National Football League roundup

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[April 25, 2017]  April 26 (The Sports Xchange) - Free agent running back Adrian Peterson is close to agreeing to a deal with the New Orleans Saints, according to published reports on Monday.

Citing two league sources, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported that a deal is near for Peterson, who visited the Saints two weeks ago.

Peterson, who turned 32 last month, left the Minnesota Vikings as one of the best players in franchise history. He was released on March 9 after the team declined the 2017 option on his contract.

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Former No. 1 pick Jake Long announced his NFL retirement after nine injury-plagued seasons.

The left tackle, the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, played only four games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 before he suffered a torn Achilles on Nov. 13 to end his season.

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General manager John Schneider says the Seattle Seahawks will continue to listen to offers for cornerback Richard Sherman, but the team has "moved past" the idea of trading the four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Sherman was back at the Seahawks' facility to take part in the offseason program after sitting out last week.

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The New England Patriots appear unlikely to trade cornerback Malcolm Butler this offseason.

Butler, who was a restricted free agent, could not be traded until he signed the $3.91 million tender last week for the 2017 season. He visited with just one team, the New Orleans Saints, during free agency.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com reported that the Saints still have interest in the cornerback but "the thought of dealing one or more picks for Butler, then paying him a huge contract, is less attractive than it once seemed."

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Running back Mike Gillislee signed with the Patriots after the Buffalo Bills decided not to match the two-year contract offer.

Gillislee received a fifth-round tender as a restricted free agent, and the Bills will receive the Patriots' pick in that round of the NFL draft, No. 163 overall.

A fifth-round pick in 2013, Gillislee rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns on 101 carries last season as LeSean McCoy's backup in Buffalo.

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In what hardly rates as a surprise, the New York Giants are planning to pick up the fifth-year option on star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., multiple media outlets reported.

New York has until May 3 to pick up the option on Beckham's rookie contract, a move considered procedural given that failing to do so would allow Beckham to become an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

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The San Francisco 49ers are "still strongly considering" taking a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick in this week's NFL Draft.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network also reported the 49ers have done "extensive homework" on the draft's top quarterbacks, highlighted by North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson.

According to the report, the 49ers taking a quarterback would be somewhat of a surprise, considering they signed presumptive starter Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in the offseason -- and they have Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins potentially as an option for 2018.

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General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Atlanta Falcons "aren't looking for angels" in this week's NFL Draft but at the same time indicated Joe Mixon is off their draft board.

"Of course, I've said this time and again: We aren't looking for angels," Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of players in the draft, which will be held Thursday through Saturday in Philadelphia. "We are looking for guys who are real. We are looking for guys who ultimately will fit into the brotherhood. ... We are particular about looking at the character situation and how they fit. It's a big thing, of course."

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The family of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will gain access to three handwritten notes that the player allegedly wrote before he killed himself, a lawyer for the family said.

Attorney George Leontire told reporters early Monday afternoon that a Bristol Superior Court judge in New Bedford, Mass., ordered the release of the notes to the family, the Boston Globe reported.

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The Washington Redskins re-signed restricted free agent linebacker Will Compton to his tender contract.

Compton's deal for the 2017 season is worth $1.8 million, according to ESPN. Compton, 27, was voted the team's defensive captain prior to last season.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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