely playing there, was dealt to the Cardinals. Peterson rushed for 134 yards in a win over Tampa Bay and 159 in a win over San Francisco. In six games, he gained 448 yards on 129 carries for Arizona before being sidelined with a neck injury.
Peterson, who turns 33 next week, ranks 12th in the NFL in career rushing with 12,276 yards.
Nelson had 550 receptions and 69 touchdown catches in 10 seasons in Green Bay. But his production declined last season with Rodgers sidelined much of the year by a collarbone injury. He missed the 2015 season with a major knee injury, and then was the 2016 Comeback Player of the Year.
”We cannot thank Jordy enough for all that he has given the Green Bay Packers and our community for the past 10 years,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said. ”He has been an exemplary professional and teammate and greatly contributed to our success.”
Brees has agreed to a two-year, $50 million extension with New Orleans, with $27 million guaranteed the first year, two people familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the agreement has not been announced.
Brees is 39 and wants to finish his career in New Orleans, where he has played since 2006, won a Super Bowl and led what has been one of the most productive offenses in the NFL since he and coach Sean Payton arrived.
”I’ll be here as long as they’ll have me,” Brees said after last season ended.
In 2017, Brees completed an NFL-record 72 percent of his passes for 4,334 yards and 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He ranked fourth in the NFL in yards passing and the Saints ranked second in the NFL in total offense.
Keenum Joseph Noteboom Color Rush Jersey , a backup when the season began, guided Minnesota to the NFC North title and then into the conference championship game. He’ll cash in with the Broncos.
The 30-year-old Keenum is considered the second-best QB available in free agency after Cousins. He went 11-3 with 3,547 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His last-second throw to Stefon Diggs stunned the Saints 29-24 in the playoffs.
Denver chose to bypass incumbents Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch and go for Keenum, who can’t sign until Wednesday.
Six years ago, GM John Elway landed Peyton Manning, the biggest free-agent prize in NFL history, following his release by the Colts and a series of neck fusion surgeries. Manning guided the Broncos to two Super Bowls and won the 2015 NFL championship. Now, Elway hopes another free agent will replicate Manning.
Cousins will visit with the Vikings on Wednesday, agent Mike McCartney said. ESPN reported that Cousins will sign with the Vikings, but McCartney said no decision has been made yet by his client.
The Jets and Cardinals also made sense as fits for the 29-year-old who played consecutive seasons for Washington on franchise tags. New York, however, re-signed last year’s starter, veteran Josh McCown, and Arizona made a deal with Minnesota’s Sam Bradford.
In other moves:
– Super Bowl champion Philadelphia lost two tight ends, cutting veteran Brent Celek, then saw Trey Burton agree to a four-year, $32 million contract with Chicago. Five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and linebacker Corey Nelson have agreed to one-year contracts with the Eagles.
The Bears also will be signing Jacksonville receiver Allen Robinson on Wednesday and kicker Cody Parkey.
– Tennessee agreed with New England cornerback and one-time Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler on a five-year deal worth more than $60 million. Agent Derek Simpson told The Associated Press that Butler will sign the deal including $30 million guaranteed once free agency begins.
Butler spent the past four seasons with the New England Patriots and has eight career interceptions. He was benched for the Super Bowl in February.
– Buffalo bolstered its interior defensive line, agreeing to a deal with Carolina tackle Star Lotulelei and re-signing Kyle Williams, who contemplated retirement.
– Kansas City will add wide receiver Sammy Watkins and middle linebacker Anthony Hitchens, filling two glaring needs.
The 24-year-old Watkins intends to sign a $48 million, three-year contract with $30 million in guarantees, while the 25-year-old Hitchens agreed to a five-year deal, two people familiar with their decisions told the AP. The Chiefs have needed to pair a playmaking wideout with Tyreek Hill. Watkins, the 2014 fourth overall pick of the Bills, spent last season with the Rams, where he caught 39 passes for 593 yards and eight touchdowns.
– Receiver Albert Wilson is closing in on a $24 million, three-year deal with the Dolphins. Miami traded top receiver Jarvis Landry to Cleveland and has a need. They also are near an agreement with Patriots receiver Danny Amendola.
The Dolphins also cut linebacker Lawrence Timmons after just one season with them. Timmons went AWOL on the eve of last ye
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