It's been a very busy Monday morning around the NFL, coming off of the third games of the preseason. Many teams have made decisions on their starting quarterback, others are dealing with suspensions being handed down and the Houston Texans step up to help their fans.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt took to social media yesterday to help raise money for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The original goal of $200,000 was hit quickly and raised to $500,000 shortly after. That number was hit within 24 hours, including a donate of $50k from the newest member of the Houston Rockets, Chris Paul. Watt has bumped it up to $1 million now, which is the same amount that the Texans owner, Bob McNair, has announced that he is giving to the United Way's Greater Houston area relief fund. The team is currently practicing in Dallas because of the storm.
The Baltimore Ravens have given a one-year extension and vote of confidence to head coach John Harbaugh. He is now under contract through the 2019 season. Harbaugh was hired in 2008 and took the team to the Super Bowl in 2012, which they won, but they have failed to make the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. Harbaugh is entering his 10th season, the longest of any Ravens head coach and sixth longest tenured among current head coaches. In a once-in-a-lifetime scenario, his Super Bowl victory came against his own brother's team.
The Cincinnati Bengals got some bad news when the NFL handed down a five-game suspension for linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The suspension was for a hit he made on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman. It's a hit that would not have gotten him in trouble last year, but a new rule to protect defenseless receivers was changed during the off-season. And if that wasn't bad enough, the severity of the suspension is higher because of another rule change during the off-season having to do with repeat offenders. I would expect this suspension to be appealed by the player's association.
In the quarterback carousel, the Cleveland Browns made it official, naming rookie DeShon Kizer as their starting quarterback for the season. The team has a lot of young talent and an improved offensive line, so putting the rookie out there to grow with his teammates makes more sense than the other options on the roster.
Over to the New York Jets, who seem to be doing the bare minimum to remain a viable team, have announced that journeyman Josh McCown will be under center for their first game. The 38-year-old has only played one series this preseason, and it would be surprising to see him in the final preseason game. That could be tricky, since one of their other two quarterbacks on the roster, Bryce Petty, hurt his knee in the last game. Christian Hackenberg, who has been less than thrilling so far, could end up playing the whole game — unless they add another arm.
And finally, the Sean McDermott make over continues as the Buffalo Bills send their 2016 2nd round pick Reggie Ragland to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fourth round pick in 2019. The inside linebacker spent most of last year on the injured reserve list and has been on the trading block all preseason, as he wasn't seen as a fit for the new head coaches defensive scheme. The delay came as the team was looking for appropriate compensation.