Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Contract Details: Morgan, Gilchrist, Cameron

Here are some details on several of the new contracts agreed to or signed by free agents within the last few days:

AFC deals:

  • Derrick Morgan, OLB (Titans): Four years, $27MM base value. $10.5MM fully guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Marcus Gilchrist, S (Jets): Four years, $22MM base value. $10MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
  • Jordan Cameron, TE (Dolphins): Two years, $15MM base value. $5MM fully guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Paul Fanaika, OL (Chiefs): Three years, $6.5MM. $1.75MM signing bonus. Incentives and escalators available (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Alan Branch, DT (Patriots): Two years, $4.3MM base value. $700K signing bonus. Option for 2016 (all Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Tyrod Taylor, QB (Bills): Two years, $3.35MM base value. $1.15MM fully guaranteed. $400K signing bonus. Third year voids (all four Twitter links via Wilson).

NFC deals:

  • Jasper Brinkley, LB (Cowboys): Two years, $6.5MM base value. $2MM guaranteed, $2MM option bonus in 2016 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Akeem Ayers, LB (Rams): Two years, $6MM base value. $2.75MM guaranteed. $1.3MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Andrew Gachkar, LB (Cowboys): Two years, $5.2MM base value. $1.2MM signing bonus. Up to $1MM in annual incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Nick Fairley, DT (Rams): One year, $5MM base value. $1.5MM roster bonus in 2015. Sack and playoff incentives available (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Erik Pears, OL (49ers): Two years, $4.7MM base value. $1MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Kurt Coleman, S (Panthers): Two years, $2.8MM base value. $600K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • O’Brien Schofield, DE (Falcons): One year, $1.7MM base value. $255K signing bonus (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Chris Conte, S (Buccaneers): One year, $1.5MM base value. $1.25MM fully guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of ESPN.com).

King’s Latest: Peterson, Hardy, Winston

After publishing a Wednesday Morning Quarterback last week to recap a crazy first day of NFL free agency, Peter King of TheMMQB.com returns to his usual Monday Morning Quarterback piece this week, and the latest installment includes several noteworthy tidbits from around the league. Let’s round up the highlights….

  • Addressing a report about the Cardinals‘ possible interest in Adrian Peterson, King cites a “reliable Cardinals source” who indicates Arizona hasn’t had any contact with the Vikings about Peterson. “There is no way we could live with those numbers,” the source said, referring to the three years and $45MM left on the running back’s contract. “We just got Larry Fitzgerald’s contract under control. No way we’d add that salary.”
  • One general manager tells King that Greg Hardy is on his club’s free agent list, “but pretty far down.” Many teams believe the veteran defensive end will be suspended by the league for the first six games of the 2015 season.
  • Jameis Winston isn’t currently planning to attend the 2015 NFL draft in Chicago, preferring to spend it with family and friends down south, says King.
  • King thinks a team like the Falcons or Buccaneers would be a nice fit for free agent pass rusher Dwight Freeney.
  • The Jets likely would have blown any rival offer for Darrelle Revis out of the water, so even if the Patriots had been willing to get into the neighborhood of New York’s five-year, $70MM proposal, the Jets probably would’ve just upped the ante.
  • The Cowboys started out at a $5MM-per-year price tag for DeMarco Murray, and were willing to stretch that to $6MM annually, but never considered matching the Eagles‘ final offer, which got up to $8MM+.

NFC Notes: Brown, Mays, Lewis, Satele

With Ron Parker, Kendrick Lewis, Rahim Moore, and Antrel Rolle all signing deals over the past few days, the safety market has evaporated before the Giants’ eyes, writes Jordan Raanan of NJ.com.

Without many options on the roster or left in free agency, Raanan believes the team will have to do their best to re-sign veteran Stevie Brown, who played with the team in 2012 and 2014, missing the season in between. Brown intercepted eight passes in 2012, ties for second in the NFL that season.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC:

  • While discussing some of Washington’s options left in free agency, John Keim of ESPN forgot to mention that the team had interest in safety Taylor Mays (via Twitter). While there was mutual interest, there has been no official visit.
  • Cornerback Keenan Lewis now wants to retire with the Saints despite his previous demand at a guaranteed contract or a release, NOLA.com’s Katherine Terrell reports. New Orleans’ No. 1 corner also denied an NFL.com report that indicated the Saints are re-working his contract. Lewis has three years left on his deal with base salaries totaling $10.8MM.
  • The Vikings hosted former Buccaneer and Bengal Michael Johnson for a visit today, according to the Vikings’ public relations and communication department (via Twitter). The team could place Johnson at defensive end opposite Everson Griffen.
  • The Bears could be in the market for a veteran center, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune suggests that Samson Satele is a name to keep an eye on (via Twitter).
  • The Panthers have filled a number of holes this offseason, and with draft picks, injury replacements, and contract extensions still to be accounted for, general manager Dave Gettleman will likely have to wait another year before making a huge extension, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. He does, however, give five names to watch as possible value signings the team could target this offseason, including Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka and Charles Tillman.
  • Holding the No. 1 draft choice isn’t the only perk of finishing with the league’s worst record. The Buccaneers hold the No. 1 waiver priority thanks to their 2-14 record last year, and they intend to capitalize on it, reports the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud. “It’s a huge deal,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht told Stroud. “Bigger than people realize.” The Texans signed three players with their No. 1 position last season.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Contract Details: Orakpo, D. Williams, Allen

Here are some key details on some of the notable contracts agreed to or signed by free agents this week:

  • Brian Orakpo, OLB (Titans): Four years, $31MM base value. $8.5MM fully guaranteeed. $5MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Dan Williams, DT (Raiders): Four years, $25MM base value. $15.2MM guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter links via Wilson and Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Nate Allen, S (Raiders): Four years, $23MM base value. $6.9MM fully guaranteed (Twitter links via Wilson)
  • Lance Kendricks, TE (Rams): Four years, $18.5MM base value. $6.75MM fully guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Malcolm Smith, LB (Raiders): Two years, $7MM base value. $3.75MM fully guaranteed. $2MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Blaine Gabbert, QB (49ers): Two years, $4MM base value. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Henry Melton, DT (Buccaneers): One year, $3.75MM base value. $3.25MM fully guaranteed. $1.25MM available in incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Adrian Clayborn, DE (Falcons): One year, $3MM base value. $750K signing bonus. $1.25MM available in incentives (Twitter links via Wilson).

FA Rumors: Morgan, Shorts, Gresham, Texans

As anticipated, Derrick Morgan left his meeting in Tampa Bay today without signing with the Buccaneers, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. The Cowboys are expected to be next on Morgan’s list of visits, and the Titans still want to re-sign him as well. As for the Bucs, if they decide to move on from Morgan, it’s not clear who they’d target instead. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the club has yet to reach out to George Selvie, who played his college ball at the University of South Florida.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Jets have interest in wide receiver Cecil Shorts, according to Dom Cosentino of NJ.com. Wide receiver isn’t really an area of need for New York, since the team already has Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Jeremy Kerley on the roster, but adding more weapons would only help whichever quarterback ends up as the Jets’ starter.
  • Tight end Jermaine Gresham paid a visit to the Raiders this week, and still could sign with the team, but nothing is imminent at the moment, tweets Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • There’s “genuine mutual interest” between the Packers and free agent cornerback Tramon Williams, reports Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com (via Twitter). Having lost Davon House in free agency, Green Bay could use some depth at corner, and Williams, who has received some interest from around the league, is certainly a player the team is familiar with.
  • Despite locking up free agent safety Rahim Moore today, the Texans would still like to bring back their own free agent, Kendrick Lewis, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). As McClain notes, Houston often utilizes three safeties on defense.
  • Washington has inquired on free agent safety Taylor Mays and there’s “mutual interest” between the two sides, but it’s not clear if a visit has been scheduled yet, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. Mays was primarily a special-teamer for the Bengals last season.

FA Rumors: Morgan, Orakpo, Cameron

Derrick Morgan won’t be signing with the Buccaneers, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Falcons are out on Morgan too after signing Adrian Clayborn, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets. More free agent news from around the league..

  • The Titans are still in the hunt for both Morgan and Brian Orakpo, and their best-case scenario would be to land both edge defenders, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
  • Tight end Jordan Cameron is still in Miami and there’s a lot of mutual interest between him and the Dolphins, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, his old team, the Browns, remain the mix and a third team is also in the running.
  • Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link) hears that there has been a lot of interest in free agent defensive end Michael Johnson, but it’s unclear if any team besides the Bengals or Vikings have a shot at him. Johnson, of course, played for Cincinnati prior to joining the Bucs last year, and was coached there by Mike Zimmer.
  • The Chiefs have had exploratory talks with former Rams center Tim Barnes, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets. Paylor expects the Chiefs to sign a veteran center, whether it’s Barnes or someone else.
  • The Steelers are generally quiet when it comes to free agency and trades, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) hears that they’re exploring options for a kick returner.

FA Rumors: Ravens, Bush, Knighton

Look for the Ravens to be players on the receiver market once it comes into better focus, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com writes. The Ravens could be waiting on guys like Dwayne Bowe and Mike Wallace to be cut since their preference is always to gravitate towards guys who have been released. Signing released players doesn’t hurt the team’s status for compensatory draft picks, and they generally come cheaper that way, too. More from around the NFL..

  • Free agent running back Reggie Bush is set to meet with the Patriots and 49ers, according to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 (via Twitter).
  • A head coach told Russini (on Twitter) that teams are afraid to sign Terrance Knighton because he’s out of shape.
  • Defensive back Sterling Moore is coming to Tampa for a visit with the Buccaneers, Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune tweets. The Cowboys elected not to tender a contract offer to the cornerback earlier this month. The Vikings were also said to have preliminary interest in him earlier this week.
  • Packers free agent cornerback Tramon Williams is back home thinking things over after his visit with New Orleans, but the Saints remain in play, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets. The Vikings also reached out to Williams this week.
  • Patriots free agent linebacker Akeem Ayers is currently visiting with the Rams, Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch tweets. Ayers was sent from the Titans to the Pats in a mid-season trade.
  • The Giants have expressed interest in safety Darian Stewart, but no visit has been scheduled yet, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). Stewart is in Denver today, then headed to Atlanta.
  • There was talk that the Dolphins were meeting with Falcons free agent cornerback Robert McClain with the intent of signing him, but that’s on hold right now, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter links). Money is tight in Miami and they have other needs to fill, so he’ll remain on their radar while they look at other areas first.
  • The Cowboys brought in former Browns running back Ray Agnew for a workout, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). That was presumably prior to signing fullback Jed Collins, however, so there might not be a spot for Agnew in Dallas anymore.

Bucs Sign Henry Melton To One-Year Deal

11:32am: Melton’s one-year contract with Tampa Bay will be worth up to $5MM, with a $3.75MM base value, tweets Todd Archer of ESPN.com.

8:23am: It’ll be a one-year deal for Melton with the Bucs, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Agent Jordan Woy confirms that his client has signed with the team (Twitter link).

8:15am: After hosting him for a free agent visit this week, the Buccaneers are finalizing an agreement to sign defensive tackle Henry Melton, reports Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter links). According to Stroud, the Bucs should be able to officially announce Melton’s deal later today.

Melton, a former fourth-round pick, broke onto the scene with the Bears in 2010, when he finished with 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks. His best season in Chicago came in 2012, when he compiled 32 tackles and six sacks, earning him a trip to the Pro Bowl and a top-six spot on Pro Football Focus’ rankings (subscription required) of defensive tackles. However, his career with the Bears ended rather unceremoniously, as Melton only appeared in three games in 2013 before injuring his ACL.

Melton joined the Cowboys in 2014 and played well in part-time action, recording five sacks. However, the team decided not to pick up his pricey option for 2015 and beyond, making him a free agent this month. Melton is set to become the second notable defensive free agent to head from Dallas to Tampa Bay this week, on the heels of linebacker Bruce Carter signing with the Bucs.

When I ranked my top 50 free agents over the weekend, I placed Melton 49th, noting that despite his past health issues, he can make a real impact when he’s on the field.

Ben Levine contributed to this post.

FA Rumors: Morgan, Cameron, Harvin

Having visited the Falcons this week, free agent edge defender Derrick Morgan is on the Buccaneers today, and will meet with the team’s coaches today, per Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). As Getlin observes, the Bucs will have to put a strong offer on the table for Morgan if they want to lock him up, since other teams remain in pursuit. The Cowboys have been mentioned as a possible suitor, and the Titans maintain interest in re-signing their own free agent.

The Bucs already locked up one notable front-seven player today, signing Henry Melton to a one-year deal — if they were also able to add Morgan, it would go a long way toward improving their outside pass rush, with Michael Johnson no longer on the roster.

Here are a few more free agent updates from around the NFL:

  • Jordan Cameron‘s visit with the Dolphins is happening today, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Miami is still hoping to retain Charles Clay, but Cameron certainly wouldn’t be a bad Plan B if the Bills sign Clay to an offer sheet that the Dolphins can’t – or don’t want to – match.
  • A source who spoke with free agent Percy Harvin told Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that the wide receiver doesn’t want to be a “gadget guy” anymore and wants to play something closer to a traditional wide receiver role. Throughout his career, he has had coaches “lie” to him and tell him that he would play a typical wide receiver, only to have him involved more in unorthodox plays.
  • The Dolphins aren’t done adding cornerbacks, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. They’re working on scheduling a visit with Falcons free agent cornerback Robert McClain and that meeting could go down this week. In addition to Miami, McClain has also drawn interest from the Vikings and Saints (link). McClain made six starts for Atlanta in 2014 and also had two interceptions.
  • The interest between the Titans and James Harrison is mutual, Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com tweets. Of course, Harrison is not a high priority free agent at this stage of his career, so the Titans can take care of him later and they won’t need to address signing him in week one of free agency.
  • Before signing with the Panthers, tight end Ed Dickson said that he drew interest from the Raiders, Broncos, Cardinals, and Browns, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets. But, he says, no other team “came close” to Carolina.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Buccaneers Likely To Cut Dashon Goldson

THURSDAY, 10:07am: Now that Conte is under contract with the Bucs, resolution on Goldson should be coming soon. According to Stroud (Twitter links), the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of finding a trade partner for Goldson, but even if Bucs don’t find a deal, they’re unlikely to bring back Goldson for 2015.

WEDNESDAY, 6:37am: The Buccaneers are preparing to release safety Dashon Goldson once they complete a deal with fellow safety Chris Conte, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).

After signing a five-year deal prior to the 2013 season, Goldson was supposed to team with Darrelle Revis to give Tampa Bay one of the most feared secondaries in the league. That didn’t quite work out Goldson, 30, hasn’t held up his end of the bargain, as he’s been among the worst safeties in the NFL, including grading out as the second-worst at his position in 2014, according to PFF.

He’s was floated as a trade candidate, but even with a lack of quality safeties out there, it probably wasn’t easy to find another team willing to take on Goldon’s contract, which contains a $7.5MM base salary for this season ($4MM guaranteed). Tampa will now have to carry that $4MM in dead money.