Green Bay Packers

Update On Traded 2015 Draft Picks

The trade that sent Percy Harvin from Seattle to the Jets this past week was the latest example of a swap in which the draft pick involved in the deal is tied to a condition which will affect the value of that pick. In the case of the Harvin deal, the pick Seattle acquired reportedly can become a fourth-rounder if the wideout remains on the Jets’ roster beyond this season, but if New York moves on from Harvin in the offseason, the 2015 pick will be a sixth-rounder.

Considering we haven’t even seen Harvin suit up for the Jets yet, we’re nowhere close to knowing whether he’ll remain in the team’s plans for 2015, so that conditional pick remains very much up in the air. However, there are a number of other conditional picks whose outlook is much clearer. Here’s an update on several of the picks that could change hands in 2015:

Conditions met, or likely to be met:

  • Dolphins acquired 49ers‘ seventh-round pick for Jonathan Martin: Martin had to make San Francisco’s opening day 53-man roster for this pick to change hands, which he did.
  • Giants acquired Broncos‘ seventh-round pick for Brandon McManus. The deal required McManus to remain the Broncos’ kicker even after Matt Prater‘s four-game suspension ended for the Giants to acquire the pick, which he did.
  • Ravens acquiring Cowboys‘ sixth-round pick for Rolando McClain: McClain needs to play in 50% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps for Baltimore to land this pick, and so far, he has played in about 81%, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Assuming he meets the criteria, the Ravens would sent their seventh-round pick to Dallas in exchange for the Cowboys’ sixth-rounder.
  • Titans acquiring Cowboys‘ seventh-round pick for Lavar Edwards: Edwards must spend at least 10 games on the Cowboys’ roster for Tennessee to grab this pick, and so far he has been on the team for all but one contest. He’ll need four more games on the 53-man roster for the Titans to get the pick.

Conditions not met, or unlikely to be met:

  • Packers won’t acquire Patriots‘ seventh-round pick for Jerel Worthy: Worthy had to make the Pats’ opening day 53-man roster for Green Bay to get this pick, but he was waived during preseason cutdowns.
  • Panthers likely won’t acquire Eagles‘ seventh-round pick for Kenjon Barner: Barner must spend at least four games on Philadelphia’s 46-man game day roster for this pick to change hands. Considering Barner hasn’t even been on the team’s roster since the season began, this appears unlikely.
  • Jaguars likely won’t acquire pick from 49ers for Blaine Gabbert: The Jags would’ve landed a pick if Gabbert started eight or more games in 2014. Unless Colin Kaepernick goes down with a serious injury in the team’s next game, this won’t happen.

For details on all of 2015’s traded draft picks, be sure to check out our complete list.

Workout Notes: Tuesday

Earlier today, the Giants looked at an eye-popping 15 players, including Felix Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Terrelle Pryor, and Tony Moeaki. Here’s a look at other notable auditions from around the league..

  • The Colts worked out defensive back Chance Casey, wide receiver Mike Davis, quarterback Pat Devlin, and wide receiver Tramaine Thompson, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Mike Wells on Twitter). Running back Jeff Demps and Konrad Reuland were also part of the workout and earned spots on the Colts’ practice squad.
  • The Seahawks looked at free agent linebacker Paris Lenon, according to Yates (on Twitter). Lenon, 37 next month, has 12 years of NFL experience under his belt. Remarkably, he has missed a grand total of three regular season games during that span.
  • Before signing running back Phillip Tanner earlier today, the Bills also auditioned Evan Royster, Yates tweets. Royster was with the Redskins from 2011-2013. The Bills also auditioned wide receiver Kenny Shaw and quarterback Brad Sorensen today, according to Yates (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com on Twitter).
  • The Packers auditioned four players today, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (on Twitter): wide receiver Jace Davis (Northern Colorado), running back David Fluellen (Toledo), guard Andrew Miller (Virginia Tech), and cornerback David Van Dyke (Tennessee State).

North Notes: Hoyer, Rice, Lions, Packers

No team in the league has gotten more production out of less talent than this year’s Browns, writes Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Starting quarterback Brian Hoyer, who continues to delay the full-time arrival of Johnny Manziel, was an undrafted free agent. Backup running back Isaiah Corwell was also a UDFA and the same goes for the team’s three top wide receivers Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, and Taylor Gabriel. The Browns will look to go to 4-2 when they take on the Jaguars on Sunday. More from the North divisions..

  • A source tells Rob Maaddi of The Associated Press that a neutral arbiter is expected to make a decision early next week on whether Roger Goodell should testify in the Ray Rice case. The NFLPA, of course, is going to bat for the former Ravens running back on his indefinite suspension.
  • The Lions tried out tight ends Kellen Davis and Richard Gordon today, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter, via Michael Rothstein). Detroit worked out a number of players on Tuesday, but none at the tight end position.
  • The Packers had former Mississippi State safety Nickoe Whitley in for a visit, but he didn’t work out for them, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Whitley signed with the Browns this year after going undrafted. The Packers were among the teams who scoped out Whitley at his school’s pro day, so they have some level of familiarity with him.

NFC Notes: Peppers, Hayne, House, Vikings

During a Sunday Night Football broadcast early last month, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth stated that Julius Peppers had been set to reunite with the Panthers over the offseason after being released by the Bears. While Carolina head coach Ron Rivera did acknowledge that his team was interested in signing the the 34-year-old, Peppers himself doesn’t seem to have viewed the Panthers as a serious suitor. “I was never over there for a visit,” Peppers said, according to David Newton of ESPN.com. “I never talked to any of the coaches. It didn’t get very far for me personally.” Of course, the North Carolina alum ended up inking a three-year deal with the Packers, and is playing quite well, grading out as the 10th-best 3-4 OLB among 46 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Here’s more from the NFC:

  • We learned yesterday that rugby star Jarryd Hayne is attempting to make the jump to the NFL, and the Seahawks are one possible landing spot for the 26-year-old. Hayne took a visit with the team in September, and while head coach Pete Carroll was “coy” when asked about Hayne, it appears that the club does have some interest in signing him, according to Terry Blount of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Packers fourth-year cornerback Davon House will be an unrestricted free agent come March of 2015, and he’s set himself up to earn a significant amount of money on his second contract, writes Rob Reishcel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. As Reischel notes, fellow corner Tramon Williams will also be a free agent after the season, and given that Green Bay already signed Sam Shields to a gaudy extension, the club might have to choose only one of House or Williams.
  • The Vikings probably won’t make a deal before the October 28 trade deadline, writes Bo Mitchell of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, but the two most likeliest candidates to be sent out are probably Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson. Ponder could appeal to teams in desperate need of a quarterback, and while Peterson probably won’t offer any value in 2014, he could be of interest to a club who hopes the star running back returns to the field in 2015.

Practice Squad Updates: Wednesday

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad signings and cuts here..

  • The Seahawks announced that safety Steven Terrell has re-joined the practice squad (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). Terrell was waived yesterday when the Hawks re-signed defensive lineman Greg Scruggs. Seattle had only nine players on its taxi squad, so it won’t have to release anyone to make room for Terrell.

Earlier Updates:

  • The Chiefs announced that they have signed former Oklahoma State linebacker Orie Lemon to the practice squad.
  • The Broncos announced that they have added defensive end Gerald Rivers to the practice squad today, as the staff at The Denver Post writes. Rivers appear in two games for the Rams and Jaguars last season.
  • The Dolphins signed quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to the practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • The Packers signed tight end Ike Ariguzo to their practice squad and released guard Jordan McCray, according to Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel. The 6’5″, 245-pound Ariguzo, a rookie who played at Eastern Kentucky, made an impression on Green Bay coaches when he auditioned for them in May.
  • The Titans have signed TE Brett Brackett back to their practice squad, tweets Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
  • The Steelers have signed defensive end Ethan Hemer, defensive back Jordan Sullen, and offensive lineman Adam Gettis to the practice squad, according to team PR director Burt Lauten (on Twitter). In related moves, the Steelers have released wide receiver Derek Moye and placed cornerback Shaq Richardson on the taxi squad’s injured reserve. Sullen recently auditioned for the Jets after he was let go in Chicago.
  • The Browns announced they signed wide receiver Kevin Cone to their practice squad, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (on Twitter). Cone was previously with the Bucs’ practice squad.
  • The Buccaneers added fullback Lonnie Pryor and defensive end George Uko to their taxi squad while releasing Cone, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com (on Twitter).

NFC Links: Sproles, Lions, Hardy, Packers

As we head to the second half of tonight’s game with the Rams leading the 49ers 14-10, let’s look at some notes from the NFC:

  • A source tells Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com that Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss a few weeks but he’ll be back this season after last night’s knee injury. The veteran injured his knee late in the third quarter and there was initially fear that he had torn his ACL. Considering that the injury could have been much worse and the Eagles are on bye this week, that’s fortunate news for the veteran.
  • New Lions kicker Matt Prater missed two field goal attempts on Sunday but coach Jim Caldwell isn’t thinking about moving on to his fourth kicker in 2014. “I think (with) wind like we had today, you’re going to have an issue,” Caldwell said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He kicked a 52-yarder, which was great. We have all the confidence in the world in him. I mean, the guy’s got a great track record. We feel good about him.”
  • Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy hasn’t been in contact with the team yet but he’ll be back in touch “at the right moment,” coach Ron Rivera told reporters, including David Newton of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Packers’ secondary took some hits on Sunday, as both Sam Shields and Tramon Williams left the game with injuries. Head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t offer any specifics on the duo’s ailments, or that of linebacker Jamari Lattimore, but did say that none of the three are facing a long-term absence, writes Weston Hodkiewicz of Press-Gazette Media.
  • Ndamukong Suh is among the players whom Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap says raised their stock with their performance yesterday. Suh, whose contract with the Lions expires after the season, is playing at a level that will allow him to ask for a enormous deal come free agency, writes Fitzgerald.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Injury Updates: Sunday

While we don’t cover every injury here at Pro Football Rumors, we will keep track of injuries to key players that could force teams to make important roster moves. We’ll update the following list throughout the day:

  • Giants nickel back Trumaine McBride told reporters tonight, including Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link), that he has a dislocated thumb, which figures to sideline him for multiple weeks.
  • Eagles running back Darren Sproles left tonight’s game against the Giants with a knee injury, and as Doug Farrar of SI.com tweets, NBC’s Michele Tafoya reported that the tests adminstered to Sproles’ MCL and ACL by the team left the running back “pretty unhappy.” We should have a clearer idea of the prognosis for Sproles on Monday.

Earlier updates:

  • The Jets fear that starting right guard Brian Winters will be sidelined for the season with a torn ACL, a sources tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). The team will conduct tests tomorrow morning to determine whether or not that’s the case.
  • Sam Shields believes he avoided a major knee injury today, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Losing Shields would’ve been a costly blow for the Packers, who re-signed the cornerback to a lucrative long-term deal during the offseason.
  • Milliner is believed to have torn his Achilles, tweets Rapoport; the second-year corner would obviously miss the remainder of the season if true.
  • The Browns believe Mack has suffered a significant leg injury, and expect him to “miss extended time,” reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Currently, the Browns have moved right guard John Greco to center, with Paul McQuistan taking over at RG. We’ll certainly have more on this situation as more news is relayed.
  • Patriots running back Stevan Ridley has been ruled out for the day with a knee injury. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (on Twitter), Ridley’s “ankle bent in a way no one wants their ankle to bend.”
  • The Bengals linebacking unit has taken another hit, as Rey Maualuga had to be carted off the field with a leg injury, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the the NFL Network (Twitter link).
  • Speaking on FOX, Jay Glazer provided an update on Broncos running Montee Ball, who will miss an additional 3-4 weeks with a groin injury.
  • The Browns excellent offensive line has taken a hit, as center Alex Mack had to be carted off the field with a left ankle injury, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. ESPN.com’s Tony Grossi adds (on Twitter) that an air cast was applied to Mack’s ankle, an indication that the injury could be serious.
  • Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is out for the day after suffering a knee injury that forced him to be carted off the field, according to John Clayton of ESPN (via Twitter).
  • After suffering two concussions already this season, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict left today’s game after taking a hit to the head; another concussion could shelve Burfict for some time.
  • 2013 first-rounder Dee Milliner is out for the rest of the Jets’ game against the Broncos after suffering a non-contact injury to his ankle.

Extension Candidate: Randall Cobb

When the Packers agreed to sign Julius Peppers to a three-year, $27MM deal in March, it was fair to wonder if things were changing in Green Bay. For one, Peppers was a 34-year-old career 4-3 defensive end who would be asked to play quite a bit of 3-4 outside linebacker — paying him $9MM a year to do so, especially when he was coming off a subpar 2013 season, seemed questionable. Additionally, the entire concept of free agency is anathema to Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson. Peppers was just the seventh veteran free agent Thompson has added since joining the Packers in 2006, per Bill Barnwell of Grantland.Randall Cobb

Even more so than the teams like the Steelers or the Giants, who occasionally dip into the free agent pool to acquire a specific need at a reasonable cost, the Packers simply have no interest in bringing in veteran outsiders. Over the Cap’s data shows that among Green Bay’s top-20 2014 cap charges, just one belongs to a player (Peppers) who has seen any regular-season action with another team. However, those same numbers show that the Packers are more than willing to pay for performance by its own players — Aaron Rodgers, Sam Shields, Clay Matthews, and Josh Sitton are among the Packers who have been signed to a extensions in recent years.

Green Bay was seemingly more reticent to offer fresh contracts to skill position players (excluding Rodgers) until this summer, when it agreed to a four-year, $39MM deal with receiver Jordy Nelson. While the extension made Nelson the eighth-highest-paid wideout in terms of annual value, it’s relatively modest in terms of guaranteed money — Nelson received only $11.5MM in guarantees in the form of signing bonus, good for just 23rd among receivers. Still, the deal will certainly remain relevant for the Packers throughout the rest of the season and the offseason, as they attempt to negotiate a new deal with another pass-catcher — fourth-year WR Randall Cobb.

Cobb, 24, entered the league as second-round pick out of Kentucky in 2011. After failing to start a game during his rookie year (but still offering value in the return game), Cobb broke out in his sophomore season, catching 80 passes for 954 yards and eight touchdowns. He ranked ninth in receiver DVOA, and graded as the 11th-best WR per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Injuries sapped Cobb’s effectiveness in 2013, as a fractured fibula limited him to just six games. He’s rebounded this season, however, catching 24 balls for 273 yards and six touchdowns through five games. Advanced metrics differ on Cobb’s 2014 performance so far — while DVOA rates him as top-3 receiver, PFF grades him as just the 24th-best wideout at this point in the season.

Before entering into negotiations with Cobb, the Packers will first have to decide how much they are comfortable spending on the receiver position. As noted, Nelson has already extended, meaning that a Cobb deal would likely place the team in the upper-echelon in terms of receiver expenditures. Currently, the Dolphins spend the most on WRs (by a large margin) at just over $32MM; the Redskins and Lions are second on third on that list, as each spends about $23MM on wideouts. For the Packers specifically, will the club’s emphasis on depth mean that they will refuse to overextend at one position, or will the league’s emphasis on passing lead Green Bay to heavily invest in its pass-catching unit?

Assuming Green Bay is interested in working out an extension with Cobb, it can look to several recent WR contracts when looking for comparables. The floor for a new Cobb deal is probably that of Emmanuel Sanders, who received $15MM over three years ($6MM guaranteed) from the Broncos during the offseason. Sanders is off to an incredible start through five games, but heading into the year, his career stats were less impressive than Cobb’s. As far as a ceiling, it’s safe to assume that Cobb won’t top Eric Decker‘s five-year, $36.25MM contract with the Jets. Both Cobb and Decker have caught passes from Hall of Fame level quarterbacks, and Decker’s production outweighs that of Cobb.

The best comparison for Cobb might be Golden Tate, the ex-Seahawk whose free agent contract with the Lions was worth $31MM over five years, with $8MM guaranteed. Physically, the two are alike — Cobb stands 5’10” and weighs 191 pounds, while Tate is listed at 5’11”, 195. Each offers value on special teams, and while Cobb is probably regarded as the better big-play threat, Tate has the surer hands. Cobb’s career highs in both receptions (80) and yards (954) best those of Tate (64, 898).

While Tate was never an injury risk in Seattle, the same can’t be said for Cobb. His injury woes lead me to believe that he will ultimately secure a deal that totals slightly less than that of Tate. Of course, a forward-looking team could view Cobb as an asset with untapped potential. At 26, Tate was viewed as a finished product when he signed his contract; he was a steady player who probably wasn’t going to get much better, or worse, during his time in Detroit. Cobb, however, has not only had to battle injuries, but compete for looks with Nelson in Green Bay. If a team aimed to acquire Cobb and install him as a true No. 1 receiver, the possibilities could be limitless.

Cobb ranked fifth on Mike Sando of ESPN.com’s June power ranking of 2015 free agent receivers, which was compiled after the scribe spoke with several NFL decision-makers. An offensive assistant was complimentary of Cobb, speaking more favorably of him than 49ers WR Michael Crabtree: “Cobb and Crabtree are interchangeable on my list,” said the assistant. “Cobb is the model person and will always show up on time. Crabtree comes off whinier, and the guy from Seattle [Richard Sherman] got in his head. Cobb is coming from the right program with Mike McCarthy, one with structure and discipline and doing the right things. Crabtree does play outside more, but I’d rather coach Cobb.”

Ultimately, if Cobb does remain in Green Bay, I’d expect him to sign a deal in the $5.5-6MM per year range, with perhaps $6MM guaranteed. Depending on how the contract was structured, it would probably move the Packers into the top-12 or so in terms of wide receiver spending; they currently rank 24th. The club has the financial wherewithal with which to work, as they have more than $18MM in 2015 cap space available.

For his part, Cobb said this summer that (at the time) his production didn’t warrant an extension. I don’t believe I’ve done enough, and I think that’s on me,” Cobb told Jason Wilde of ESPN.com. “My job is … to work hard and hopefully my time will come.” Wilde’s ESPN colleague, Rob Demovsky, wrote earlier today that Cobb could be the one delaying negotiations, rather than the Packers, and noted that Cobb will need to show more before he asks for the type of money that Nelson received. Regardless of the specifics, Cobb’s case will be interesting to watch, both from the perspective of the player, who surely wants to match his teammate’s contract, and the front office, which is esteemed throughout the league.

NFC Notes: Cobb, House, Prater, Cowboys

Randall Cobb has started the season by catching six touchdowns in the first five games, and has been one of the best receivers in the league working out of the slot. Set to hit free agency this offseason, the Packers failure to ink him to a long term extension has been a well covered topic.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN writes that it might be Cobb who is pushing off extension talks. Cobb said as much earlier this offseason, when he told the media he hadn’t accomplished enough to earn that extension.

He notes that if Cobb is looking at similar money to what Jordy Nelson received, that he will need to produce more catches and yards on a consistent basis to go along with his frequent trips to the endzone. Our readers at Pro Football Rumors believed that Nelson was the more important piece of the offense, responding to a poll from early July.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • Demovsky also addresses whether the Packers would be more likely to try to keep Tramon Williams or Davon House when their respective contracts are up. He writes that although Williams is currently playing at a high level, that House is an ascending player and that general manager Ted Thompson traditionally prefers youth. Williams will turn 32 in March.
  • The Lions focused on improving their offense this offseason, including adding Golden Tate in free agency and Eric Ebron in the draft. However, their offense has been paltry, ranking 27th in the NFL in points per game, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. The team has missed eight field goals through five games, and have signed kicker Matt Prater this week, hoping to solve some of their kicking woes. Prater couldn’t be worse than the duo of Nate Freese and Alex Henery, and if the team had converted those eight field goals, the offense would have risen to a respectable 16th in points per game.
  • The Cowboys have jumped out to a 4-1 start behind an improved defense and more consistent offense, but Rick Gosselin of DallasNews.com believes age is a major factor in their success. The Cowboys have the second youngest average age in the NFL after the Bills, in a team building philosophy that emulates their opponent this weekend, the Seahawks. It also brings back memories of the 1992 Cowboys who were the first of three championship teams in a four-year span. Those Cowboys were also among the youngest rosters in the NFL.

NFC Mailbags: Lions, Saints, Cowboys

It’s Saturday morning, and you know what that means – new mailbags from ESPN’s NFL writers. Let’s check out some of the notes from the NFC…

  • At the moment, Michael Rothstein doesn’t believe that Lions general manager Martin Mayhew or coach Jim Caldwell are on the hot seat.
  • Following the release of Saints fourth-rounder Khairi Fortt this past week, many fans asked Mike Triplett about the team’s inability to develop linebackers. The writer acknowledges that the team’s last real success was Mark Fields in 1995, but he adds that the team hasn’t invested high draft picks into the position.
  • If the Cowboys season continues on a similar path, Todd Archer could envision the team bringing back Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Rolando McClain. If there were to be one odd man out, however, the writer leans towards McClain.
  • Even if the Cowboys were looking to promote a defensive lineman from the practice squad, Archer says that rookie Michael Sam wouldn’t be the team’s first choice. Instead, the Cowboys would likely bring up Kenneth Boatright.
  • David Newton envisions the Panthers transitioning to their next group of running backs once DeAngelo Williams‘ contract expires following the season.
  • Rom Demovsky says it’s likely that the Packers and representatives for Randall Cobb have already started discussing a new contract. The writer suggests that the wideout could be delaying the process until he begins compiling statistics that would warrant a larger payday.