Minor NFL Transactions: 8/1/2015

Here are Saturday’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Falcons swapped out one offensive lineman for another, in signing Pierce Burton and waiving Harland Gunn, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). The Vikings originally signed Burton as an undrafted free agent last offseason, while Gunn played in 13 games for Atlanta from 2012-14 after signing there as an undrafted rookie in 2012.
  • Washington signed rookie cornerback Deshazor Everett and released fellow first-year player Dasman McCullum, a linebacker, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post (on Twitter). Everett is an undrafted product from Texas A&M and will serve as secondary depth while Bashaud Breeland recovers from a torn MCL.
  • The Cowboys signed Will Smith, a linebacker taken by the team in the seventh round of the 2014 draft before spending his rookie campaign on Dallas’ practice squad, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter).

East Notes: Pats, Jets, Mathis, Goldson

As our first weekend of 2015 training camp action is upon us, let’s look at some of the matters emerging from the Eastern divisions.

  • Adding to last night’s report of an August 12 conference involving Tom Brady and Roger Goodell, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes the transcript from Brady’s June appeal hearing with Goodell will become available if the case isn’t settled. Florio views Judge Richard M. Berman’s action of getting directly involved in trying to settle this case quickly one of the more active attempts by a judge to do so in his extensive law history. The PFT scribe notes that Berman probably already knows which way he’ll rule should both sides indeed join him for this summit as opposed to settling this matter beforehand.
  • The Patriots are not observing the latest Deflategate-related directive to tone it down, as Florio notes, and instead have launched a website aimed at uncovering what they believe is misinformation in the Ted Wells report. The first post on a site titled WellsReportcontext.com shows a chain of emails between Patriots general counsel Robyn Glaser and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash. While this means more Deflategate coverage more than six months after the story surfaced, it looks to now at least have created a job for a Patriots IT staffer.
  • Evan Mathis likely won’t be coming to the Jets, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link) after speaking with Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. Willie Colon remains on the PUP list with a knee injury he’s dealt with throughout the offseason.
  • Shortly after Rod Graves vacated his spot in the Jets’ front office to take a job with the league office, the Jets will replace him as director of football administration with Jacqueline Davidson, according to Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com. Joining Cardinals assistant Jen Welter, Raiders play-by-play voice Beth Mowins and newly appointed official Sarah Thomas as one of the highest-ranking women in the league, Davidson already serves as the Jets’ lead negotiator in player contracts and played a key role in the Jets’ reacquiring of Darrelle Revis.
  • Washington safety Dashon Goldson, as part of the renegotiated contract upon his trade from the Bucs, received a $2.3MM roster bonus today, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

NFC Links: Eagles, Mincey, Claiborne, 49ers

There have been a number of instances where Eagles coach Chip Kelly and agent Drew Rosenhaus haven’t necessarily seen eye to eye. It started when the organization shipped out Rosenhaus-client LeSean McCoy, and the Eagles followed that by releasing Evan Mathis. Later, Frank Gore, another of Rosenhaus’ players, spurned Philly to sign with the Colts.

Still, the agent told Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com that he’s not at odds with Kelly or the Eagles organization.

“I get along fine with Chip,” Rosenhaus said. “We’ve had a real good line of communication. LeSean, I had nothing to do with their decision to trade him. That was their call. That was contract-related. The notion that he traded LeSean because of me is, that’s just ridiculous. There was no friction. LeSean was a football decision that he explained fairly well.”

Kelly echoed that sentiment.

“I don’t really deal with agents. We have a real good relationship with Drew, I can tell you that,” Kelly said. “I think Drew has been very professional, very detailed. I think he gets a bad rap to be honest with you in my dealings with him.

“I think he’s been above board, straight ahead, detail-oriented, very organized and you know exactly where you stand. I think anybody will tell you that when you deal with Drew you know exactly where you stand. Wish more people acted like that to be honest with you.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • As defensive Jeremy Mincey holds out for a new contract, the Cowboys have continued to fine him, writes David Moore of The Dallas Morning News“There have been some discussions back and forth,” said coach Jason Garrett. “I don’t want to share much about them…We’re focused on the players that we have here in camp and trying to build our football team.”
  • Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News believes that Morris Claiborne will make the Cowboys roster, but 2015 will likely be the cornerback’s final season with the organization. George adds that the 25-year-old will have to produce if he has any hope of staying in Dallas.
  • Vernon Davis told Janie McCauley of the Associated Press that he fired an advisor who urged the tight end to get pushy with the 49ers regarding a new contract.“Last year I had a lot of people in my ear, particularly an adviser who kept telling me, ‘Hey, you should try to get another contract,'” Davis said. “As my fiduciary, he was right about a lot of things, so I listened to him, I took his advice. But during the course of that season, I had a chance to really think about it, like: ‘What am I doing? I don’t play this game for money. That’s not why I play.’ It’s good, it’s good to have that, to get rewarded and things, but what am I doing?”

Reactions to Sheldon Richardson Arrest

Todd Bowles displayed a range of emotions when addressing the recent arrest of defensive end Sheldon Richardson, writes Brian Costello of the New York Post. However, the coach’s message was clear: the Jets were more concerned about the person than the player.

“Right now I’m just worried about getting him help,” Bowles said. “I’m not even worried about the football player. Like I said, we can win without him. It will probably be more fun with him, but we’re prepared to win without him. The biggest thing is working on him as a person. When things like that happen, it’s not when he’s getting back on the field, it’s: Can he get his life together?

“There’s a problem there and we’ve got to try to help him.”

Let’s take a look at some more reactions to the former first-rounder’s arrest…

  • Following Richardson’s arrest, Muhammad Wilkerson should gain some leverage in his quest for a new contract, writes George Willis of the New York Post.
  • Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post tweets a bit of irony: Richardson had previously been pushing the Jets to give Wilkerson an extension, and “his issues might force [the] team to do so.”
  • Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News believes Richardson deserves another chance and should be given an opportunity to regain the organization’s trust.
  • Several of Richardson’s teammates came out and defended the embattled defensive end. “That’s my brother and I have his back. I can’t turn my back on him right now. This is when he needs us the most,” Damon Harrison told Howie Kussoy of the New York Post. “Anytime your brother tells you something, you want to believe him. We’re here. We have no choice but to believe him. He may have to build some trust back with some people on an individual basis, but that comes with time. That’s nothing that’s going to happen overnight.”
  • “We just want the best for Sheldon,” added teammate Willie Colon. “It’s not about how we feel. It’s his career, it’s his lifestyle and we just want him to be a better person off the field and he knows that. We’re all rooting for him.”

Seahawks Notes: Wilson, Bennett, Chancellor, Thomas

We learned some details of Russell Wilson‘s four-year, $87.6MM contract with the Seahawks yesterday, and CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora provides us with some more information on the extension.

The quarterback’s cap hit for 2015 will be $6.9MM, followed by cap hits of $18.5MM (2016), $18.8MM (2017), $21.7MM (2018) and $23.2MM (2019). As the writer notes, these numbers are “very manageable” for the organization, as they can convert some of the base salary to bonus money.

Wilson’s 2016 and 2017 salaries (as well as part of his 2018 salary) are guaranteed for injury, and the contract has the potential to be fully guaranteed later on. Therefore, the injury guarantee total of $61MM comes via $30MM in injury guaranties and $31MM in signing bonus money. $20MM of that bonus will be delivered in August, and Wilson will get the other $11MM in April.

The first three years of Wilson’s contract totals around $56.6MM, trailing the deals recently signed by Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger. As the cap continues to rise and quarterbacks keep signing extensions, La Canfora opines that the two sides could be talking about a new contract in 28-36 months.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com notes that the only guaranteed money in the entire contract is the signing bonus and Wilson’s $700K base salary for 2015.

Let’s take a look at some more notes out of Seattle…

  • Defensive end Michael Bennett showed up to training camp despite not receiving a new contract. “I’m still upset about my contract situation but it’s one of those things where it is what it is,” Bennett said (via Tim Booth of the Associated Press). “I’ve got to be professional and come out here and be a leader that I’ve always been and get this team back to where we need to be.”
  • Meanwhile, coach Pete Carroll said he has been in contract with safety Kam Chancellor, who decided to hold out. “He has his points. He got his thoughts,” Carroll said. “He’s a very smart guy. He’s thought this out. He’s made a clear choice. We’ll see how it goes. I miss him.”
  • Following offseason surgery on his left shoulder, safety Earl Thomas has indeed been placed on the PUP list to start Seahawks training camp (via the Associated Press). Carroll preached patience as the All-Pro recovers, saying he doesn’t want Thomas to return until he’s “safe and secure.”

NFC Quotes: Galette, Kalil, Forte, Foles

As training camps have started around the league, we’ve compiled some assorted quotes from the NFC:

Recently-signed linebacker Junior Galette on the opportunity to play with Washington (via Mike Jones of The Washington Post):

“First of all, I’m thankful to be here. Just thankful to have the opportunity. Just blessed and grateful to be a [member of the organization], and now just want to move forward, not worry about the past, but just what’s ahead of me.

“I could’ve waited a little longer, but I love football and I didn’t want to be sitting around anymore. On the porch for five, six days is a little uncomfortable.”

Vikings lineman Matt Kalil on having his fifth-year option picked up (via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune):

“If I had a Pro Bowl season last year, I’m sure I would have already restructured, but I didn’t. I think it’s fair. You have to work to earn that money. For me, just playing well takes care of everything. I either get the fifth-year option money or they restructure my contract.”

Bears running back Matt Forte‘s reaction to not receiving an extension (via the Associated Press):

“I’m under contract anyway. When I was talking about the deal and that type of stuff, it really made sense. From my aspect I was trying to lower the cap number and then I’d be able to continue my career here as well. But you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. Like I’ve said plenty of times both sides have to want to do it.”

Rams GM Les Snead on potentially signing quarterback Nick Foles longterm (via the Associated Press):

“I always go to this: “Hey, if a quarterback is playing well and you’re winning, having team success, you have no problem asking your owner to write the check.”

Extra Points: Jets, Long, Randle, Bears

Jets head coach Todd Bowles expressed concern Friday over the well-being of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who was charged Thursday with resisting arrest and traffic violations after a July 14 incident in Missouri. “Clearly, he needs some help,” said Bowles, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Richardson, who was clocked going 143 mph, tried to avoid police apprehension. It was discovered that he had a gun and a 12-year-old in the vehicle, and there was a “very strong odor of marijuana” in the car.

“I let (the organization) down, simple as that,” Richardson said. “I’m not afraid to say that. … This is a wake-up call.” 

This “wake-up call” comes less than a month after the NFL suspended Richardson for marijuana use. He’ll face further discipline for this incident.

More on the Jets and the rest of the league:

  • Jets rookie wide receiver Devin Smith, a second-round pick, suffered broken ribs in practice Friday and will miss the majority of training camp, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). He’ll stay at a local hospital overnight as a precaution. Cimini tweeted that Smith was getting a lot of first-team reps prior to the injury.
  • There’s concern from some people around the NFL that Jake Long’s career may be over, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Long, who visited the Falcons, Giants and Broncos this week, is coming off his second torn ACL, and it doesn’t sound like he’s back to 100%.
  • Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson said contract negotiations are ongoing and he plans to be with the franchise long term, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron-Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Gipson is entering the final season of his rookie deal after piling up a career-best six interceptions last season, giving him 12 for his three-year career.
  • The Cowboys view their starting running back job as Joseph Randle‘s to lose, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team loves his vision and explosiveness, Rapoport tweeted. Randle, a fifth-round pick in 2013, is coming off a season that saw him average a prolific 6.7 yards per carry on just 51 attempts while backing up now-Eagle DeMarco Murray. Randle finished 2014 with with 343 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His main competition for the No. 1 job is oft-injured veteran Darren McFadden, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list with a pulled hamstring.
  • Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, who was arrested in January on charges of speeding, DUI, and reckless driving, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and speeding today. His DUI charge was dismissed, the Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer tweeted.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Giants Sign James Jones

The Giants have officially signed free agent wide receiver James Jones, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter link). Details of the contract have not yet been disclosed, though Jones told Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com on Thursday that he’d be getting a one-year deal (via Twitter).

Jones, who visited the Giants on Thursday, set a career high with 73 receptions with the Raiders last season before they released him in May. Prior to signing a three-year, $10MM deal with Oakland in 2014, he spent 2007-13 with the Packers and caught 310 passes and 37 touchdowns. His best individual output came in 2013, when he hauled in 64 passes for 784 yards and a career-best 14 TDs.

Besides the Giants, the Seahawks and Chiefs previously expressed interest in Jones after the Raiders cut him.

NFC Notes: Mincey, Eli, Bennett, Saints, Pack

Here’s a look at the latest from around the NFC:

  • Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the team and defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who is holding out from training camp over a contract dispute, have had some back and forth regarding a new deal, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). The 31-year-old Mincey started all 16 games last season and totaled 46 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He’s due to earn $1.5MM this year.
  • Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who is entering the final year of his contract, hasn’t set a deadline on getting an extension done, tweeted the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano.
  • Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said in June that he’s “always working on a new contract,” but he changed his tune Thursday, per ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson. “I’m not even worried about a contract right now,” he said. “It’s just business. I have no hard feelings against anybody.”  Bennett, who caught 90 passes and made his first Pro Bowl trip in 2014, has two years left on his contract and is set to earn a base salary of $4.9 million this season.
  • The NFL suspended Saints tight end Orson Charles for one game without pay for violating its personal conduct policy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The league’s discipline process is confidential, meaning it’s unclear what Charles was suspended for, but Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com wrote that Charles received diversion in February for a 2014 “road rage” incident. The 24-year-old has appeared in 29 NFL games, all with the Bengals (none since 2013), and caught nine passes.
  • Friday was rough for Washington cornerback Bashaud Breeland: The league suspended him one game for a past incident involving marijuana possession and he suffered an apparent right leg injury during practice. ESPN’s John Keim reports (via Twitter) that it’s an MCL injury and Breeland will miss 4-6 weeks.
  • The Packers worked out ex-Sacred Heart running back Keshaudas Spence on Friday, according to Weston Hodkiewicz of the Press Gazette (via Twitter).

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/31/15

Here are Friday’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • Ravens: Signed former Army quarterback Trent Steelman, who tried out as a receiver this week, and cut rookie QB Jerry Lovelocke (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson). 
  • Bears: Signed G Tyler Moore (Twitter link via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Cardinals: Signed CB Shaquille Richardson (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com).
  • Chiefs: Signed DT Hebron Fangupo and RB LaVance Taylor; waived RB Keshawn Hill (Twitter links). Taylor was signed after tweeting his highlight reel to the team.
  • Cowboys: Re-signed LB Keith Smith (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today). Smith, who played 10 games for the Cowboys last season, was cut by the team in May.
  • Giants: Waived WR Ben Edwards and T Troy Kropog (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Both players received a failed physical designation.
  • Seahawks: Signed S Tyrequek Zimmerman (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Titans: Signed WR Tebucky Jones, waived T Terren Jones, and placed TE Dorin Dickerson on injured reserve (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com; link via AP).

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