Monday Roundup: Gaffney, Suh, Gordon

Let’s round up some links from around the league to close out this Monday night:

  • The Panthers waived-injured sixth-round draft pick Tyler Gaffney on Sunday, hoping they could sneak him past waivers and put him on IR after he suffered a season-ending knee injury on Friday. However, the Patriots thwarted those hopes by claiming Gaffney earlier today. Of course, the Panthers could have kept Gaffney on the 90-man camp roster, but, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes, Carolina GM Dave Gettleman noted that the team needed that roster spot for another running back (who turned out to be Fozzy Whittaker). In response to the Patriots’ acquiring Gaffney, a move that breaks one of the league’s many “unwritten rules,” Gettleman replied, “it’s business.”
  • During a brief, almost impromptu session with the media earlier today, Lions‘ defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh did not offer any real explanation as to why extension talks with the team have been tabled, nor did he say much about his long-term plans, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Suh merely reiterated yet again that he wants to remain a Lion. See Birkett’s article and our own Luke Adams’ post from earlier this afternoon for more details on the Suh dilemma.
  • Mike Sando of ESPN.com (subscription required) offers his thoughts as to how the Seahawks can keep their title window open once quarterback Russell Wilson inevitably gets a new deal that will pay him many times what he currently earns.
  • Albert Breer of NFL.com writes that the Saints are entering 2014 with tremendous confidence, despite their jettisoning of veteran stalwarts like Roman Harper and Will Smith and their increased reliance on their young talent on both sides of the football.
  • Tim Graham of the Buffalo News writes that the bidding process to buy the Bills begins Tuesday.
  • Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes that Donald Trump will bid on the Bills, but Trump says his chances of becoming the franchise’s next owner are “very, very unlikely.”
  • ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweets that Browns‘ wide receiver Josh Gordon has hired attorney Maurice Suh, who helped Seahawks‘ cornerback Richard Sherman win his appeal in 2012, to represent him in his own appeal hearing.
  • Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com tweets that Raiders‘ receiver Rod Streater has been diagnosed with a concussion.
  • Matt Bowen of the Chicago Tribune gives the early edge in the Bears‘ backup quarterback battle to Jimmy Clausen. He also notes that defensive tackle Lamarr Houston and wideout Marquess Wilson have been impressive in camp thus far.
  • Liz Mullen of SportsBusinessJournal.com tweets that NFL agents Michael Perrett and Kevin McGuire have left SportsTrust Advisors to form their own firm.

Corry on Marshawn Lynch

We learned several days ago that the Seahawks do not intend–at the moment, anyway–to give holdout Marshawn Lynch a new contract. Instead, they are willing to reconfigure Lynch’s current deal, but they do not want to give him any additional money. After all, Lynch has two years remaining on his current contract, and the team does not want to set a bad precedent for future negotiations with other players.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry recently discussed Lynch’s situation on KJR-AM, and some of that discussion was passed along by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Corry reiterated that the Seahawks are especially concerned about setting a precedent as a soft touch and as a team that is quick to rework its existing contracts.
  • He ultimately believes, however, that Lynch’s holdout will not be especially successful for him. Corry noted that former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew held out last season and ultimately reported to the team in September with nothing to show for his efforts other than a number of fines that Jacksonville later reduced. Corry believes Lynch is bound for the same type of frustration.
  • Corry adds that Lynch’s situation is not comparable to that of Jamaal Charles, who recently signed an extension with the Chiefs, who was actually underpaid, and who plays on a team without a viable alternative at running back.
  • As a way to make peace with Lynch without setting a negative precedent by giving him additional money, Corry suggested that Seattle could convert some of his roster bonuses into base salary, or the team could guarantee part of Lynch’s 2015 salary and pro-rate it over two years. Or, since Sidney Rice‘s retirement freed up $500,000, the Seahawks could simply find a way to give that money to Lynch.
  • However, Corry believes that no such alternative is likely to be taken anytime soon, as the Seahawks want to demonstrate that they are willing to take a hardline stance in negotiations, even with key contributors like Lynch.
  • Finally, Corry concludes that the holdout will likely not be resolved before mid-to-late August, as potential injuries to the other running backs on the roster, or the performance of those backs, could alter the leverage of one of the parties involved.

Minor Moves: Monday

We’ll round up the day’s minor transactions from around the NFL right here, with additional moves listed at the top of the page throughout the afternoon and evening:

  • The Colts have waived WR Aaron Burks, tweets Craig Kelley of Colts.com.

Earlier updates:

  • Guard Cody White and receiver Alan Bonner have been placed on the Texans’ injured reserve list after being waived/injured, tweets Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.
  • The Bills have removed linebacker Darrin Kitchens from their injured reserve list with an injury settlement, reports Wilson (Twitter link).
  • Rookie defensive lineman Kalonji Kashama has been waived by the Lions, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (via Twitter).
  • The Giants have replaced one offensive lineman with another, according to Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, tweeting that the team claimed Mark Asper off waivers from the Bills and dropped Demarcus Love.
  • The Browns have waived kicker Jake Rogers, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • The Broncos now have three open roster spots after waiving tackle Aslam Sterling with a left squad designation, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • In addition to their move noted below, the Dolphins have also signed offensive tackle Tony Hills and waived wideout Gerald Ford, the club confirmed today (via Twitter).
  • The Chiefs have signed South Alabama cornerback Damond Smith, the team announced today (via Twitter). By our count, Kansas City was already carrying 90 players, so a corresponding move figures to be made at some point today.
  • The Raiders have filled the open spot on the roster by signing safety Jeremy Deering, who also returned kicks at Rutgers, says Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
  • Former Buccaneers defensive back Anthony Gaitor has re-signed with the club, joining Michigan defensive tackle Jibreel Black as Tampa Bay’s new additions, tweets Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. Per Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (via Twitter), undrafted rookies Brendan Bigelow (RB) and Quintin Payton (WR) have been waived to make room for the incoming players.
  • The Browns have waived offensive lineman Chris Faulk, who was coming off a major ACL injury, according to Jeff Schudel of the News-Herald (via Twitter).
  • Offensive lineman Michael Philipp, who signed with the Dolphins two months ago, has been cut by the club, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

John Abraham Arrested For DUI Last Month

Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested for DUI in Atlanta last month, writes Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. Abraham was absent for the third straight day of training camp today, and he did not report for the team’s conditioning test on Friday. At that time, head coach Bruce Arians noted that Abraham was excused for “personal reasons” but would not elaborate further. It is unknown whether Abraham’s DUI arrest is related to his absence from camp.

This is not Abraham’s first brush with the law. In October 2003, while with the Jets, he was charged with DUI after crashing his vehicle into a fire hydrant and light pole in Long Island. He ultimately pled guilty to the lesser included charge of DWI and avoided jail time. He was also arrested for two counts of misdemeanor obstruction several years ago–in Atlanta–when he failed to leave an area that had been blocked off by police.

Abraham, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro, picked up 11.5 sacks for the Cardinals last season, his first in Arizona after spending six years with the Jets and seven years with the Falcons. His pass rushing ability was a critical component of the Cardinals’ resurgent defense, rated by Football Outsiders as the second best unit in the league last season. If he is convicted of the DUI, or a related count, he would of course face a fine or suspension. Given that he already has an alcohol-related conviction from the 2003 incident, a suspension may be more likely.

Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim stated earlier this morning that he was unconcerned with Abraham’s absence from camp and noted that he expected the linebacker to report “at some point.”

 

49ers Sign Alfonso Smith

It appears the 49ers have signed veteran running back Alfonso Smith; the 27-year-old published a photo of the 49ers logo on Instagram, along with the caption “I’m A Niner [Baby !]” (h/t to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com). Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group tweeted earlier today that he expected San Francisco to sign a ball-carrier soon, and it looks they’ve done so.

Smith is entering his fifth NFL season after going undrafted out of Kentucky in 2010. He spent the past four years with the Cardinals, working as a backup. For his career, Smith has 48 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns. In 2013, he played on nearly 50% of Arizona’s special teams snaps, and he’ll likely be asked to contribute in that capacity in San Francisco.

Earlier this year, it seemed the Niners were well-stocked with RB talent — second-round rookie Carlos Hyde was set to join Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, and a rehabbing Marcus Lattimore behind starter Frank Gore. However, Hunter will miss the season after tearing his ACL on Saturday, James has a dislocated elbow, and Lattimore is still dealing with a multitude of injuries. Smith will presumably battle with Hyde for backup duties while the rest of the corps gets healthy.

North Notes: Keisel, Gordon, Franklin, Suh

The Steelers have not ruled out re-signing veteran defensive end Brett Keisel, general manager Kevin Colbert told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We haven’t eliminated any players from consideration…because we don’t know what’s going to happen over the preseason, even into the season,” Colbert said. “There have been times when we’ve brought back veteran players due to injury. We won’t eliminate anybody. If we eliminated a player, we always tell a player don’t keep us in your thought process.” A reunion between Keisel, 35, and the Steelers has always seemed likely, even if doesn’t come until the end of training camp.

More from the North divisions:

  • Browns receiver Josh Gordon has hired attorney Maurice Suh to assist him in the appeal of his suspension, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). Suh, who helped Richard Sherman win his appeal in 2012, will work with Heather McPhee of the NFLPA in an attempt to lessen Gordon’s ban.
  • Though Johnathan Franklin was forced to retire last month due to a neck injury, the 24-year-old would like to find a non-playing role with the Packers, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
  • For the time being, Craig Robertson is holding on to his starting linebacker spot with the Browns, despite a challenge from rookie Chris Kirksey, Jeff Schudel of the Morning Journal writes. Robertson graded out as the fourth-worst inside linebacker in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
  • The Lions’ decision to table extension discussions with Ndamukong Suh until the offseason is precarious for both parties, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com.

Browns Sign Marlon Moore

The Browns announced they have signed free agent receiver Marlon Moore (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but I’d guess it’s a one-year deal with little to no guaranteed money. Moore will have to wait until Week 2 to debut for Cleveland, as he is suspended for the first game of 2014.

Moore, 26, signed with the Dolphins in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State. He joined the 49ers after reaching unrestricted free agency in 2013, but was released following Week 7. He subsequently returned to Miami for the final six games of last season. Moore has always played a small role on offense — his seven receptions last year were a career high. However, as Brian McIntyre notes (on Twitter), Moore is regarded as a special teams ace, and will likely fill that role in Cleveland.

With the Browns, Moore joins a receiver depth chart that looks barren behind Josh Gordon, who is expected to be suspended for a large part (if not all) of 2014. Andrew Hawkins was an intriguing addition through restricted free agency, but Nate Burleson, Miles Austin, and Anthony Armstrong are uninspiring options.

West Notes: Lynch, Boone, Smith, Bradford

Though Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch seems intent on holding out for a new contract, his financial incentive to show up for training camp ramps up tomorrow, writes Terry Blount of ESPN.com. Lynch is currently being fined $30K for each missed practice session, but the more serious penalties can begin Tuesday, the sixth day of Lynch’s absence. The 28-year-old is subject to losing 15% of his signing bonus, which would amount to $900K. For his next 10 absences (starting Tuesday), Lynch could be fined an additional 1% per day. In total, Lynch could lose 25% of his signing bonus, or $1.5MM.

Blount adds that Lynch could lose one regular season game check (for Lynch, roughly $313K) for each preseason game that he misses. However, as Joel Corry of CBS Sports tweets, this particular rule only applies to players who signed as unrestricted free agents. Lynch, whose contract was signed about a week before free agency began in 2012, won’t be affected by this stipulation.

More from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Like Lynch, 49ers guard Alex Boone is in the middle of a holdout, and Bill Williamson of ESPN.com doesn’t expect Boone to show to camp any time soon. The two sides are “far apart” in talks, and because San Francisco isn’t inclined to deal with Boone until he reports to practice, this battle could go on for awhile.
  • Alex Smith is only signed through 2014, but the Chiefs are hoping to a new deal can be worked out soon. “…[T]here’s communication going on,” head coach Andy Reid told reporters, including the Kansas City Star’s Terez A. Paylor, at a press conference. “They’re working through it so we’ll see what happens. These things take [time]. You know how the game goes. Alex isn’t worried about it and I’m not not worried about it.”
  • Sam Bradford is facing yet another “make or break” season with the Rams, per USA Today. St. Louis can save almost $13MM by cutting Bradford after 2014.

Jets Sign Jason Babin To Two-Year Deal

JULY 28, 5:50pm: Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap has more details on Babin’s contract: 2015 will be an option year, with the exercise date coming at the end of the 2014 league year. Babin’s 2015 base salary will be $1.35MM, and it can increase based on his performance.

JULY 27, 10:05pm: Babin will receive $3.25MM over two years, reports ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The veteran will have a base salary worth $1.1MM in 2014, with another $500K in roster bonuses.

JULY 23, 12:21pm: The Jets have officially announced their agreement with Babin, indicating that cornerback Lowell Rose has been cut to make room (Twitter link).

10:36am: After visiting the Jets earlier this week, veteran free agent Jason Babin has agreed to terms with the team, reports Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network (via Twitter). According to Jones, it’ll be a two-year deal for the former Jaguars edge rusher.

Babin, who turned 34 in May, played in all 16 games last season for the Jaguars, racking up 31 tackles, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two passes defended. However, after re-signing with Jacksonville in March, the former first-round pick was released by the team last month, making him an unrestricted free agent. While Babin has always been a fairly one-dimensional player, his value has declined as his ability to rush the passer has slipped from elite to simply above average.

With experience in both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, Babin figures to compete for a roster spot and playing time at outside linebacker for Rex Ryan‘s team. The club’s projected OLB starters – Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples – and top reserve Garrett McIntyre all graded better against the run than as pass rushers last season, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required).

Terms of the agreement aren’t yet known, but when Babin signed with the Jaguars earlier in the offseason, his three-year contract had a total base value of just $7.275MM with only $500K guaranteed. When I examined his free agent stock a couple weeks ago, I suggested that a salary in the $1.5-2MM could be about right for Babin — a deal that includes a modest base salary with several incentives may also make sense, as Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap tweets.

The Jets were believed to have a full 90-man roster, so a corresponding move will be necessary to clear room for Babin.

Seahawks To Sign Terrell Thomas

4:53pm: It’ll be a one-year deal for Thomas with the Seahawks, per Caplan (via Twitter).

4:32pm: The Seahawks have reached an agreement on a contract with free agent cornerback Terrell Thomas, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Caplan had reported earlier in the afternoon that Thomas was drawing interest from the team, while Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports added that he thought a deal was done (Twitter links).

Thomas, a former second-round pick, spent the first six seasons of his NFL career in New York with the Giants. However, he was sidelined for two of those years – 2011 and 2012 – after suffering consecutive ACL injuries. The 29-year-old returned to the field in 2013 and was active in all 16 games for the Giants, making seven starts and logging 588 defensive snaps, though he expressed concern in June that teams were wary about signing him because of his injury history.

By signing in Seattle, Thomas, who reportedly worked out for the Patriots and Raiders earlier in the offseason, will be reunited with his former head coach at USC, Pete Carroll.