Tampa Bay Buccaneers

La’el Collins Rumors: Tuesday

2015’s most noteworthy undrafted free agent is generating plenty of headlines again today, as teams around the NFL consider making a play for him. Here’s the latest on former LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins:

  • The Giants continue to monitor Collins’ situation and remain “in the mix” for the LSU lineman, a source tells Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.
  • Another former LSU teammate of Collins, Panthers guard Trai Turner, is doing his best to recruit the rookie to Carolina, as David Newton of ESPN.com details. We noted below that a number of Dolphins players who used to play at LSU are also making an effort to woo Collins.
  • NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that NFL clubs are prohibited from visiting Collins at his campus or residence until final exams conclude at LSU. According to Florio, that will happen on May 9, which explains why Collins’ reps say no formal meetings are happening for now.

Earlier updates:

  • According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, Collins’ agents are calling teams to let them know who’s in and who’s out in the race for their client. “This is a football decision and that is what we will focus on in helping La’el find the best team for him in the future,” a source in Collins’ camp tells Wilson.
  • On the other hand, an Associated Press report (via The Denver Post) cites agent Deryk Gilmore as saying that his client isn’t meeting with NFL teams about his pro football future at this time. That doesn’t necessarily contradict Wilson’s report — Gilmore, Collins, and co. may simply be narrowing down their options before making formal visits. Of course, Collins also met with many teams during the pre-draft process, so he may not need to make repeat trips to some cities.
  • While teams may not be officially meeting with Collins at this point, that hasn’t stopped individual players from recruiting him. According to Chad Sabadie of Fox 8 in New Orleans (Twitter link), current Dolphins – and Collins’ former LSU teammates – Jarvis Landry, Anthony Johnson, and Kelvin Sheppard are meeting with the lineman today.
  • Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is “pushing hard” for Collins to come to Tampa Bay, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). Getlin writes that the No. 1 overall pick has reached out to Collins “multiple times” over the last 24 hours to sell him on the idea of joining the Bucs.
  • Earlier today, we heard that Washington isn’t expected to be a serious suitor for Collins.

NFC Notes: Cards, Washington, Bears

While John Carlson‘s retirement announcement today came as a surprise to many observers, the Cardinals‘ football people weren’t shocked by the news, per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter links). However, Somers notes that the team wasn’t aware of Carlson’s plan prior to the draft, so it’s fair to wonder if Arizona might’ve taken a tight end a little earlier — the team selected Louisville’s Gerald Christian with the 256th and final pick in this year’s draft, making him 2015’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • After selecting running back Matt Jones in the draft last week, Washington is no longer in the market for veteran free agent Pierre Thomas, tweets ESPN.com’s John Keim.
  • Following the 2015 draft, the Bears’ front office is undergoing some major changes under new general manager Ryan Pace. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune details, college scouting director Marty Barrett won’t have his contract renewed after 18 years with the franchise. Meanwhile, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets that Jay Muraco is out as Chicago’s East Coast scout, confirming a report from Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague (Twitter link). A source tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link) that Barrett figures to land with the Jets, while Caplan tweets that Muraco may resurface with the Falcons.
  • Speaking to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com, Pace explained why the Bears decided not to use one of their six picks on a quarterback during the draft.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap takes a closer look at the specific numbers in Jameis Winston‘s rookie contract with the Buccaneers, and how they reflect the changes in the overall rookie salary pool. So far, Winston is the only rookie reported to have officially signed his contract.
  • Panthers special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven is taking a medical leave of absence to deal with a “serious health situation,” and will be replaced in the interim by Russ Purnell, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Buccaneers Sign 13 UDFAs

The Buccaneers have announced the signing of 13 undrafted free agents to go along with their seven-man draft class.

If I were a guy that doesn’t get drafted that can rush the passer, I would certainly want to come here,” said GM Jason Licht in the release. “We could certainly use depth at linebacker and we could sure probably use some depth, some competition back there in the secondary. [In] all areas we could use depth and guys who want to push and compete.”

Here’s a rundown of the UDFAs who will be fighting to make the Bucs’ final roster this fall..

  • Quinton Alston, LB, Iowa
  • Dominique Brown, RB, Louisville
  • Quayshawne Buckley, DT Idaho
  • Courtland Clavette, LS, Brown
  • Ryan Delaire, DE, Towson ($15K signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun on Twitter).
  • Deshazor Everett, CB, Texas A&M
  • Chris Hackett, S, TCU
  • Rannell Hall, WR, UCF
  • Josh Keyes, LB, Boston College
  • Caushaud Lyons, DT, Tusculum
  • Josh Reese, WR, UCF
  • Michael Reynolds, LB, Kansas
  • Jamal Young, DE, Jones County Junior College

Minor Moves: Monday

With the draft now in the books, we can expect plenty of roster shuffling in the coming days and weeks, as teams ready their 90-man rosters for training camp. Here are Monday’s minor moves from around the league:

4:20pm:

  • The Broncos have waived offensive tackles Paul Cornick and Jeremy Kelley, according to the Denver Post (Twitter link). Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link) expects the Bears to have interest in Cornick, who started six games in Dener last season. Of course, new Bears head coach John Fox and OC Adam Gase were previously with the Broncos.
  • The Falcons have signed former Titans fullback Collin Mooney, the team announced today (Twitter link). It’s a multiyear pact for Mooney, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Syracuse linebacker Cameron Lynch is the latest rookie free agent to join the Rams, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link).
  • The 49ers have waived linebacker Chase Thomas with a non-football injury designation, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Thomas tore his ACL in the offseason.
  • The Buccaneers have claimed offensive lineman Reid Fragel off waivers from the Falcons, per Wilson (via Twitter). The move reunites the ex-Falcon with his old offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter.
  • The Packers have cut offensive lineman Joe Madsen, tweets Wilson. Madsen finished the year on the team’s practice squad before signing a futures contract.

10:46am:

  • The Colts have cut several players from their roster today, according to Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, who tweets that the team waived wide receiver Kadron Boone, defensive end Gannon Conway, offensive lineman Matt Hall, and former Olympic medalist Jeff Demps.
  • Washington has parted ways with veteran edge defender Gabe Miller, according to his agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link). The former fifth-round pick saw his first regular-season NFL action last season.
  • Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean (Twitter link) adds Maryland linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil to the list of UDFAs signed by the Titans.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Barksdale, Winston

Although 49ers fullback Bruce Miller won’t face a more serious assault charge, he has been charged with misdemeanor vandalism for a domestic incident in which he allegedly threw his girlfriend’s phone against a wall, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. If he’s convicted, Miller faces up to a year in jail.

Miller wasn’t participating in the 49ers’ offseason program while Santa Clara police were investigating the incident, and it appears he’ll continue to stay away from the team. Sources tell Maiocco that the 49ers and Miller have agreed to remain apart as the legal process moves toward a conclusion.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter), Joe Barksdale remains interested in re-signing with the Rams, who were said over the weekend to maintain interest in the free agent offensive tackle. However, there have been no talks today between the two sides.
  • The Buccaneers‘ agreement with first overall pick Jameis Winston includes a clause prohibiting the QB from playing professional baseball during the life of his rookie contract, says Peter King of TheMMQB.com.
  • There were three quarterbacks that piqued the Cowboys‘ interest in this year’s draft class, but once the draft got underway, the team never considered trading up to grab a signal-caller, according to owner Jerry Jones (link via Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News).
  • As the Rams‘ 41st overall pick neared on Friday, the team received trade inquiries from the Chiefs, Eagles, Texans, Steelers, Panthers, and Cowboys, writes Michael Silver of NFL.com. After fielding offers from every team except Dallas, the Rams elected to strike a deal with the Panthers, who used the pick to grab wide receiver Devin Funchess.
  • Anthony Patch has been let go as the Eagles‘ director of college scouting, sources tell Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link). Changes to scouting departments typically happen following the draft, particularly for teams like the Eagles, who underwent front office changes earlier in the offseason.

Bucs Decline Doug Martin’s 2016 Option

The Buccaneers have decided not to exercise their fifth-year option on running back Doug Martin, tweets Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. The move ensures that, barring a new agreement with the team, the former first-round pick will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2015 season.

Martin, 26, burst into the league in 2012, racking up 1,454 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, en route to a spot in the Pro Bowl. However, injuries and underwhelming production have limited him during the last couple seasons, as he has been repeatedly usurped on the Bucs’ running back depth chart. While Martin should have a chance to earn the No. 1 job this summer, he figures to receive competition from Bobby Rainey, Mike James, and Charles Sims.

As the 31st overall pick, Martin would have been in line for a $5.621MM salary in 2016 had the Bucs elected to pick up his option. Last year, the Saints were in a similar position with running back Mark Ingram and also declined to exercise their option — Ingram responded with a career year, so presumably Tampa Bay wouldn’t mind a similar outcome with Martin.

Extra Points: Glennon, Pats, Panthers, S. Moss

As soon as the 2015 NFL concludes, there will be a flurry of news related to undrafted free agent signings. Each team will add 10-12 extra players in the coming days, and while we’ll cover each transaction, we won’t rush to get all the information out as quickly as possible. As we did last year at this time, we’ll wait until a club confirms its UDFA moves before we post them — it’s a policy that will make the information a bit more palatable for readers (and surely, for us as well).

With that said, let’s take a look at some notes as the draft wraps up:

  • Despite their selection of Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, the Buccaneers did not receive any calls about backup quarterback Mike Glennon, according to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune (via Twitter). As Cummings notes, Tampa has made it clear that Glennon isn’t on the trade block, so it’s not a total surprise that no other clubs expressed interest.
  • The Patriots selected Navy long snapper Joe Cardona with their fifth-round pick, but might not have the four-year starter when they open up the regular season in September, Cardona has a pending military service commitment, and is required to serve five years as a Naval Officer following his graduation and commission in May, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Cardona will apply for an exemption that will allow him to postpone his service in order to pursue an NFL career.
  • The Panthers selected linebacker/safety hybrid Shaq Thompson with their first-round pick, but drew some criticism about not trading down and selecting him where he was likely to be available early in round two. General manager David Gettleman defended the pick, noting the value of having the fifth-year option on a first-round pick, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (via Twitter).
  • Washington drafted a pair of receivers in Jamison Crowder and Evan Spencer, but that doesn’t mean the end of the line for Santana Moss, writes John Keim of ESPN (via Twitter). Crowder specifically poses a threat to Moss, at 5’8″ and with speed and value returning punts and kicks. Moss caught only 10 passes for 116 yards in 2014, all in the last five games of the season.
  • The Saints were prepared to trade up to select linebacker Davis Tull, said head coach Sean Payton, according to Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com (Twitter link). The Chattanooga product ultimately fell to New Orleans in the fifth round.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Buccaneers Acquire No. 124 Pick From Raiders

For the second time today, the Raiders have moved down in the fourth round. Oakland will trade the No. 124 pick acquired from the Panthers to the Buccaneers, the Raiders announced on Twitter. In return, Oakland will receive a fourth round (No. 128) and seventh round (No. 218) selection.

With the pick, the Bucs will select LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander. The 20-year-old is the first defensive player selected by the Buccaneers since 2013, and it’s the first defender taken during Jason Licht and Lovie Smith‘s tenure.

Extra Points: Gregory, Texans, Bengals

Here’s a look at the latest from around the NFL as the 2015 draft continues:

  • Representatives for Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, whom the Cowboys chose 60th overall, made it clear before the draft that he’d need significant support from his NFL team, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That support is expected to include a security person and personal handler for Gregory, whose draft stock plummeted because of off-field concerns – notably marijuana use and potential mental health issues.
  • The Texans aren’t going to trade cornerback Johnathan Joseph, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). The nine-year veteran is entering the final season of his contract, but McClain reports that his place on the team is safe.
  • The Bengals filled a need along their offensive line Thursday when they used their first-round pick on Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. Had Ogbuehi been gone before then, the Bengals would’ve selected Oregon’s Jake Fisher, tweets ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. As luck would have it, Fisher was still available at No. 53, the Bengals’ second-rounder, so they were also able to land him.
  • Before drafting Mississippi cornerback Senqeuz Golson with the 56th pick, the Steelers attempted to move up and grab LSU’s Jalen Collins, who went 42nd to the Falcons, reports Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (via Twitter). They also liked Utah’s Eric Rowe, whom the Eagles selected at No. 47.
  • Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said he traded up for Hobart guard Ali Marpet because offensive line depth in the draft was shrinking, Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com tweeted. The Bucs selected Marpet in the second round after sending the 65th and 109th picks to the Colts for Nos. 61 and 128.
  • Michigan defensive end Frank Clark, whom the Seahawks chose with the 63rd pick, said he had a lot of pre-draft contact with the team, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Clark’s agent told him that the Seahawks “had a man crush on [Clark],” according to Condotta.

Buccaneers Acquire 61st Pick From Colts

The Buccaneers have acquired the 61st pick from the Colts in exchange for No. 65, according to Mike Chappell of Fox59 (Twitter link), and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Bucs will select Hobart guard Ali Marpet. Stroud also reports (Twitter) that the teams will swap fourth-round picks, Indy receiving the 109th choice and Tampa getting No. 128.