New York Giants

NFC East Notes: RGIII, JPP, Scandrick

There’s a lot of talk over whether Washington will exercise Robert Griffin III’s fifth-year option by May 3rd, but he’s not fretting it too much, as Jeff Darlington of NFL.com writes. “I wouldn’t be bummed,” Griffin said. “Either way, we’re going out there to prove it this upcoming year — not next year. I just want to win. I want to win games and have fun doing it. The rest will take care of itself. They can pick up the option — or they can decide not to pick up the option. It’ll work out either way. I’m focused on this year.” More from the NFC East..

  • The Giants have not made a long-term offer to Jason Pierre-Paul, according to Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger. JPP, who had 12.5 sacks last season, was locked in on a one-year deal earlier this offseason. Now, the 26-year-old perhaps has a little bit of extra incentive to perform as he looks to land a big deal after this season.
  • As we learned this morning, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, whose modest $1.5MM salary places him below even most teams’ No. 2 corners, didn’t report to the first day of Dallas’ offseason program. As Albert Breer of the NFL Network points out (via Twitter), Scandrick has a $500K de-escalator in his deal tied to workouts, so he’ll risk a third of his 2015 salary if he continues to stay away from the team.
  • Washington safety and linebacker Shaq Thompson, who could be in play at No. 20 in the draft, visited the Eagles today, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).

Minor Moves: Monday

Here are today’s minor transactions from across the NFL, with the latest moves added to the top of the page throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening:

  • Howard Balzer of the SportsXchange (all Twitter links) passes along word on a number of exclusive rights and restricted free agents who officially signed their contract tenders today. According to Balzer, the following players are now under contract for the 2015 season: Browns linebacker Craig Robertson (second-round RFA), Browns safety Johnson Bademosi (low-end RFA), Steelers fullback Will Johnson (low-end RFA), Giants cornerback Chandler Fenner (ERFA), Ravens cornerback Tramain Jacobs (ERFA), and Chiefs wide receivers Frankie Hammond and Junior Hemingway (ERFAs).
  • The Seahawks have re-signed free agent center Lemuel Jeanpierre, according to Balzer (via Twitter). Jeanpierre, who turns 28 next month, started three games at center for Seattle near the end of the 2014 regular season.

Earlier updates:

  • The Titans have reached an agreement on a one-year contract with linebacker Kaelin Burnett, the club announced today (Twitter link). Burnett, who started his career with the Raiders, has played in 22 total NFL games, including five last year for the Titans, primarily as a special teamer.
  • Wide receiver Kamar Aiken signed his exclusive rights free agent tender with the Ravens today, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The move was a mere formality, allowing Aiken to participate in the club’s offseason program.
  • Lions wide receiver and kick returner Jeremy Ross also signed his ERFA tender today, per Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com (Twitter link). Like Aiken, Ross was technically a free agent but wasn’t able to negotiate with any team besides Detroit.

East Notes: Dez, JPP, Giants, Mathis, Jets

Most teams around the NFL begin their voluntary offseason programs today, and a handful of players in the NFC East won’t be in attendance at their respective teams’ workouts. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the Cowboys will be without franchise player Dez Bryant and underpaid cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reports that another franchise player, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, will be absent for the Giants.

Meanwhile, Eagles guard Evan Mathis, who attended the team’s voluntary workouts last spring amid trade rumors, won’t do the same this year, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who tweets that Mathis is staying away for now. Asked about his absence, the veteran offensive lineman jokingly replied, “I’m in Antarctica looking for frozen dinosaurs to extract their DNA and splice them with my chihuahuasaur” (Twitter link via McLane).

While we wish Mathis the best of luck on his Antarctic expedition, let’s round up a few more items from out of the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Jets likely won’t select Breshad Perriman with the sixth overall pick, when one or both of Kevin White and Amari Cooper could still be on the board, but New York is doing its homework anyway, hosting the UCF wideout for a visit today, a league source tells Pro Football Talk (Twitter link).
  • There’s a good chance that the Giants will re-sign safety Stevie Brown soon, writes Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. According to Schwartz, Brown would like to return to New York, but wanted to see if he could do better than the one-year deal the Giants offered him. However, it doesn’t appear that any other potential suitors are willing to do a longer-term contract.
  • As the Giants continue to consider options at safety, Raanan tweets that Virginia defensive back Anthony Harris – who is capable of playing the free safety position – visited the team this weekend.
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post has details on another Giants pre-draft meeting, reporting that Purdue running back Akeem Hunt is visiting the club today.

NFC East Rumors: DGB, Harris, Eagles

Here are some rumors coming out of the NFC East on Sunday night.

  • First-round talent Dorial Green-Beckham declined a pre-draft visit with the Cowboys, according to Ross Jones of FoxSports.com (via Twitter). No reason was given for this decision.
  • While the never-ending spree of Adrian Peterson-replacing-DeMarco Murray-in-Dallas rumors will persist for at least another 10 days, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News writes Murray won’t be the toughest Cowboy to replace this season. On the surface, it appeared the Giants handed a typo-worthy check to pry return man Dwayne Harris from the Cowboys, but the five-year, $17.5MM deal goes a long way to fix Big Blue’s special teams while depleting the Cowboys’, notes Gosselin.
  • The Eagles won’t likely trade up in the draft, and if they do it would probably be for Marcus Mariota, but Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com picks out two other potential prospects that he could imagine the team making a move to grab, in cornerback Trae Waynes and receiver DeVante Parker.
  • In light of Sunday’s news that Tim Tebow intends to sign with the Eagles, ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini (via Twitter) passes along the polarizing quarterback’s QBR in the final five minutes of fourth quarters. Cherry-picking, indeed, but Tebow’s 80.7 crunch-time figure crafted largely in the middle portion of the 2011 season nearly doubles Sam Bradford‘s 46.8 mark.

Rob DiRe contributed to this report

Stevie Brown Narrowing Down Offers

SUNDAY, 2:08pm: The Titans have not offered Brown a contract and aren’t “currently in the mix” for him, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.

SATURDAY, 2:40pm: Safety Stevie Brown is reportedly narrowing down his free agent choices, currently mulling over five or six offers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Twitter). Some of the teams that have expressed interest in the 27-year old former seventh-round pick include the Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, and Raiders, writes Schefter.

The Giants are also interested in keeping Brown in New York. He is expected to come to a decision soon.

Brown began his career with the Raiders and Colts, before coming to the Giants in 2012 where he picked off eight passes to go along with 76 tackles in his breakout campaign.

The Dallas Morning News originally ran with the story as reported by Schefter, before updating the story to contradict the report. According to a source, the Cowboys have not had any interest in Brown.

NFC Notes: Bucs, Peterson, Washington

We rounded up some AFC links earlier this morning, so let’s have a look at a few notes from the NFC.

  • Although the Glazer family has never meddled in the Buccaneers‘ personnel decisions to the same degree Jerry Jones has meddled with the Cowboys, Tampa Bay’s ownership has a tradition of assuming a powerful role in the team’s football operations at key moments. According to Ira Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune, the Glazers have been very active in deciding what the Bucs should do with their No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Vikings would want at least a second-rounder and a late-round pick for Adrian Peterson, writes Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, who does not expect the team to lower its asking price just to move Peterson.
  • The Lions will likely wait until after the draft to address their left guard spot, and when they do, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com expects the team to add a veteran at the position.
  • John Mullin of CSNChicago.com writes that, with each signing the Bears make, the job security of those already on the roster becomes more uncertain. That is especially true on the defensive side of the ball, where Chicago has added two linebackers and is moving a 2014 defensive end back to outside linebacker. That means the three Game 16 starters of last season, Jonathan Bostic, Christian Jones, and Shea McClellin, are competing for one vacancy.
  • Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Rams will select a quarterback in this year’s draft, noting that if they do, they better strike early.
  • Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com examine Washington‘s depth chart at quarterback. El-Bashir believes the team will draft a signal-caller, which will leave Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins fighting for one job.
  • John Keim of ESPN.com does not believe Washington will bring back Tyler Polumbus or Brandon Meriweather, and he would not be surprised if the team drafted Marcus Mariota if the former Oregon signal-caller is still available when Washington is on the clock.
  • Dan Graziano of ESPNNewYork.com writes that, in a perfect world, there would be a clear-cut option at pass-rusher for the Giants to select with their No. 9 overall pick. The problem is that most of the premium pass rushers, outside of perhaps Bud Dupree, look more like 3-4 outside linebackers than 4-3 defensive ends. As such, the team may end up with one of this year’s top offensive lineman, like Brandon Scherff or Ereck Flowers.

NFC Notes: Bucs, Brown, Washington

Linked heavily to Jameis Winston since locking up the No. 1 pick and recently reported to be undeterred by the quarterback’s latest legal issues, the Buccaneers may be backing off that stance slightly. There now could be two draft slots available for teams desperate for signal-calling help, reports Bob Glauber of Newsday.

Although the Bucs, who haven’t held the No. 1 draft choice since taking Vinny Testaverde at that position in 1987, are expected to take either Winston or Marcus Mariota, they are willing to listen to offers for the selection, sources told Glauber. The possibility of stockpiling picks and either selecting a second-tier quarterback later or further determining Mike Glennon‘s legitimacy are contingency plans.

The Browns and Chargers are the most likely teams to pull the trigger on a trade, reports Glauber, with the Jets and Eagles now backing off their pursuits due to Gang Green only possessing six selections and the Eagles unwilling to pay what it would cost to vault from No. 20 to a top-two slot. Glauber notes the Eagles are prepared to go into the season with Sam Bradford as their starter.

A team hasn’t traded a No. 1 pick during the draft since the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers exchange 11 years ago, and the Falcons trading up in 2001 representing the last time a franchise that didn’t finish with the worst record the previous season made the No. 1 overall selection.

Some other notes from around the NFC.

  • The Mariota-to-Philadelphia rumor has indeed lost steam, according to Dave Spadaro of PhiladelphiaEagles.com, with the prospect of the Eagles adding picks by trading down gaining it. The Eagles own seven picks as of now and traded out of their first-round window last year.
  • Despite being one of several teams in the late derby to add Stevie Brown, the Giants are still considered “one of the favorites” to re-sign him, reports Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com. The Giants’ offer, however, may not top the market that includes the Cowboys, Falcons, Titans and Raiders. But the 27-year-old former seventh-round pick would be a crucial land for Big Blue, as they are in need of two starting safeties. Little-known commodities Nat Berhe and Cooper Taylor are their incumbents at strong safety, increasing the likelihood of a high draft choice coming to help the Giants on the back end. Although converted corners Chykie Brown, Bennett Jackson and Josh Gordy may provide competition at the free safety position, Brown would immediately surge to the top spot there if he re-signs, reports Ranaan.
  • Roy Helu‘s exit to Oakland leaves Washington without a proven backup to Alfred Morris. More importantly, Helu (47 receptions, 477 yards last season) was the team’s only proven third-down back. Chris Thompson is now the favorite to assume that role despite seeing backfield action in just two games in 2014, report Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. Tandler, however, adds that Washington’s coaching staff grew impatient with the 2013 fifth-rounder out of Florida State due to injury struggles and expects this position to be addressed in the draft. Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Missouri’s Marcus Murphy are among those who would fit here, reports El-Bashir, with Pierre Thomas and his 327 career catches still sitting in free agency.

Extra Points: Dez, Johnson, Cooper, Draft Visits

The recent falling out between Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and longtime mentor David Wells makes it unlikely Bryant will stay in Dallas long term, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). The Cowboys view Wells as crucial to keeping Bryant out of trouble off the field, and if Wells isn’t going to continue on as part of Bryant’s life, Cole doesn’t expect the team to risk giving the wideout a long-term deal. Bryant, on whom the Cowboys placed the franchise tag earlier this offseason, is scheduled to become a free agent next year.

Rounding up the rest of the latest NFL news as Friday comes to a close:

  • Colts receiver Andre Johnson spent the first 12 years of his career with the Texans and caught over 1,000 passes before the team released him in March. Despite subsequently signing with AFC South rival Indianapolis, Johnson doesn’t harbor ill will against his old team. “It wasn’t about circling (game) dates or nothing against the Texans. I had 12 great years [in Houston],” Johnson said Friday, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle“I have nothing bad against the Texans.” 
  • The Giants could draft a receiver with the ninth overall pick, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (Twitter link), who believes Amari Cooper of Alabama tops their wideout big board. However, Raanan tweets that it’s unlikely Cooper will fall to the Giants.
  • Speaking of Cooper, multiple teams rate him as the best player in the draft, per Peter King of TheMMQB.com (Twitter).
  • University of Kentucky edge rusher Bud Dupree visited the Rams on Friday, reports Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter).
  • Sacramento State wide receiver DeAndre Carter will visit the Patriots on Monday, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter).
  • Washington visited with University of Pittsburgh linebacker Todd Thomas on Friday, tweets Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.Net.
  • The Colts on Friday hosted a pair of safety prospects – Northwestern’s Ibraheim Campbell and Samford’s Jaquiski Tartt – per Pauline (Twitter).

NFC East Notes: Dez, Cowboys, Giants, Eagles

Since the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Dez Bryant in March, there hasn’t been much progress in keeping the 26-year-old in Dallas long term. One reason, according to Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com, is a dispute between Bryant’s representatives at Roc Nation and his former adviser, David Wells. In February, one of Bryant’s attorneys, Jordan Siev, sent Wells a cease-and-desist letter ordering him to terminate his formal business relationship with the two-time Pro Bowler. Wells claims to have an adviser agreement with Bryant that runs through 2016, however, and has served as an off-field mentor to the star wideout.

“My job is to make sure Dez is productive in society and do what he’s supposed to do to make him a better citizen, so he can be a productive player for the Dallas Cowboys,” Wells said, per Taylor.

Other news on Bryant, the Cowboys and a couple of their NFC East rivals:

  • Bryant still hasn’t signed his franchise tender with the Cowboys yet, but Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News doesn’t believe it’ll be a big deal until the July 15 deadline to negotiate a long-term deal passes. If Bryant doesn’t sign either the tender or new contract by then, it’ll mean that he’s a potential training camp holdout. What’s more, even if Bryant ends up signing the tender and reporting, he and the Cowboys won’t be able to restart negotiations on a new contract until the end of next season.
  • Dallas worked out UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, reports Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link).
  • Neither of the Giants’ starting safeties for 2015 are currently on their roster, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN (via Twitter). Graziano also tweeted that offensive linemen Brandon Scherff (Iowa) and Ereck Flowers (Miami) and Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes are among the draft prospects the Giants are eyeing. All could be potential first-round targets for the Giants, who hold the ninth overall pick.
  • If the Eagles are unable to land quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft, Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com doesn’t expect them to address the position with a high-round pick – perhaps opting instead for a developmental project to put behind Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. McManus also believes there’s a good chance the Eagles will use their first-rounder, the 20th overall pick, on a defensive back.

Draft Notes: Rams, Winston, Vikings, Saints

Despite already having a starting-caliber quarterback in Nick Foles, the Rams are doing their due diligence with the position as the NFL draft nears. They worked out Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota for roughly an hour Thursday, tweets the NFL Network’s Albert Breer. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted earlier Thursday that, in addition to Mariota, the Rams will work out Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Baylor’s Bryce Petty, Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson and UCLA’s Brett Hundley in the coming days. Mariota and Winston should be long gone by the time the Rams’ first-round selection, the 10th overall pick, rolls around, while the rest are viewed as options in the second round and beyond.

More draft-related news:

  • NFL teams were already aware of Jameis Winston’s latest legal troubles before the news broke Thursday and those issues won’t affect his draft status, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (video link).
  • The Vikings have done their homework on a pair of safety prospects, Louisville’s James Sample and Central Florida’s Clayton Geathers, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). Both are projected as mid-round picks.
  • Although West Virginia defensive end Shaquille Riddick wasn’t among the 323 prospects invited to February’s scouting combine, he has drawn pre-draft interest from the Giants, Cardinals, Eagles, Texans, Saints, Bears and Chiefs, tweets Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. Riddick told Ulrich that is using the combine snub as motivation. “Wherever I go, I’m going to be a surprise that they’re going to benefit from,” said Riddick. “And whoever doesn’t select me, they’re going to have to worry about me terrorizing their quarterbacks.”
  • The Saints will host their local pro day on Friday, according to Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com. Per Woodbery, at least a dozen players will participate. Only those who grew up within a 40-mile radius of New Orleans or attended college within the same distance are eligible to partake.