Extra Points: Clowney, Harper, Goodwin

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be in Atlanta next week to visit the Falcons, a league source confirms to ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure. Clowney is said to be close to shutting down workouts with teams, but will still be making visits to clubs at the top of the draft. The Falcons have the No. 6 pick and Clowney would be an excellent fit in Atlanta, but the club would likely have to trade up in the draft to have a real shot at the South Carolina standout. The latest from around the league..

  • New Panthers safety Roman Harper told SiriusXM NFL Radio (on Twitter) that he chose Carolina in part because he wanted to go somewhere that was warm and would give him a chance to play. Cold weather and losing would be the quickest path to retirement for him, he explained.
  • The Saints brought in former center Jonathan Goodwin for a visit today, a league source tells Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link). A reunion is possible for the two sides and makes a good deal of sense in Triplett’s view.
  • While the Bengals signed punter T.J. Conley earlier today, they also had fellow punter Zoltan Mesko in for a tryout, tweets Howard Balzer of USA Today.
  • The Saints brought Goodwin in for a visit today, but the Cardinals won’t do the same, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. That’s because offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin doesn’t want to coach his younger brother.
  • Florida State running back Devonta Freeman is visiting the Vikings on Monday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Giants, Cowboys

DeSean Jackson might be getting all of the ink, but he’s not the only notable addition for the Redskins this offseason. Larry Michael of CSNWashington.com (video link) sat down with wide receiver Andre Roberts to talk about coming to D.C. Roberts likely came to the Skins thinking that he would be the No. 2 receiving option but he’ll be fighting for looks with Pierre Garcon and Jackson. The latest out of the NFC East..

  • Free agent guard Davin Joseph, who hasn’t generated many rumors since being released by the Buccaneers in early March, has met with the Cowboys, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, Moore adds that free agent receiver LaRon Byrd, after meeting with the Giants earlier this week, will work out for Dallas tomorrow.
  • The Cowboys also hosted Texas defensive tackle Chris Whaley for a visit yesterday and today, which included a dinner with members of the team’s staff, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • Wisconsin defensive back Dez Southward visited the Redskins this week and has also worked out for the Patriots, reports Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. The speedy Southward is viewed as capable of playing at either safety position.

Minor Moves: Ravens, Jaguars

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here…

Reactions To Chris Johnson Signing With Jets

Say what you will about the 2014 Jets, but they’re not lacking star power. Earlier today, the Jets inked Chris Johnson to a two-year, $8MM deal with an additional $1MM possible through incentives. The Jets also managed to negotiate a team option in the deal, giving them the ability to hit the eject button in February 2015 if things don’t work out as planned. Here’s a look at some of the reaction to Johnson joining up with Gang Green..

  • The running back told Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean (on Twitter) that he has “a fresh start” and will “go out there with a chip on my shoulder.” Even though the Titans didn’t “want him anymore” and he’s sad to be leaving them, he’s very excited to come to New York and join forces with a team “on the rise.” Johnson added that the Titans never asked him to take a pay cut or to restructure his contract to stay (All links going to Twitter).
  • Given Johnson’s late entry to the market and the ongoing devaluation of the tailback position, it’s a very good deal for Johnson, opines Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It’s also a good deal for the Jets who were criticized for not closing the deal with Donald Brown early in free agency. They wound up getting a much better player for not much more money than Brown received in San Diego.
  • More from Florio, who adds that the money given to Johnson strongly suggests that he’ll be the feature back in New York. Johnson will make $4MM in 2014 while incumbent Chris Ivory will earn $1MM. Also in the mix is Bilal Powell, who will earn $1.4MM in ’14.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com gives a few thoughts on the Jets‘ signing of Johnson. The move, he writes, gives the Jets some much needed star power on offense. While his recent slippage is cause for concern, CJ knows how to score with 58 career touchdowns.
  • With Johnson, Michael Vick, and Eric Decker in the fold, Field Yates of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req’d) looks into his crystal ball to see what the Jets’ offense will look like this season.
  • Johnson is a good fit for the Jets, just not a dynamic one, writes Steve Serby of the New York Post.
  • Andy Benoit of Sports Illustrated says the Jets can’t realistically expect to get the same superstar that Johnson was for so many years in Tennessee.

49ers Shopping LaMichael James

8:22pm: A 49ers source says James would welcome a trade if it meant more playing time elsewhere, tweets Bill Williamson of ESPN. However, the source wouldn’t go so far as to say that the tailback requested a trade.

7:19pm: The 49ers are shopping running back LaMichael James, a source tells Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. The 2012 second-round pick could be used to vault San Francisco higher up in next month’s draft.

When asked in February if he was shopping James, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said, “No discussions. LaMichael is a 49er. He’ll continue to be a 49er.” Two months later, it appears that stance has changed quite a bit. The 24-year-old ran for 5,082 yards and scored 53 rushing touchdowns while at Oregon but hasn’t seen much burn at the NFL level. Today, he finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, and possible Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at tailback this season.

James served as the team’s primary returner last year and played well in that role, averaging nearly 11 yards a punt return, but Barrows’ source says he has made it clear to the team he wants a bigger role as running back as well. He carried the ball only 12 times in the 2013 regular season and just once in the playoffs.

Barrows notes that the Eagles, at one time, would have been a logical suitor since Chip Kelly was James’ coach at Oregon and that the man who scouted James for the 49ers, Tom Gamble, is now with the Eagles organization. Philadelphia, however, filled their running back void with Darren Sproles earlier this offseason.

Seahawks Re-Sign Sidney Rice

The Seahawks have re-signed wide receiver Sidney Rice to a one-year deal, a league source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (on Twitter). Exact financial terms of the deal are not yet known, but Florio writes that it’s worth more than the league minimum.

Rice was in New York area to meet with the Jets today but he’ll try and help Seattle work towards a championship repeat rather than join up with Michael Vick and Chris Johnson. The 27-year-old has missed a good deal time with injuries across the course of his career and 2013 was no different. He started all 16 games for the Seahawks in 2012, but finished the season with fairly modest numbers — 50 receptions, 748 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. Although he may never again match the Pro Bowl numbers he posted in 2009 (83 catches, 1,312 yards), the former second-round pick still looks capable of providing a positive impact for an NFL team if he can stay healthy.

On Monday, Rice received clearance to return to football activities from Dr. James Andrews.

Jets Sign Chris Johnson

6:22pm: Johnson’s two-year deal has a team option on year two, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. The Jets can trigger the option or decline it in February 2015 at $4MM.

4:28pm: Johnson gets $3MM to sign with a $1MM escalator between the two seasons, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

3:36pm: Johnson’s two-year deal has a base value of $8MM with another $1MM available in incentives based on yardage, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

3:22pm: The Jets tweeted a picture of Johnson signing his contract, signaling that the agreement is now official.

2:22pm: The Jets and Chris Johnson have reached agreement on a two-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The veteran tailback will put pen to paper later today, Schefter adds (on Twitter). Financial terms of the deal are not yet known.ChriJohnson

The acquisition of Johnson gives the Jets a major splash in what has been a relatively quiet offseason since the signings of Michael Vick and Eric Decker back in March. Of course, the 28-year-old has lost a bit of his luster in recent years, but a change of scenery and system could potentially rejuvenate his career. The once dominant back registered just 1,077 yards off of 279 attempts with six touchdowns in 2013, leading to his release in early April.

Johnson’s so-so stat lines in recent years only tell half of the story. Even though he cracked 1,000 yards in 2013, he graded out as the league’s 42nd-best running back out of 55 qualified players last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

The addition of Johnson will have reverb effects on the rest of the Jets roster. For starters, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter) points out, Johnson’s arrival will likely spell the end of Mike Goodson‘s strange and short-lived time in green. Meanwhile, the Jets may choose to change their draft strategy next month. They’ve been (rightfully) pegged as a team in desperate need of an offensive playmaker, but the Johnson signing could allow them to go in a different direction.

As our own Luke Adams explained earlier this month, Johnson had a number of factors working against him in free agency. The Titans cut him loose late in the offseason at a point when many teams had already filled their running back vacancies. On top of that, it appeared to be a depressed market at the position overall. This offseason, no free agent back received more than the $3.5MM the Jaguars and Chargers committed to Toby Gerhart and Donald Brown, respectively. Other notable running backs on the market included Ben Tate ($3.1MM guaranteed with the Browns), Knowshon Moreno ($3MM, Dolphins), Rashad Jennings ($2.5MM, Giants), and Maurice Jones-Drew ($1.2MM, Raiders).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

North Notes: Bears, Vikings, Steelers, Browns

Louisville safety Calvin Pryor, who has already visited Chicago in advance of next month’s draft, believes that he’d be a good fit with the Bears, writes Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I bring a certain type of physicalness to the defense,” Pryor said. “The Bears are already known to be physical. That playmaker ability, that’s what I can bring to the team…. If I get added to the team.

Here’s more from the NFC and AFC North divisions:

  • The Vikings have already had a private workout with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, writes Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, coach Mike Zimmer, offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner watched Manziel go through a workout on March 27th at College Station that was attended by 30 NFL teams, but Minnesota has also gotten an exclusive look. The Vikings have the No. 8 pick in the draft.
  • Linebacker Lamin Barrow is visiting the Vikings today, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The Ravens met with the LSU product back in February.
  • With the NFL draft three weeks away, much of the pre-draft speculation surrounding the Steelers is whether they’ll take a cornerback or a wide receiver at No. 15. However, Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review argues that their greatest need is at defensive end. Ziggy Hood left the team to sign with the Jaguars this offseason and at last check, the club hasn’t shown any interest in re-signing unrestricted free agent Brett Keisel. Pittsburgh’s only defensive line addition has been former Charger Cam Thomas, who seems better suited to play nose tackle than end.
  • Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is set to meet with the Browns next week, a league source confirmed to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (on Twitter). Murray, who has also drawn interest from the Titans and Cowboys, will work out for Cleveland the following weeks, says Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
  • Due to the philosophy of new head coach Mike Pettine, the Browns are less likely to follow a quarterback-centric model as they build their roster, writes Vic Carucci of ClevelandBrowns.com.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Sidney Rice Visiting Jets

On the heels of agreeing to terms with an offensive playmaker whose best season came in 2009 (Chris Johnson), the Jets are eyeing another player who fits that bill. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), free agent receiver Sidney Rice is in New York today to visit the Jets.

The Jets weren’t among the four teams identified as suitors for Rice earlier this week, though New York was mentioned as having interest in the veteran receiver nearly a month ago. I speculated on Monday that, with the Seahawks, Saints, Giants, and Panthers reportedly in the mix for Rice, perhaps the Jets had bowed out, but it seems as if the club still has interest in the ex-Seahawk after all.

Rice, 27, has missed time with injuries in many of his NFL seasons, including 2013. He started all 16 games for the Seahawks in 2012, but finished the season with fairly modest numbers — 50 receptions, 748 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. Although he may never again match the Pro Bowl numbers he posted in 2009 (83 catches, 1,312 yards), the former second-round pick still looks capable of providing a positive impact for an NFL team if he can stay healthy.

AFC East Rumors: Pats, Revis, Jets, Wilkerson

Things have been quiet out of Florham Park, New Jersey as of late but today, the Jets brought some serious sizzle to their offseason when they agreed to sign Chris Johnson to a two-year deal. Here’s the latest on Gang Green and more from the AFC East…

  • Because the Patriots have a need at tight end, Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com sizes up Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz as a possibility for New England. While the 6’7″, 265-pound athlete isn’t as fast or athletic as Rob Gronkowski, he appears to be a replica of him in other ways. Gronk is one of the best at his position when he’s on the field, but he has proven to be brittle as of late.
  • Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (via Twitter) hears nothing but great things about Darrelle Revis‘ intensity in practice this offseason. The Patriots landed the shutdown corner on a relatively low-risk deal this offseason.
  • LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry will take a pre-draft visit with the Jets on Monday, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Panthers auditioned Landry and Tigers teammate Odell Beckham yesterday. The Jets are in obvious need of a playmaker on offense.
  • The fifth-year option salary for Muhammad Wilkerson is projected at about $6.97MM, which is higher than expected but still team-friendly for the Jets, tweets Cimini. It was previously believed that the Temple product’s 2015 salary would be closer to $6MM.
  • The Jets are keeping tabs on Missouri defensive end/outside linebacker Michael Sam, Cimini tweets. New York has spoken to him several times in recent months and while he’s on the club’s radar, Cimini characterizes the talks as “due diligence.”
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