Matt Schaub To Visit Ravens

Earlier today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that quarterback Matt Schaub would likely sign a new contract this week, with the Ravens, Jets, and Falcons among the teams in play. Now, Aaron Wilson of the Balimore Sun writes that Schaub is expected to visit Baltimore to meet with the Ravens early this week.

According to Wilson, Schaub has also drawn “solid interest” from the Falcons, but the Sun scribe doesn’t list the Jets as one of the clubs in the mix for the former Raider. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that it’s “fair to say” the Jets probably won’t add another quarterback of consequence until at least the draft, so it sounds like they’re not serious suitors for Schaub. Per Wilson, the Cowboys and Titans have also expressed interest in the veteran QB.

The Ravens would make some sense as a fit for Schaub. Baltimore lost its top backup earlier this month when Tyrod Taylor signed a new deal with the Bills. Keith Wenning currently looks like the No. 2 option behind Joe Flacco, so I imagine the Ravens wouldn’t mind adding a veteran to the roster.

Eagles Extend DeMeco Ryans Through 2016

2:21pm: Ryans’ two-year deal can be worth up to $10.5MM, with a base value of $7.5MM, including $6.25MM in guaranteed money, tweets McLane. McLane adds (via Twitter) that Ryans got a $2.5MM signing bonus to go along with a $2MM base salary for 2015.

1:52pm: The Eagles have agreed to terms on a one-year extension for veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans, the team announced today in a press release. Ryans previously had one year remaining on his contract, so the new deal keeps him locked up through the 2016 season.

With Mychal Kendricks emerging as a reliable inside linebacker for the Eagles, and Kiko Alonso coming aboard in the LeSean McCoy swap, there was some uncertainty surrounding Ryans heading into the 2015 season, particularly since his cap hit for the coming year was $6.9MM.

The specific terms of the new agreement have yet to be reported, but the extension reduces Ryans’ salary for the coming year, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). The move should lower the longtime Eagle’s cap number and create some additional flexibility for the team.

Ryans’ 2014 season came to an early end when he suffered a torn Achilles and landed on the injured reserve list. In the eight games he played for the Eagles, he logged 45 tackles, recovered a fumble, and grabbed an interception.

Rolando McClain Visiting Patriots

As they consider potential linebacker options, the Patriots are hosting linebacker Rolando McClain for a visit today, according to a report from Field Yates and Todd Archer of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It appears to be the first visit McClain has taken as a free agent this month.

McClain, 25, racked up 87 tackles and a sack to go along with two interceptions in 13 games for the Cowboys in 2014. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked McClain eighth out of 60 qualified inside linebackers, and he excelled in every aspect of the game — PFF’s grades placed him eighth as a pass rusher, seventh as a cover man, and 11th as a run defender, among inside linebackers.

Despite his impressive on-field showing, McClain still has some off-field question marks. He came back from retirement less than a year ago, and has failed multiple drug tests, making him a potential suspension risk. When I examined his free agent stock last week, I speculated that he may have to settle for a one-year, prove-it deal.

Although I didn’t name the Patriots as an ideal fit for McClain, their interest makes sense — Jerod Mayo is coming off a torn patellar tendon, and Dont’a Hightower is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, so it’s important that the team has some depth at the linebacker position.

Still, the Pats aren’t the only club with interest in McClain. Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets that the Cowboys have remained in active negotiations with the linebacker, so his trip to New England could create some urgency on Dallas’ part.

FA Rumors: Schaub, Barnes, Myers, Jaguars

The Raiders opted to replace Matt Schaub with Christian Ponder as their backup quarterback heading into 2015, releasing Schaub earlier this month. However, it doesn’t appear that the veteran signal-caller will be out of work for long. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Schaub will likely sign a new deal this week. The Jets, Ravens, and Falcons are among the teams in the running to land him.

Let’s check in on a few other items related to free agents….

  • Free agent offensive lineman Tim Barnes, who played center and guard for the Rams, is visiting the Chiefs today, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Kansas City already fortified its interior offensive line by acquiring Ben Grubbs from the Saints, but the team is looking for additional pieces, having lost a big one in center Rodney Hudson.
  • Speaking of free agent centers, ex-Texans lineman Chris Myers is visiting the Seahawks today, a source tells Schefter (Twitter link). Seattle sent Max Unger to New Orleans earlier in March, and has been eyeing free agent centers, including Stefen Wisniewski.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union takes a closer look at free agent wideout Greg Jennings to determine whether he’s a fit for the Jaguars.
  • The Ravens aren’t necessarily done adding free agents, but there aren’t many noteworthy players still on the board at the positions they’d want to target. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun examines some of the free agent options for the team at wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, and a couple other spots.

Panthers Sign Jordan Todman

The Panthers have signed a free agent running back, adding Jordan Todman to their backfield on a one-year deal, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Todman, who turned 25 last month, was selected in the sixth round of the 2011 draft by the Chargers, and spent time in San Diego and Minnesota before landing with the Jaguars. Todman has played for Jacksonville since 2012, totaling 450 rushing yards on 111 carries and 314 receiving yards on 40 catches during his 33 games with the Jags. The Connecticut product is also a special teams contributor, and was Jacksonville’s primary kick returner in 2014, averaging 25.6 yards on 38 returns.

In Carolina, Todman will join a group of running backs led by Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert. Darrin Reaves and Fozzy Whittaker are also under contract with the Panthers, so Todman will have to fight for a roster spot and for playing time. One player he won’t have to beat out is longtime Panthers back DeAngelo Williams, who was released by the team earlier in the offseason.

Falcons Fined $350K, Lose Fifth-Round Pick

After announcing the penalties levied against the Browns for their “Textgate” scandal, the NFL has also confirmed the discipline for the Falcons for piping artificial crowd noise into their home stadium. According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter links), the Falcons have been fined $350K, and will lose a fifth-round pick in 2016.

Per McClure (via Twitter), team president Rich McKay will also be suspended from the league’s competition committee, as Adam Schefter reported earlier today. That ban will begin on April 1, and McKay can’t be reinstated until at least June 30. As for the draft pick, McClure notes that if the team ends up holding multiple fifth-rounders, the higher pick will be taken away.

The Falcons’ former director of event marketing, Roddy White (not to be confused with the wide receiver of the same name), was found responsible for implementing the fake crowd noise at the club’s home games in 2013 and 2014. According to McClure (via Twitter), White will face an eight-week suspension if he gets a job with another team.

The penalty for the Falcons’ rule violations is perhaps a little harsher than the one the Browns received after GM Ray Farmer was found to have sent text messages to the sidelines during games. Cleveland was hit with a $250K fine, and Farmer will have to stay away from the team during the first four weeks of the regular season, but the Browns didn’t lose a draft pick.

Browns Fined $250K, GM Suspended Four Games

The Browns have been hit with a $250K fine and general manager Ray Farmer has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (via Twitter). The penalties from the league come as a result of Farmer sending text messages to members of the Browns on the sidelines during games in 2014.

The NFL and executive VP Troy Vincent released the following statement on the matter, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com:

“The use of a cell phone on multiple occasions during games in 2014 by Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer was a violation of NFL rules that prohibit certain uses of electronic devices during games. Based on these violations, the Browns have been fined $250,000 and Ray Farmer will be suspended without pay for the first four regular-season games of the 2015 season. The suspension will start on midnight of the Sunday preceding the Browns’ first regular-season game and will end immediately after the Browns’ fourth regular-season game. During the period of the suspension, Farmer cannot be involved in any club matters and is prohibited from being at the Browns’ offices, practice facility, or at Browns games.

“There was no evidence in the NFL’s review that Browns ownership or any other team executives had knowledge of the prohibited conduct. Once the violation was discovered, Browns management implemented new processes to ensure future compliance.

“We appreciate the courtesy and cooperation the Browns organization extended during our inquiry.”

As Schefter reported earlier today, the Browns won’t lose a draft pick for their violations of league rules. That’s good news for the franchise, as Cleveland heads into next month’s draft in good position, armed with multiple first-round picks and fourth-round picks.

Eagles Expected To Sign Miles Austin

10:40am: Assuming all goes well with his visit and his physical this week, Austin is expected to sign a contract to join the Eagles, according to Rapoport (via Twitter).

9:40am: One former Cowboys offensive playmaker has notably joined the Eagles this offseason, as DeMarco Murray made the jump from Dallas to Philadelphia. Now, the Eagles are eyeing another free agent who used to play for their division rivals. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), veteran wideout Miles Austin is set to visit Philadelphia this week.

Austin, of course, isn’t the same sort of impact player Murray is at this stage of his career. However, he had a decent bounce-back season in Cleveland last year, catching 47 balls for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. The 30-year-old has racked up 348 catches for more than 5,000 yards during his nine-year NFL career, earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods during his time with the Cowboys.

The Eagles are in the market for receiving help after seeing Jeremy Maclin leave for Kansas City earlier this month. Jordan Matthews appears poised to take on a more significant role for the club in 2015, and Chip Kelly has praised the wide receiver depth in this year’s draft class. Still, besides Matthews, Riley Cooper is the only wideout currently under contract who has more than 10 career receptions, so Philadelphia could use another veteran.

Letroy Guion, Packers Agree To Deal

10:38am: Guion’s one-year deal with the Packers will be worth $2.75MM, a league source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

8:15am: The Packers and defensive tackle Letroy Guion have agreed to terms on a one-year contract that will keep Guion in Green Bay, reports Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Per Demovsky, the deal is expected to be officially finalized and signed tomorrow.

Guion, 27, had an effective first season with the Packers in 2014, starting all 16 games for the team and racking up 41 tackles to go along with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble. However, he ran into some off-field trouble earlier this offseason, when he was pulled over for erratic driving — police found 357 grams of marijuana, $190K+ in cash, and an unloaded gun in his truck. Guion reached a plea deal last week and avoided prosecution.

Following the conclusion of his legal case, Guion reportedly visited the Seahawks on Friday. As I noted at the time, while many teams won’t let free agents leave the building without a contract, Seattle has a track record of bringing in players for visits and not signing them. That appears to be the case this time, as Guion will return to a Green Bay team that lost to the Seahawks in January’s NFC Championship game.

Guion’s previous one-year contract with the Packers was worth just under $1MM, and I’d expect his new deal to exceed that figure, even after his off-field incident. Financial terms of the deal aren’t yet known, however.

Discipline Imminent For Falcons, Browns

10:33am: According to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Consitution (via Twitter), the Falcons expect to lose a draft pick for 2016, rather than 2015.

9:55am: An announcement regarding the discipline for rules violations by the Falcons and the Browns is expected to come by Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The NFL has been looking into violations by both teams for several weeks.

The Falcons, who admitted to piping artificial crowd noise in at their home games, are expected to lose a draft pick, sources tell Schefter (Twitter link). While Schefter doesn’t specify which pick Atlanta will lose, I doubt it would be an early-round selection. The NFL will also likely suspend team president Rich McKay from the league’s competition committee, per Schefter.

As for the Browns, general manager Ray Farmer, who reportedly sent text messages to coaches on the team’s sideline during games, figures to be suspended for his role in the “Textgate” scandal. However, the Browns aren’t expected to lose a draft pick, according to Schefter (via Twitter).

Schefter adds that both teams may also receive “hefty fines” for running afoul of NFL rules.

The investigations into the Falcons and Browns are just two of a handful of notable ongoing cases for the league — Peter King of TheMMQB.com noted today that the league still has “a while to go” on tampering allegations made by the Jets and Patriots regarding Darrelle Revis. It doesn’t appear as if the Deflategate investigation, led by Ted Wells, is close to wrapping up either. The NFL is also reportedly looking into potential violations by more than half the teams in the league during this month’s “legal tampering” period prior to free agency.