Cristiano Ronaldo was back in the Manchester United team to face Tottenham on Saturday after missing the derby drubbing, but there was no Bruno Fernandes.

The absence of Ronaldo for last Sunday's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City sparked a fresh wave of speculation about the 37-year-old's United future.

It was put down to a hip problem by interim manager Ralf Rangnick, but former United captain Roy Keane was among those who questioned whether that told the full story.

Ronaldo's Manchester derby absence came after a run of one goal and zero assists in 10 games for United in all competitions this calendar year. That compares to 12 goals and three assists in his opening 19 games upon returning to United from Juventus at the end of August.

He was restored for the visit of Spurs, but Portuguese compatriot Fernandes was surprisingly not involved, three days before United tackle Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

Rangnick said: "Bruno is ill, unfortunately. He couldn't train yesterday and is therefore not available for the game. Hopefully, he will be back for Tuesday but, today, he is out."

NFL legend Tom Brady, a friend of Tottenham striker Harry Kane, was at Old Trafford for the game.

There was a United start for Marcus Rashford, whose own future has been cast into doubt by reports suggesting he could seek a move at the end of the season. He replaced Anthony Elanga, while Edinson Cavani was named on the bench after recent fitness worries.

Goalkeeper David De Gea featured for the home side after a COVID-19 false positive, while Raphael Varane was back from a coronavirus absence to start alongside Harry Maguire in central defence.

Rangnick told MUTV: "We had a false positive test on David De Gea last night. We then decided to have a second test that was negative and then a PCR test that was negative again, and that's why we can play him after all."

Deshaun Watson was not charged by a grand jury after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations on Friday.

The Houston Texans quarterback faces 22 civil lawsuits, but jurors did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings.

Watson had strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing talk of a trade away from the Texans.

The 26-year-old did not play a single game in 2021, having led the NFL in passing yards in 2020.

"After a Harris County grand jury was presented all the evidence and had the opportunity to hear from all witnesses, grand jurors declined to indict Deshaun Watson," Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said in a statement released to Stats Perform.

"Grand jury proceedings are secret by law, so no information related to their inquiry may be disclosed."

A widely released statement from Rusty Hardin, Watson's attorney, said: "We are delighted that the grand jury has looked at the matter thoroughly and reached the same conclusion we did.

"Deshaun Watson did not commit any crimes and is not guilty of any offences.

"Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have."

Watson has been the subject of an investigation from the NFL, and the league said: "We have been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the personal conduct policy."

Russell Wilson joining the Denver Broncos is exactly what the team needed, says wide receiver Courtland Sutton.

After Aaron Rodgers opted to stay with the Green Bay Packers, the Broncos – who had been seen as a possible landing spot for the back-to-back NFL MVP – instead struck a blockbuster trade deal with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Broncos, who went 7-10 in 2021, will send a package of picks including two first-round selections to Seattle along with players, with quarterback Drew Lock among those to move in the other direction.

Even with Seattle's struggles as they themselves went 7-10 last season, Wilson still ranked sixth in big plays (25+ yards) passing with 36.

He now joins an offense boasting an extremely talented receiving corps featuring Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler and Tim Patrick.

With Denver also having a competitive defense, they were seen as being an elite QB away from contending, which Sutton hopes has been addressed with nine-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl winner Wilson arriving.

"We're so excited," Sutton told NFL Network. "Our room, an offense, team, we've had a lot of guys come in and contribute and every step that we've had, it's been appreciated. 

"But to be able to have Russ come in and, having had the success that he's had, having the knowledge that he has, for us as young guys, all the young talent that we have, that's what we need. 

"We need that guy who is going come in and be who he is, what he already brings to the table. We're excited. 

"It sets the tempo for our entire team – everyone understands the time we are on now."

Wilson becomes the latest top-tier quarterback in a loaded AFC West that also includes Kansas City Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes, Los Angeles Chargers sensation Justin Herbert and Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Chiefs have won the division for six straight seasons while the Chargers have just traded for star pass-rusher Khalil Mack to further boost a roster which is led by the impressive Herbert.

Sutton therefore is under no illusions that success will come easily despite the arrival of Wilson.

"We haven't been able to handle the West as we should and as we would like to," he said.

"Getting Russ is definitely going to put us in that spot that we want to be in. It's on us to go out there and put that work together. 

"All these things sound really good, on paper but it's on us to go put this work in, all the way from now to the beginning of the season to be able to put ourselves in that spot to be able to say we are the best in the West. 

"It's not just gonna be something that's given to us because we picked up Russ. It's on us, all of us, to put that work together and take it to that next level, max out that potential."

Wilson threw for 37,059 passing yards, 292 touchdowns and 87 interceptions during his Seahawks career.

During his 10 seasons with Seattle, only three quarterbacks, Deshaun Watson (8.32), Patrick Mahomes (8.10) and Peyton Manning (7.89) averaged more pass yards per attempt than Wilson's 7.83.

He also ranked fourth in touchdown percentage (6.2) and third in passing plays of 25+ yards (323).

The Chicago Bears are sending defensive end Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, according to reports.

ESPN's Adam Schefter said the Chargers were expected to send a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 sixth-round draft pick to Chicago in exchange for the six-time Pro Bowler.

Mack has been on the Bears since 2018, recording 12.5 sacks in his first season with the team for a fourth consecutive year in double figures.

Those numbers have tailed off a little since and the 31-year-old only played in seven games in 2021 due to injury.

However, across his Bears career, Mack still ranked as high as 12th league-wide for pressures. He will now line up opposite Joey Bosa, who ranked eighth over the same period.

Mack is also to be reunited with Chargers coach Brandon Staley, who was the Bears' outside linebackers coach in that strong first season in Chicago.

Staley will hope Mack can have a transformative impact for the Chargers' defense, which gave up 27.0 points and 138.9 rushing yards per game last year.

The Seattle Seahawks have said farewell to another franchise great, confirming the release of linebacker Bobby Wagner on Wednesday.

Confirmation of Wagner's exit comes a day after it was reported the Seahawks had agreed to trade quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos in a blockbuster deal.

Like Wilson, Wagner was a crucial part of the Seahawks team that won the first Super Bowl title in franchise history in the 2013 season.

For many years, he was the gold standard at the linebacker position and still played at an extremely high level for a struggling Seahawks team in 2021, earning his eighth Pro Bowl selection and being named second-team All-Pro.

A six-time first-team All-Pro, Wagner was set to enter the final year of his contract in 2022, but his release saves the Seahawks $16.6million in cap space.

Wagner posted on Twitter: "Thank you Seattle for everything. It will forever be my home."

Since he entered the NFL as a second-round pick in 2012, only Lavonte David (867) has racked up more tackles than Wagner (817), who is third in pass breakups (60) and tied fifth in interceptions (11) in that span.

 

The Washington Commanders have agreed a trade with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire quarterback Carson Wentz.

According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Colts will receive a package of draft picks that is thought to include two third-round selections.

Wentz spent just one season with the Colts, who last year traded a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second-round pick that later became a first-rounder to land him in a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

However, an unsatisfactory end to the season, which saw the Colts miss the playoffs with a shock loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on the final Sunday of the regular season, led to questions about Wentz's future, with coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard non-committal on whether he would remain with the team.

Indianapolis ultimately came to the decision to cut their losses and move on, with Washington landing Wentz having reportedly offered three first-round picks for Russell Wilson before he was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos.

The Green Bay Packers have kept the Aaron Rodgers-Davante Adams band together.

On the day that it was confirmed Rodgers would be staying with Green Bay, the Packers also moved to keep hold of his favourite target Adams, franchise tagging him before the deadline on Tuesday.

It means he will at least play 2022 under a one-year franchise tender, and gives the Packers until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal.

Adams has established himself as arguably the premier wide receiver in the NFL in recent years, topping 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons.

He racked up a career-high 1,553 yards while also scoring 11 receiving touchdowns in 2021 as the Packers clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs with a 13-4 record, only to lose in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers.

Recording a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 65.6 per cent of his targets (the 2021 average for receivers with at least 100 targets was 62), Adams finished the year fifth among wideouts with an average of 3.5 burn yards per target.

In other words, he was again one of the NFL's elite when it came to creating clear separation from defenders, and the Packers will hope they can come to a long-term arrangement that ensures he will be doing so for Green Bay for many years to come.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have again utilised the franchise tag to keep Chris Godwin on the roster, doing so for the second year in a row.

Godwin was tagged last season following the Buccaneers' victory in Super Bowl LV, with Tampa Bay then unable to reach a long-term deal with the wide receiver.

Despite having his 2021 season curtailed by injury, the Bucs still see Godwin as a key cog as they plot a path to staying competitive following Tom Brady's retirement.

They have, therefore, taken the step of tagging him again, giving Tampa Bay until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal with Godwin.

The odds of them succeeding in that aim appear better than in 2021, as the Bucs and Godwin's representatives have reportedly already been working on a deal between the two sides.

Godwin will play under a one-year, $19.18million franchise tender if he does not sign a long-term contract with Tampa Bay by the deadline.

Though his 2021 campaign was ended by a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in Week 15 against the New Orleans Saints, Godwin still finished the year with 98 receptions for 1,103 yards - both career highs - and five touchdowns.

According to Stats Perform data, Godwin registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 70.4 per cent of his targets. That ratio was third-best in the NFL among wideouts behind team-mate Mike Evans (72.7) and Tyreek Hill (70.8). 

With a multi-year contract potentially on the horizon, the Bucs are banking on Godwin recovering from his injury and maintaining that kind of form in an era where he and Evans may need to elevate whoever is handed the difficult challenge of filling Brady's shoes.

Aaron Rodgers has confirmed he will return to the Green Bay Packers next season but denied signing a contract and refuted the alleged figures involved. 

NFL Network on Tuesday reported that Rodgers had agreed a four-year, $200million deal with Green Bay to make him the highest-paid player in NFL history. 

The quarterback was said to be receiving $153m guaranteed while giving the Packers room in the salary cap, which would have opened the door for the franchise tag to be placed on Davante Adams. 

Reigning MVP Rodgers took to Twitter to confirm he would be back on the field for the Packers next season. However, he claimed the details that had been reported were "inaccurate". 

"Hey everyone, just wanted to clear some things up; YES I will be playing with the @packers next year," Rodgers posted. 

"However, reports about me signing a contract are inaccurate, as are the supposed terms of the contract I 'signed'. 

"I'm very excited to be back. #year18" 

Rodgers was named MVP after throwing for 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions in the 2021 season. He ended the campaign ranked first in the NFL in touchdown percentage (7.0), interception percentage (0.8) and passer rating (111.9). 

Mike Williams has reportedly agreed a three-year, $60million deal to stay with the Los Angeles Chargers. 

According to ESPN, the wide receiver will sign a contract that includes $40m guaranteed and $28m in the first year. 

Williams, who was drafted seventh overall in 2017 by the Chargers, had been heading for free agency but will be in Los Angeles when he begins his sixth year in the league. 

The wideout had a career-high 1,146 yards on 76 receptions in the 2021 season, the 12th best total in the league. 

The Chargers were expected to give Williams the franchise tag if an agreement could not be reached on a new contract. 

The Denver Broncos have agreed in principle a trade to acquire Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, according to multiple reports.

The Broncos had been viewed as a potential destination for Aaron Rodgers, but any talk of the reigning NFL MVP moving to Denver was put to bed when it was reported he had agreed a record-breaking four-year, $200million contract extension to stay with the Green Bay Packers.

Instead, it is Wilson who looks set to take his career to Denver after the Broncos agreed to send multiple first-round picks, as well as additional selections and players to the Seahawks to land the nine-time Pro Bowler, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the trade is pending a physical and Wilson's approval, and that Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is part of the deal.

The Denver Broncos have agreed in principle a trade to acquire Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, according to multiple reports.

Dak Prescott has had his contract with the Dallas Cowboys restructured.

After seeing his 2020 season cut short by injury, Prescott played 16 times in 2021, as the Cowboys clinched the NFC East with a 12-5 record.

The quarterback led a prolific offense that finished the season with a league-high 530 points, yet the Cowboys fell short in the playoffs, losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round.

Prescott's tally of 4,449 passing yards ranked seventh in the NFL, while his completion percentage of 68.8 was fourth and only three quarterbacks threw for more touchdowns than his 37.

In 2021, the 28-year-old restructured his franchise-record $160million deal to create space for the salary cap and it is a similar story this time around.

With a $208.2m cap announced on Monday, teams have until March 16 to create financial wiggle room and the new structure of Prescott's deal will result in roughly $15m being saved before the start of free agency.

Five-time All Pro Zack Martin has also had his deal restructured, which will give the team an additional $7m in cap space.

The restructuring of the deals sees a portion of the players' salaries for 2022 being converted into signing bonuses.

Dallas needed the space after placing a $10.9m franchise tag on tight end Dalton Schultz.

Only four tight ends scored more than Schultz's eight receiving touchdowns last season, as he racked up a career-high 808 receiving yards.

However, Dallas will still need to make more changes to get under the cap.

According to reports, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has declined a pay cut, while Blake Jarwin has also been approached by Dallas to take a hit on his salary.

ESPN, meanwhile, reported that Amari Cooper is likely to be released, which would free up $20m in cap space.

The Dallas Cowboys will not let Dalton Schultz test free agency this offseason, electing to place the franchise tag on the tight end.

Schultz enjoyed a breakout year for the Cowboys in 2021, racking up a career-high 808 receiving yards at an average of 10.4 yards per reception.

Only four tight ends scored more than his eight receiving touchdowns last season, Mark Andrews, Hunter Henry, Travis Kelce and Dawson Knox all hauling in nine.

He was set to hit unrestricted free agency and potentially receive a substantial payday from a rival team, however, the Cowboys have moved to prevent that from happening.

Instead, they will now have sole negotiating rights with Schultz and have until July 15 to come to terms on a long-term deal and avoid having him play on the one-year franchise tender.

The move comes after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that wide receiver Amari Cooper is likely to be released by Dallas.

A four-time Pro Bowler, Cooper finished last season with 865 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, but the Cowboys have decided to focus their resources on paying Schultz and wideout Michael Gallup, who is expected to re-sign with the team.

Releasing Cooper will free $20million in cap space for the Cowboys.

 

Aaron Rodgers has agreed to terms on a four-year, $200million contract extension with the Green Bay Packers to make him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

The quarterback's future had been the subject of much speculation, with the four-time MVP non-committal on whether he would return to Green Bay for the 2022 season having entered the 2021 campaign in the wake of a stand-off with the Packers after his desire to leave was reported on the opening night of last year's draft.

A move elsewhere and retirement both seemed to be options on the table for Rodgers, who won a second successive MVP by leading the Packers to a NFL-best 13-4 record last season.

But relations between Rodgers and the Packers at the end of the season appeared more amiable than they were back in April of 2021.

Rodgers told The Pat McAfee show of his conversations with the franchise after the Packers' playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers: "I would say the meetings were much different than they've been in the past, in a positive way, and that there were some real, honest conversations that I appreciated."

Green Bay's hiring of Tom Clements, who worked with Rodgers and the Packers from 2006 to 2016, as their quarterbacks coach for 2022 pointed towards him staying at Lambeau Field.

And Rodgers will now likely end his career where it started after agreeing to a deal worth $50m annually that keeps him under contract with the team for the next five seasons.

 

With the burning issue of the offseason resolved, Green Bay's attention will likely turn to keeping Rodgers' favourite target, wide receiver Davante Adams, on the roster and preventing him testing unrestricted free agency as the Packers plot a way to get over the hump after coming up short in the postseason yet again.

Having ended his staring contest with the Packers and reported for training camp, Rodgers' 2021 campaign was partly defined by controversy after a positive coronavirus test revealed previous misleading statements about his vaccination status, while his spread of misinformation regarding vaccines has unquestionably damaged his reputation.

On the field, he did not quite reach the heights of his magical 2020, but he still finished the regular season with 37 passing touchdowns to just four interceptions, giving him the best touchdown to interception ratio in the NFL. 

Among quarterbacks with 200 passing attempts, only Justin Herbert (2.30) threw a lower percentage of interceptable passes than Rodgers (2.36).

No quarterback delivered a higher ratio of throws that resulted in a first down than Rodgers, who did so on 40.1 per cent of his attempts, while he was second in passer rating on third down (112.2) behind Kyler Murray (118.5) among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts in that situation.

However, Rodgers was shackled by the 49ers' defense in the playoffs as the Packers went one and done, losing 13-10 in the Divisional Round in an all too familiar tale for Green Bay.

Since Rodgers led the Packers to glory in Super Bowl XLV at the end of the 2010 season, they have reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs eight times but have never returned to the Super Bowl.

Now, the 38-year-old has until the end fo the 2026 season to change that fact.

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