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Former Saints DT Sheldon Rankins, Jets agree on two-years, $17 million deal

Former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) will be taking his talents to New York after reaching an agreement with the Jets.
Former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98) will be taking his talents to New York after reaching an agreement with the Jets.Rich Schultz/Associated Press

The New York Jets reached an agreement with former New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins on a two-year deal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal.

The contract is worth up to $17 million, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the deal.

NFL Network first reported the agreement between the Jets and Rankins, who was the Saints’ first-round pick in 2016 out of Louisville.

Rankins will join recently signed Carl Lawson to beef up an already strong defensive line that includes Quinnen Williams, Folorunso Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers, Nathan Shepherd, Bryce Huff, Kyle Phillips and Jabari Zuniga. That was always a strength of new Jets coach Robert Saleh’s defenses when he was the coordinator in San Francisco.

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The 6-foot-2, 305-pound Rankins, who turns 27 on April 2, had 17½ sacks in five seasons with the Saints but only 3½ the past two years as injuries and inconsistency limited him to just 22 games — and just one start — during that span.

Sheldon Rankins had 17½ sacks in five seasons with the Saints.
Sheldon Rankins had 17½ sacks in five seasons with the Saints.David Grunfeld

The 12th overall pick five years ago has dealt with several injuries in his NFL career, including a broken leg as a rookie. He showed promise over the next two seasons, including a career-best eight sacks and 12 tackles for losses in 2018. But he tore his Achilles during New Orleans’ divisional playoff win over Philadelphia, and he was inactive until Week 4 of the next season. Rankins then missed the final three regular-season games and the playoffs with an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve.

Last year, he spent four weeks on IR with a knee injury before returning and finishing the season.

The Jets’ hope is that the injury issues are a thing of the past for Rankins, and he can perform like the player he was three years ago when he appeared to be one of the league’s ascending young defensive linemen.

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CB Fuller returns to Denver

Former All-Pro cornerback Kyle Fuller is reuniting with coach Vic Fangio in Denver.

Fuller quickly agreed to a one-year, $9.5 million contract with the Broncos on Saturday following his release from the Chicago Bears.

Drafted with the No. 14 overall pick in 2014, Fuller was an All-Pro in 2018 when he tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions. That was Fangio’s last season as Chicago’s defensive coordinator before he became head coach in Denver.

Cornerback Kyle Fuller is going from Chicago to Denver.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller is going from Chicago to Denver.Gary McCullough/Associated Press

Fuller also made the Pro Bowl the following year when he picked off three passes. He had one interception last season.

The veteran defensive back was entering the final season of the four-year, $56 million deal he signed in 2018 and was set to count $20 million against the Bears’ salary cap in 2021.

Chicago replaced Fuller by signing cornerback Desmond Trufant to a one-year contract Saturday.

Broncos general manager George Paton made upgrading the secondary his top priority this offseason following a rash of injuries at cornerback in 2020.

Fuller is the second free-agent cornerback to sign with Denver this offseason, joining former Washington starter Ronald Darby, who signed earlier this week.

Also, the Broncos reached agreement with their franchised safety Justin Simmons on a four-year, $61 million deal Friday.

Son of Browns WR Switzer in hospital

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Ryan Switzer said his infant son has been hospitalized again and is undergoing a blood transfusion.

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Switzer posted the latest Twitter update about Christian on Sunday, saying he’s having another transfusion after his hemoglobin dropped overnight. Switzer said doctors need to get the boy’s blood count up so he’s stable enough to undergo further testing.

Earlier this week, the 26-year-old father posted a video thanking the public for its overwhelming outpouring of support for Christian, who underwent surgery last week after being hospitalized for bleeding. Switzer had said doctors still weren’t sure what was causing the bleeding.

Switzer wrote Saturday night that Christian had more “significant bleeding” and was back in the hospital.

“We’re frustrated but more so just exhausted seeing our son suffer,” Switzer wrote. “We’re asking for prayers for the doctors as they work to find a diagnosis & strength for Christian as he battles.”

Switzer spent last season on Cleveland’s practice squad. He was with the Pittsburgh Steelers for two seasons after being drafted by Dallas in the 2017 NFL draft out of North Carolina.