Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WR Rumors: Marshall, V-Jax, Wallace, Harvin

With Reggie Wayne‘s NFL future still up in the air, the Colts have explored the possibility of bringing in a veteran wide receiver to start opposite T.Y. Hilton, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). According to Cole, the team has internally discussed players like Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Mike Wallace, and Vincent Jackson as potential targets. Not all of those players will become available in the next few weeks, but one or more could be traded or released, and if the Colts had their pick, Marshall may be their top choice, per Cole.

While we wait to see if any opportunities open up for the Colts, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com has a few more tidbits for us on the wide receiver market. Let’s dive in….

  • Cole noted in the above video that Jackson likely isn’t going anywhere, and La Canfora agrees that it looks like he’ll be back with the Buccaneers. However, it doesn’t seem as if Jackson will be willing to take a pay cut, sources tell La Canfora.
  • La Canfora also touches on the Marshall situation, noting that if a team were to call asking about a possible trade, “it’s not like [the Bears] wouldn’t pick up the phone.”
  • According to multiple general managers, Wallace is the only wideout being “actively shopped” at the moment. The Dolphins continue to explore a deal, and La Canfora suggests Wallace himself would be interested in returning to the Steelers, though it’s not clear if that interest is mutual. $3MM of Wallace’s base salary for 2015 becomes guaranteed on March 13, so that may act as a deadline of sorts for Miami.
  • Percy Harvin won’t accept a pay cut to stick with the Jets, and trading him would likely be impossible, so he looks like a good bet to be cut. If that happens, many teams would want to pick him up on a short-term deal, says La Canfora.
  • We can expect the Dwayne Bowe situation to come to a head soon — paying him $11MM with a $14MM cap hit is a luxury the Chiefs can’t afford, so Bowe may be willing to accept a pay cut, knowing he won’t make close to that amount on the open market.
  • With cap numbers for Anquan Boldin and Stevie Johnson on the rise, and Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd eligible for free agency, La Canfora wouldn’t be surprised if only one of those four players returns to the 49ers for next season — if that.
  • Johnson and the Texans had a bit of a stand-off a year ago, and with the veteran wideout carrying a $16MM into the 2015 season, the two sides may be headed for another interesting summer. La Canfora isn’t convinced Johnson will remain in Houston long-term, but says “time will tell.”
  • Two Dolphins wideouts have already been released today, and according to Armando Salguero the Miami Herald (Twitter links), Rishard Matthews asked the team to be cut or traded as well. However, Miami has denied that request for now, says Salguero.

Browns, Bills Finalists For Josh McCown?

Multiple reports emerged linking Josh McCown to two of the perpetually quarterback-needy teams. Both the Browns and Bills are trying to sign the 35-year-old free agent, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The news that the Browns and Bills are zeroing in on McCown, who the Buccaneers released earlier this month, came after an Associated Press report saying both teams were negotiating a contract with one of the top targets in a quarterback-starved market. McCown already visited both teams with his trip to Cleveland coming after an apparently productive excursion to Buffalo, along with meetings with the Bears and Jets.

McCown, who went 1-10 in Tampa Bay last year, has ties to coaches on both the Browns’ and Bills’ staffs and sits near the top of a market that also includes Mark Sanchez and likely ex-Browns QB Brian Hoyer (10-6 for the Browns in two seasons). Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer was the Bears OC the past two years and coached McCown during his most notable stretch of his career, when he completed 66% of his tosses in five games of Jay Cutler‘s injury absence. That number sunk to just more than 56% with the Bucs last season with 11 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

Although McCown is six years older than new Browns QBs coach Kevin O’Connell, he played for new Cleveland offensive coordinator John DeFilippo during a 2007 stint with the Raiders when DeFilippo was the OC there.

Both E.J. Manuel and Johnny Manziel are enigmas at this point, although Manuel’s 58.6 career completion percentage provides a bit more of a glimpse into his NFL fate than Manziel’s brief-but-disastrous rookie campaign.

Extra Points: Bush, Peterson, Skrine

Reggie Bush is available, but he’s not the answer to the Saints‘ problems, Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune writes. Bush was the very first draft pick Sean Payton’s nine-year tenure in New Orleans, but they’re probably prioritizing a new deal for the 25-year-old Mark Ingram instead.

The Saints remain saddled with the NFL’s worst cap situation at more than $21MM over, which makes adding a running back entering his age-30 season probably a non-starter.

In other news around the league …

  • Money is the overlooked factor in the drama between Adrian Peterson and the Vikings, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Peterson might be unhappy with perceived slights from the organization, but the reality is that he could earn $12.75MM with the Vikings in 2015 and it’s not clear if another team would pay him that much, especially after giving up whatever is necessary in compensation to the Vikings in a trade.
  • Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, who was cut by the Packers last week along with tight end Brandon Bostick, has three more visits with teams scheduled for next week after meeting with the Patriots, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).
  • Browns cornerback Buster Skrine is attracting plenty of interest from other teams, sources told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Serving as the No. 2 corner to Joe Haden on last season’s No. 8-ranked pass defense that didn’t get much out of No. 8 overall pick Justin Gilbert, the soon-to-be 26-year-old Skrine could command as much as $7MM per year, per Cabot, on the free agent market headlined by Brandon Flowers, Kareem Jackson and Byron Maxwell.
  • The Bucs hired Paul Spicer as assistant defensive line coach, per the Baltimore Sun’s Wilson on Twitter. A former Jaguars defensive end, Spicer previously served as the Jaguars assistant DL coach and played under current Tampa Bay defensive line coach Joe Cullen for the Jags.

Luke Adams and Sam Robinson contributed to this report

FA Rumors: Pascoe, Jean-Francois, McCourty

The agent for tight end Bear Pascoe tells D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his client will be moving on from the Falcons next month.

“We had a great conversation with the Falcons and it looks like at this point Bear is going to explore some other options for next year and the Falcons are going to do the same,” said Noel LaMontagne, Pascoe’s agent. “The front office and Bear both were really appreciative of everything over the last year, but with coaching changes, there will always be other changes, so Bear is going to see what else is out there for the future.”

Let’s round up a few more Wednesday updates on 2015’s prospective free agents:

  • After been released by the Colts earlier this week, defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois is seeking a new home for the 2015 season, and a pair of potential suitors has already surfaced. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Jean-Francois has visits lined up with Washington and the 49ers this week. Jean-Francois has a history with the Niners, having spent the first four years of his NFL career in San Francisco.
  • Asked about the possibility of being franchised by the Patriots, safety Devin McCourty wasn’t sure if that’s the team’s plan, but said being tagged wouldn’t be the worst thing (Twitter link via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald). “The franchise tag is player-friendly now,” McCourty said (Twitter link via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com). “It’s a good number.”
  • After some confusion about his contract status, Lions defensive end George Johnson is being considered a restricted free agent by both the NFL and NFLPA, says Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). As such, there’s a very good chance Johnson returns to Detroit.
  • Appearing on PFT Live today, veteran safety Mike Adams said he’d like to retire as a Colt (Twitter link). Adams, who is eligible for free agency, turns 34 next month, so there’s a chance his next contract will be his last.
  • As we heard this morning, the Dolphins are working to get a deal done with tight end Charles Clay. If he remains unsigned when the free agent period arrives though, Clay’s market will be “very strong,” tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk takes a look at a few clubs to watch in free agency, identifying the Falcons, Buccaneers, Raiders, Jaguars, and Bills as the teams poised to spend big.

Tuesday Roundup: Cassel, Winston, Peterson

Vikings GM Rick Spielman said that nothing definitive has been decided about bringing Matt Cassel back to the team, but Spielman was complimentary of his veteran signal-caller when discussing him earlier this week. “We went through our process, we evaluated all of our players,” Spielman said, according to Brian Hall of FOXSportsNorth.com. “We looked at everything from what they bring to our football team, in the locker room, off the field, what they bring to us on the field. But we also have to look at where they’re at from a standpoint of their contract, where we’re at from a cap standpoint…Matt’s done a great job. Came in and has won some games when he had to play. He’s a great locker-room guy. Matt has a lot of value to us.” Cassel is signed for the 2015 season at a salary of $4.15MM, and he’ll count $4.75MM against the cap.

Now for some more links from around the league on this Tuesday evening:

  • Tahir Whitehead filled in capably for Stephen Tulloch when Tulloch went out last season, and that leaves the Lions with an interesting choice this offseason, as Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes. Detroit could continue to roll with Whitehead at middle linebacker and carve out some space by parting ways with Tulloch. The 30-year-old is slated to count $5.8MM against the cap next season. Whitehead, meanwhile, costs just $713K.
  • The consensus around the league is that the Buccaneers will draft Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick, according to a tweet from the NFL Network (citing its own Ian Rapoport).
  • The Colts are in dire need of a running back, and Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes that the team will be closely monitoring the Adrian Peterson situation. If Peterson and the Vikings part ways, Indianapolis GM Ryan Grigson, a noted risk-taker, may pull the trigger.
  • Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora has no plans to retire, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Umenyiora, 33, will become a free agent on March 10, and he said he would like to play at least one more season. If he could choose, Umenyiora stated that he would like to finish his career where it started: with the Giants.
  • Packers fullback John Kuhn is one of the last members of a dying breed, but the impending free agent reaffirmed his importance to the Green Bay offense in 2014, earning first team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. As Weston Hodkiewicz of PackersNews.com writes, there is mutual interest in Kuhn’s return to the Packers.
  • Former Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne, who has garnered interest from at least a dozen teams, is expected to sign with a club this week, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (writing for the National Football Post).
  • Bill Williamson of ESPN.com believes middle linebacker Nate Irving could be a fit with the Raiders if the impending free agent is not re-signed by the Broncos.
  • Parys Haralson, who signed a one-year deal with the Saints in February, hopes to end his career in New Orleans, writes Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune.
  • Jason Fitzerald of OverTheCap.com provides the Panthers‘ salary cap outlook for the 2015 season.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

 

Latest On Trade Market For Mike Glennon

A former Buccaneers quarterback — the veteran Josh McCown — is drawing interest in free agency after having been released by Tampa Bay earlier this month. But a current Bucs QB — third-year signal-caller Mike Glennon – might be able to bring back the Bucs some form of compensation if they’re willing to trade him. Per Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter link), the feeling around the league is that Tampa could receive as much as a third-round pick if it decides to deal Glennon.

One team that might show interest, unsurprisingly, is the Browns, who have also been linked to both McCown and Sam Bradford as they attempt to upgrade their quarterback situation. Two league sources tell Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com that Cleveland has “sniffed around” on Glennon’s availability, and while there haven’t been any formal offers, it seems like the Browns would certainly been amenable to discussing a trade. Caplan confirms Fowler’s report (Twitter link), adding that the Browns have been looking into Glennon for some time.

If the Buccaneers are set on using the first overall pick in this year’s draft to select a QB — either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota — then attempting to secure compensation for Glennon would probably be the right move. Besides those top two options, the draft doesn’t offer much depth at the quarterback position, and the free agent market is equally lacking, so Glennon would present an alternative for QB-needy teams. In turn, the Browns — who hold two first-round picks — could be interested in parting with a mid-round selection in order to acquire Glennon.

Glennon isn’t outstanding by any means, but at age 25 he offers youth, and he’s been at least mildly capable throughout his first two years in the league. He’s signed for the next two seasons, with cap figures under $1MM in both years.

Lovie: Bucs Won’t Sit Out Free Agency

A year ago, the Buccaneers were perhaps the most active team in the NFL when free agency opened, signing Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Alterraun Verner, and Evan Dietrich-Smith to long-term deals, and adding a new starting quarterback in Josh McCown. Of course, that spending spree didn’t exactly work out for the Bucs, as Lovie Smith‘s club stumbled to a league-worst 2-14 record and the first overall pick in 2015. While Tampa Bay may not be quite as aggressive in free agency this time around, last year’s failures won’t discourage the team from being involved next month, according to Smith.

“We’d like to build [the roster] through the draft, but I think you use every avenue possible to improve your squad,” Smith said at the combine, per Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “Free agency is coming up. It’s not like we’re out of the free agency business. Hopefully, we can make some better decisions. Just because something didn’t turn out, we’re not going to stop playing football. We’re going to get back up on it and start doing things better. We’re going to do a better job in free agency and everything else this year.”

Heading into his second year as the Bucs’ head coach, Smith added that he’s much more familiar with the team’s roster now, which should help the team make better decisions in free agency. And in spite of last year’s investments, Tampa Bay still has plenty of room to maneuver this winter. According to Over The Cap’s data, the Bucs are currently about $32.6MM under the projected 2015 cap.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Jones, Galette

Even though the Falcons could use some more depth right now, GM Thomas Dimitroff doesn’t regret blowing up the 2011 draft to land Julio Jones, Will Brinson of CBSSports.com writes. “I feel depth — let’s talk about depth. You can talk about depth at so many levels,” Dimitroff said. “Maybe what we passed up, what went to Cleveland, you can juxtapose that again. I know how important Julio is to this team, the game-breaking skills he has. We wanted our offense to have that presence.” Here’s more from the NFC South..

  • Junior Galette‘s attorney, Ralph Whalen, issued a statement indicating that the domestic violence charges against his client have been dismissed, according to Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune (on Twitter). The Saints linebacker could still face NFL discipline for the January incident.
  • Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is eligible for free agency next month, and there’s “definite interest” in the veteran from at least one AFC team, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • The Buccaneers added a new executive to their front office today, announcing in a press release that they’ve hired Duke Preston as the club’s new director of player development. Preston previously held the same position at the University of Notre Dame.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

East Notes: Bills, Cowboys, Eagles, Dolphins

Based on comments made by Bills general manager Doug Whaley today, Joe Buscaglia of WGR550 (Twitter link) believes free-agents-to-be C.J. Spiller, Brandon Spikes, and Da’Norris Searcy will be allowed to explore their options on the open market next month. Conversely, it sounds like the team badly wants to re-sign Marcus Easley prior to March 10 (Twitter link).

Let’s round up several more items relating to the league’s East teams….

  • While Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray are receiving most of the attention in Dallas this offseason, linebacker Rolando McClain is also someone the team is “very interested” in re-signing, according to Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones (link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
  • The Cowboys were pleased with Brandon Weeden‘s work as Tony Romo‘s backup in 2014, but won’t rule out the possibility of upgrading at that spot if the opportunity presents itself, writes Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com. “Everybody is always competing in this league,” Jones said. “There is nobody guaranteed anything. That includes Weeden and everybody.”
  • Prior to their release of tight end James Casey today, the Eagles didn’t have any discussions about reducing Casey’s salary and keeping him, tweets Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News. According to Bowen, the veteran is looking for a bigger role than he had in Philadelphia, so he may get that opportunity with a new team.
  • Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com believes the Eagles may find a logical trade partner in the Buccaneers, since GM Jason Licht hasn’t been shy about making deals since taking over the job. In Mosher’s view, Bucs safety Dashon Goldson makes sense as a trade target for Philadelphia.
  • The issue for the Dolphins when it comes to Mike Wallace isn’t as simple as cutting or keeping the veteran wideout, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, who writes that the team is almost certainly trying to restructure Wallace’s deal, or get him to take a pay cut.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Ingram, V-Jax

The Saints are still interested in reaching a deal with upcoming free agent running back Mark Ingram, but GM Mickey Loomis tells Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune that their ability to keep him will be “intertwined” with the team’s salary cap situation and Ingram’s market value. “In free agency, everyone wants to see what the market is,” Loomis said. “The question is, can that get done prior to March 10? Can both sides get a good feel for that beforehand and do a deal, or do we need to wait and see where all the offers are and respond accordingly?” Here’s more from the NFC South..

  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht will meet with the agent for Vincent Jackson in Indianapolis, presumably to ask for a restructuring of his $9.77MM salary, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Jackson finished the year with 70 catches for 1,002 receiving yards and two touchdowns. That yardage total was the lowest he’s had in a full season since 2007. When asked if Jackson will be back in 2015, Licht said (link), “Absolutely. We really like Vincent Jackson.”
  • Loomis also told Woodbery that the Saints have a plan to get under the NFL salary cap by March 10th. Getting that done won’t be a walk in the park and all things considered, Loomis says he has a checklist of about 20 things to accomplish in the coming months. On the other hand, things should be a bit more straightforward than last year, when Jimmy Graham‘s status dominated the offseason.
  • The Saints won’t hire a new player personnel director following Ryan Pace‘s departure, Katherine Terrell of The Times-Picayune writes. Loomis said filling Pace’s role just to fill a title isn’t really necessary, as titles have never meant much to him anyway.