Replay’s role undecided with new rule

The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — The NFL’s new rule outlawing a player from lowering his head to initially make any sort of hit with his helmet likely will be included in replay reviews for officials.

That has not been decided yet, but Commissioner Roger Goodell and competition committee chairman Rich McKay made it clear Wednesday that video reviews probably will be part of the process.

After noting the unanimous approval of the new rule among coaches, Goodell said on-field officials felt the same way.

“We think that is appropriate to do and it would be the first time we use replay for safety or in respect to any kind of foul,” Goodell added.

Late Tuesday, the owners rewrote the rule on using the helmet, making it a 15-yard penalty for any player to lower his head to initiate any hit with the helmet. McKay called it “a significant change,” noting that it was a “technique too dangerous for the player doing it and the player being hit.”

While the offender could be disqualified, owners did not call for an automatic ejection on such a play — at least not yet. In college football, when a player is penalized for targeting and a replay review affirms it, he is ejected.

Including replay will be discussed and very possibly implemented at the NFL’s May meetings in Atlanta, where another full agenda will include discussions of changes to the league’s national anthem policy; the potential sale of the Carolina Panthers; and awarding the 2019 and 2020 drafts to two of the five finalist cities.

Vegas plans finalized

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Stadium Authority has signed the final documents necessary to build the future home of the Raiders.

Team President Marc Badain and authority chairman Steve Hill signed the lease and development agreements on Wednesday for the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat stadium that also will serve as home to the UNLV Rebels.

The move came a day after NFL owners voted 31-1 to approve the stadium plans and financing, including a $200 million loan from the league. The domed stadium is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 1, 2020.

Browns dump Kessler

CLEVELAND — No longer part of the Browns’ plans, Cody Kessler got passed to a new team.

Cleveland traded its former starting quarterback to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, the latest move for the Browns who have spent the offseason upgrading the team’s most troublesome position following a 0-16 season.

In exchange for Kessler, the Browns will receive a conditional 2019 seventh-round draft pick from the Jaguars, who were in the market to find a backup for starter Blake Bortles.

Broncos acquire Cravens

DENVER — A person with knowledge of the deal says the Denver Broncos have acquired safety Su’a Cravens from the Washington Redskins.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the teams had not announced the deal.

Denver and Washington flip fourth- and fifth-round picks this season as part of the trade. In addition, Denver sends a fifth-rounder to Washington in 2018 and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020.

Watson returning to Saints

NEW ORLEANS — Benjamin Watson’s agent says the veteran tight end has agreed to return to the New Orleans Saints.

Drew Rosenhaus tells The Associated Press in an email that Watson has agreed to a one-year contract with New Orleans, where he has posted some of his most impressive seasons of his 14-year career.

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