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NFL rumors: News on franchise tag deadline, free agency, cap cuts and more

The latest NFL rumors and news.
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With the Super Bowl and the 2016 season behind us, the NFL off-season is well underway. The rumor mill is already churning with news of contract negotiations and potential trades.

The NFL scouting combine is rapidly approaching and the league year is set to begin in March, leaving teams steadily preparing for the NFL draft in April.

Stay up to date on the latest NFL news and rumors below:

Tuesday, Feb. 28

• The Patriots will not place the franchise tag on linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Hightower is expected to test the free agent market. (Adam Schefter, ESPN)

• The Chiefs are releasing running back Jamaal Charles, 30, after nine seasons with the team. (Adam Schefter, ESPN)

• The Chiefs are finalizing a six-year, $78 million deal with Eric Berry to make him the highest-paid safety in the NFL. (Ian Rapoport, NFL Network)

• The Redskins have placed their franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins for the second year in a row. (Albert Breer, The MMQB)

• The San Diego Chargers to add Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson to front office. (Fred Roggin, NBCLA)

• The Giants, Jets, Vikings, and Chargers have shown interest in free agent left tackle Russell Okung. (Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports)

• Kansas City Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt says quarterback Alex Smith will be the team's starter going into next season. Smith is set to be paid $10,8 million in 2017, plus bonuses of up to $5.6 million. (Kansas City Star)

Monday, Feb. 27

• The Chargers have placed their franchise tag on linebacker Melvin Ingram. (Albert Breer, The MMQB)

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• Eric Berry and the Chiefs are working hard at negotiating a contract to make him the highest-paid safety in the league. (Ian Rapoport, NFL Network)

• The Steelers and Antonio Brown have agreed on a deal that will make him the highest-paid wide receiver in the league. Julio Jones is currently the top-paid receiver with a $71 million contract. (Adam Schefter, ESPN)

• The deal will pay Brown more than $15 million per year, passing Bengals receiver AJ Green's $15 million annual salary. (Ian Rapoport, NFL Network)

• The Giants have placed their franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The two sides will continue to negotiate a long-term deal as the off-season progresses. (Pro Football Talk)

• The Pittsburgh Steelers placed their franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell. (Adam Schefter, ESPN)

• The Cardinals placed the franchise tag on linebacker Chandler Jones. (Albert Breer,

• The Carolina Panthers re-signed defensive end Mario Addison to a three-year, $22.5 million contract. (Ian Rapoport,

• The Panthers placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Kawann Short. (Team announcement)

• The Cowboys and backup quarterback Josh McCown have mutual interest and could be significant in Tony Romo's future with the team. (Ed Werder,

• The Cleveland Browns released wide receiver Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins had 33 receptions for 324 yards with three touchdowns last season. (Team announcement)

• The Chicago Bears are not expected to place the franchise tag wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. (Ian Rapoport,

• The Denver Broncos are expected to "at least discuss" pursuing quarterback Tony Romo if the Dallas Cowboys release him (Mike Klis, 9News Denver)

• The New York Jets cut center Nick Mangold, saving $9.1 million in salary. (Team announcement)

• Chiefs safety Eric Berry says he is hopeful on coming to an agreement on a long-term contract. The deadline to sign designate franchise players is Wednesday. (Adam Teicher,