Extra Points: Brees, Packers, Bills, Jets

This is a contract year for quarterback Drew Brees, and if he and the Saints don’t reach an agreement on a new deal by next offseason, the franchise tag probably won’t be an option for the team. Tagging Brees would leave the Saints with an unpalatable $43.09MM cap hit for 2017. Given that fact, the future Hall of Famer might have the leverage to land a fully guaranteed, multiyear contract by next winter, Andrew Brandt of The MMQB.com suggests. In the meantime, the 37-year-old is slated to play 2016 on a $19.75MM salary and count a quarterback-leading $30MM against New Orleans’ cap. As of last month, multiple sources projected Brees’ next pact would be a four-year, $95MM accord featuring $65MM in guarantees.

More from around the NFL:

  • The Packers’ signing of Julius Peppers in 2014 was the beginning of their shift toward pursuing hybrid linebackers with “elephant” body types, details Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Along with the 6-foot-7, 296-pound Peppers, the rest of the Packers’ prominent linebackers – Clay Matthews, Datone Jones, Nick Perry, Jayrone Elliott, and rookies Kyler Fackrell and Dean Lowry – range from 6-3 to 6-6 in height and 245 to 296 in weight, and each member of the group has long arms. “The advantage is when you do have some bigger guys they have the ability to be either an inside or outside pass rusher in pass situations,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers told Silverstein.
  • Bills head coach Rex Ryan, known for getting the best out of cornerbacks, has a potential shutdown option on his hands in second-year man Ronald Darby, Kevin Patra of NFL.com contends. The 2015 second-round pick from Florida State was sensational in his first taste of NFL action, racking up 68 tackles and two sacks while taking home defensive rookie of the year honors from Pro Football Focus. Darby drew the fifth-most targets in the league (107), but just 50.5 percent of those passes went for completions, per Patra. Further, he allowed a 67.0 passer rating against, thereby turning opposing quarterbacks into something resembling the 2015 version of Peyton Manning. Going forward, Darby will need to improve on deep routes and make more plays, notes Patra, who expects QBs to test him less.
  • Versatile safety Marcus Gilchrist reminds the Jets of Cardinals superstar Tyrann Mathieu, writes Brian Costello of the New York. Head coach Todd Bowles is familiar with Mathieu from his stint as Arizona’s defensive coordinator, and while Gilchrist isn’t as effective, he’s still a significant asset. After leaving San Diego for the Jets in March 2015, Gilchrist’s first season with Gang Green was a clear success. The 27-year-old played all but five of the Jets’ 1,053 defensive snaps, picked up three INTs and ranked as PFF’s 19th-best safety.
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