Notebook: League proposes new rules for catch

By The Sports Xchange
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks with the media prior to Super Bowl LII at Hilton Minneapolis in Minneapolis in January. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell speaks with the media prior to Super Bowl LII at Hilton Minneapolis in Minneapolis in January. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron announced Wednesday that the Competition Committee will recommend new language to determine whether a catch is made.

The proposed changes will be presented at the league meetings, which start Sunday. Any change to the rules requires approval from 24 of the 32 teams to be enacted.


The new catch proposal has three elements:

First, the receiver must control the ball.

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Second, the receiver must have two feet down or any other body part down.

Third, a football move must be completed. A football move is defined as a third step after catching the ball, or reaching or extending the ball for the end zone or the line to gain, or the ability to attempt reaching the ball to the line to gain.

What is noticeably absent is any mention that the receiver must retain control after going to the ground.


--Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch restructured his contract last week, one day before a roster bonus was due.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that Lynch restructured his contract on Saturday and lowered his base value in 2018 to $5.5 million. The move accounted for a $500,000 decrease, but nearly guarantees $4.5 million of the total. Lynch can earn up to $9.25 million total with incentives, according to the report.

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Lynch, a native of Oakland, signed a two-year deal with the Raiders last April after being obtained in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.

--Tight end Luke Willson signed a contract with the Detroit Lions, the team announced.

The deal is for one year and $2.5 million, multiple media outlets reported.

Willson will join second-year pro Michael Roberts in a bid to replace the production of former first-round tight end Eric Ebron, who was released by the Lions last week and signed by the Indianapolis Colts.

--Free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh canceled his visit with the Oakland Raiders scheduled for Wednesday, and there is no indication Suh plans to reschedule it, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.


Suh has returned home and is unlikely to make a decision before Thursday, according to NFL Network.

The cancellation along with Rapoport's report that the Los Angeles Rams "made a strong impression on him" when Suh visited the Rams on Tuesday suggest Suh might be looking to sign with the Rams.

--Free-agent guard Jack Mewhort and cornerback Pierre Desir re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts, the team announced.

Mewhort's contract is for one year and worth up to $3 million, including incentives, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.

Terms of Desir's deal were not disclosed, but the Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday that it was a one-year contract.

--Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones was arrested and charged with a felony vandalism charge following an incident at a Los Angeles apartment building, multiple media outlets reported.

The incident also involved his brother, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cayleb Jones.

Los Angeles Police Dept. officers were called to a residential building after Zay Jones allegedly broke a window and glass door at an establishment, police said.

Zay Jones, 22, was released from jail early Wednesday morning, according to online inmate records.


--The Philadelphia Eagles have offered defensive end Chris Long a raise, but Long remains unsure whether he will return for the 2018 season.

The Eagles would increase his salary from $1 million in base pay to nearly $4 million in guaranteed money, Mike Silver of NFL Network reported. The new deal would take Long through the 2019 season.

However, Long, who turns 33 next week, has not accepted the deal as he continues to consider retirement.

--Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams agreed to a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, ESPN reported.

Williams, 29, was released on March 17 by the Tennessee Titans, playing only one season with the team after signing a three-year, $16.5 million contract.

--Free agent tight end Martellus Bennett is still looking for a team, but he said he is not sure whether he will play in 2018 anyway.

"Right now I'm just living life and trying to figure out what I want to do next," Bennett said Wednesday on the NFL's Network's Rich Eisen Show. "Is it to continue to play? Is it to explore other options? What is it that I want to do?"


Bennett, who turned 31 earlier this month, has played 10 NFL seasons, and he was released by the New England Patriots following the 2017 season.

--The Denver Broncos have reached agreement with free agent defensive tackle Clinton McDonald on a two-year deal, the team announced.

McDonald, 31, played the last four seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he had 5.0 sacks and 29 tackles while playing in 14 games, including three starts, for the Buccaneers in 2017.

The Broncos also signed long snapper Christian Kuntz and kicker Taylor Bertolet.

--Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield worked out for Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase at the University of Oklahoma.

Mayfield is making the rounds after beginning his string of visits with the Buffalo Bills on Monday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The Cleveland Browns are expected to host the Sooners quarterback on Thursday and the New York Jets will follow suit on Saturday, Rapoport said.


--The Kansas City Chiefs signed restricted free-agent nose tackle Xavier Williams, the team announced.

The transaction came to pass after the Arizona Cardinals elected against matching the Chiefs' offer to Williams. The 26-year-old grew up in the Kansas City suburb of Grandview, Mo.

--The San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers have proposed an NFL bylaw that would limit the number of early games West Coast teams play in the Eastern time zone.

When teams in the West play 1 p.m. games in the East, it feels like a 10 a.m. game to the players.

The proposed bylaw, which the teams want to go into effect this coming season, states: "No team will be scheduled to play more than three away games with a scheduled kickoff time prior to 1:00 p.m. in the time zone of their home stadium (w/o consent)."

The West Coast teams want more of their Eastern games to start in the 4:05 p.m. ET or 4:25 p.m. ET time slots.

--Wide receiver Allen Hurns initially planned to meet with the New York Jets after being released by the Jaguars on Tuesday.


According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the snowy weather conditions in the area prompted Hurns to visit the Cowboys before meeting with the Jets.

--Terrell Owens has selected George Stewart as his presenter when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August.

Stewart was Owens' wide receivers coach when the latter was with the San Francisco 49ers.

Owens was one of eight members voted into the Hall of Fame in February.

--The Minnesota Vikings announced the signing of three players on Wednesday: kicker Kai Forbath, tight end Josiah Price and long snapper Nick Dooley.

They also waived linebacker Shaan Washington.

The Vikings re-signed Forbath to a one-year deal, according to multiple media outlets.

--Teddy Bridgewater, speaking with the New York media for the first time since signing with the Jets, said he is ready to compete for the starting job despite missing almost two seasons because of a knee injury.

"Being an athlete and ultimate competitor, as a player, I welcome competition," Bridgewater, 25, who signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Jets, said during a conference call. "I can't wait. I'm excited."


However, Bridgewater would not tell reporters where he stands in his rehab from the serious injury he sustained during 2016 training camp when he was the Minnesota Vikings' starter.

--Running back Christine Michael re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts, the team announced on Wednesday.

Michael was originally signed by the Colts as a free agent on June 1, 2017. However, he spent the entire 2017 season on injured reserve with an unspecified injury.

He has played in 37 career games (nine starts) with the Green Bay Packers (2016), Seattle Seahawks (2013-16) and Dallas Cowboys (2015). Michael has carried the ball 254 times for 1,080 yards and seven touchdowns. He has also caught 26 passes for 135 yards and one touchdown.

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