The Patriots offered Tyrunn Walker a three-year deal as a non-tendered restricted free agent, but the defensive tackle opted to sign a one-year pact with the Lions instead. New England could have interest again, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss reports.
New Lions GM Bob Quinn, formerly the Patriots’ scouting director, knows his former team’s interest well, and Reiss wonders how much that will play into Detroit’s decision on whether to retain the fifth-year lineman. A broken leg limited Walker to four games last season.
Potentially as a result of the then-24-year-old Walker spurning their offer, the Pats used their first-round pick on Malcom Brown. They have starters Brown and 2014 first-rounder Dominique Easley under contract, with only Alan Branch looming as a free agent. A deal for Walker doesn’t seem to make as much sense for the Patriots as it did last year.
The Lions enter 2016 with more defensive tackle queries after the franchise faced major uncertainty last offseason, when Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley both bolted. Detroit’s follow-up plan included bringing in Walker from the Saints and trading for Haloti Ngata. Both are free agents now.
Walker remains in rehab mode after also dislocating his ankle in Week 4 against the Seahawks, and ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein writes that the Lions should use this as an opportunity to keep the talent entering his age-26 season on a one- or two-year deal, where he can prove he’s an elite talent.
Here’s some more from around the AFC.
- Steelers GM Kevin Colbert‘s already stated he will remain true to Pittsburgh’s build-from-within model and is eyeing a production leap from one of the Steelers’ holdover defenders, similar to how Cameron Heyward ascended in 2014 and Stephon Tuitt last season. “We talked about that last year, the progression has to outpace the regression of some of the older guys,” Colbert told media, including Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I think outside help will be important but also those young guys taking that next step.” Colbert singled out linebackers Bud Dupree and Ryan Shazier, whom the Steelers used their past two first-round picks on, as potential ascending cogs. The Steelers, however, have fortified their front seven well, housing four first-round linebackers and signing Heyward to an extension last year. Pittsburgh’s pass defense slunk from 27th to 30th last season. Kaboly identifies second-year player Senquez Golson as a prime performer to elevate the Steelers’ pass defense from in-house. The 2015 second-rounder missed the entire season due to injury.
- Given that the Browns are regularly early-first-round drafters but haven’t selected a quarterback in the top five since Tim Couch in 1999, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn’t envision the Browns trading out of their No. 2 spot. While there aren’t rock-solid top-five quarterbacks in this prospect pool as there have been in recent years, the Browns have better odds at drafting this class’ best quarterback since the Titans won’t take one at No. 1. Cleveland took three QBs at No. 22 overall in the past nine years — Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel — only for all to falter. Cabot points to the Browns’ trading down from No. 4 to No. 8 and ending up with Justin Gilbert instead of Sammy Watkins as an example that would make Cleveland hesitant to orchestrate such a maneuver with this kind of glaring need.
- The Broncos shouldn’t give in to the escalating demands of the quarterback market in assessing their potential offer to free agent Brock Osweiler, Mark Kizsla of the Denver Post writes. Using recent contracts given to Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Matt Cassel, Kizsla recommends Denver offer Osweiler no more than $10MM per season, as the team’s proven it can win a Super Bowl with adequate quarterback play. Troy Renck of the Denver Post counters that Foles’ three-year, $36MM deal fits for Osweiler, who went 4-2 in games he started and played throughout, and that a $10MM offer would force Denver to scramble for lower-tier options like Robert Griffin III.
- Mackensie Alexander or Eli Apple could be options for the Raiders at No. 14, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The Raiders are thin at corner, with waiver claim David Amerson residing as their best in-house option. But Oakland’s safety situation needs work too. After Charles Woodson‘s retirement, the Raiders cut and then re-signed Nate Allen at a lower salary.