Bills Notes: McCarron, Draft, Free Agency

After trading Tyrod Taylor to the Browns before free agency opened, the Bills suddenly had a need for a starting quarterback. They filled that void with Bengals backup A.J. McCarron, who was among the last signal-callers remaining after the deals of Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater.

Though McCarron is a relative unknown as a starter, the MMQB’s Albert Breer believes it was a great deal for the Bills (via Twitter). Breer notes that McCarron’s contract — $5MM base salary in 2018 with $2MM in incentives — helps save the team between $9-11MM. Not only did the team save considerable coin, it also picked up the No. 65 pick, which can be used to move up in the NFL Draft in search of the team’s quarterback of the future.

It’s hard to disagree with Breer. The team and Taylor were on the outs, and the fact that the team landed a presumably solid starter, save money and acquire draft capital in the process can only be viewed as a win.

Here’s more with the Bills:

Bills Notes post (bulleted)

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane said they are now in the range of Top 15 prospects, and “it’s not necessarily quarterback,” ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets. Though the team could definitely stand to upgrade at multiple positions, it’s had to see the team passing on one of the top quarterbacks should they fall.
  • With all the team’s assets, the general consensus is that the team will attempt to move up in the draft. That fact is not lost on Beane, who said via WKBW’s Joe Buscaglia (Twitter link): “Everybody assumes that we’re going to go higher [in the draft]… I don’t know that yet.” It’s not surprising that he doesn’t know that yet, seeing how the draft is still over a month away. But all the signs still point to some kind of move.
  • One thing is for sure, the team will not be adding many more impact free agents. From Rodak (via Twitter), Beane said, “We’re very low on money. We can do some lower-level things, but nothing that’s going to hit the ticker.” If they want impact players, the Bills will more than likely have to address it in April.

Jaron Brown Signs With Seahawks

Former Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown will have a new home in 2018 after he signed with division-rival Seattle on Friday,’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

Brown, 28, posted the best season of his career in 2017 by registering 31 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns. He also has considerable special teams experience, though he played on only a third of Arizona’s special teams snaps in 2017.

The fifth-year receiver should slot in as the No. 3 wideout in Seattle, behind Doug Baldwin and speedy Tyler Lockett. The move leaves the Cardinals with a thinning wide receiver corps behind future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Brown was the second pass catcher, joining John Brown, to sign with another team in the early offseason.

Cardinals Sign OL Justin Pugh

The Cardinals bolstered their offensive line on Friday night by signing former Giants left guard Justin Pugh, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets

The NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweets the contract is five-year deal worth just over $45MM.

The Cardinals were in search of interior line help and Pugh represented one of the best remaining options.The team was attempting to land former Panthers guard Andrew Norwell, but the All-Pro guard signed with the Jaguars earlier in the week. He missed half of 2017 with injuries, but he is a former first-round pick who started in all of his 63 games with the Giants. Recently, he was cleared to resume football activities.

A big selling point with Pugh is his versatility. He has played every position along the line except for center. The majority of his time in the NFL has been split between right tackle and left guard.

The move was the second addition to the Cardinals offensive line on Friday. Earlier in the day, the team signed offensive tackle Andre Smith to a two-year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Tyrann Mathieu Signs With Texans

Former Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu wasn’t on the open market long. Shortly after being released by his drafting team, the 2015 First Team All-Pro is reportedly signing with the Texans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets

Schefter also reports the deal is a one-year contract worth $7MM (Twitter link).

The addition is a big one for the Texans defense, which finished last in the NFL in scoring defense in 2017. The signing, coupled with the return of J.J. Watt, is sure to help the unit return to one of the top squads in the league.

Had Mathieu remained on Arizona’s roster past the day he was released, he would have had a large chunk of his contract guaranteed. Unwilling to carry his $14.1MM cap hit in 2018, the Cardinals released him in order to free up resources for free agency. The 25-year-old defender said he was willing to restructure his deal but balked at the notion of the pay cut.

Mathieu, inked a five-year, $62.5MM extension with the Cardinals back in 2016. That deal came after an ACL tear ended his 2015 campaign early. In 2016, he suited up for just ten games. Last year, he played a full 16-game slate, but didn’t look like his usual self.

When PFR looked at Houston’s top needs entering free agency, No. 2 on the list was bolster the secondary. There is no question this move checks that off. In 2015, the safety earned All-Pro honors after registering five interceptions and 89 tackles. If he can return to that form, landing Matthieu will be a huge get for a burgeoning Texans squad.



Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/16/18

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

  • Re-signed: DT Dylan Bradley

Oakland Raiders

  • Signed: P Colby Wadman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ravens Notes: Crabtree, Ryan Grant, Free Agency

Baltimore made a big splash in free agency on Friday, signing veteran receiver Michael Crabtree a day after his release from the Raiders. The move potentially gives the team a go-to, possession receiver that it hasn’t had in a number of years.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said as much after the completion of the three-year deal worth up to $21MM. According to the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec (Twitter link): “Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game. He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball.”

Newsome remembers well, as Crabtree has topped 80 yards in three out of four regular-season meetings with the Ravens and has posted five touchdowns. That included a three-score outing vs. the typically stingy defense in 2016.

Known for utilizing his big arm early in his career, quarterback Joe Flacco has worked closer to the line of scrimmage in recent years and has posted at least a 64% completion rate in each season in 2015. That is likely to continue with a reliable option like Crabtree joining the hold.

Here’s more from Baltimore:

  • Despite signing both John Brown and Crabtree, Newsome hasn’t ruled out a return to the fold for Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley tweets. According to Hensley, the team has been in contact with both receivers.
  • Newsome said the team would have pursued Crabtree regardless if the team signed Ryan Grant or not,” Zrebiec tweets. The team voided a contract with the former Redskins wideout after he failed a physical.
  • Sticking with Grant, Newsome said via Zrebiec on Twitter: “I did not get the results of Ryan’s physical until about 4 o’clock yesterday.” He said the team consulted with many doctors around the country. “It’s not a football decision. It’s a medical decision that I had no control over.”
  • Before news of the Crabtree signing hit, Newsome said the team could add two or three more quality football players, Zrebiec tweets. Recently, Pro Football Rumors listed Baltimore’s top three offseason needs and named adding receiver help, beefing up the pass rush and fortifying the secondary as the team’s top goals. It checked No. 1 off the board with the Crabtree move.

Lions To Sign RB LeGarrette Blount

This is breaking news. Please refresh for updates.

The Lions beefed up their backfield Friday night, signing veteran running back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year deal worth $4.5MM,’s Ian Rapoport tweets

Justin Rogers of the Detroit News tweets Blount’s deal is worth a $2MM base salary with an extra $2.5MM in incentives.

By joining Detroit, Blount reunites with new head coach Matt Patricia, who served as defensive coordinator of the Patriots when the running back was in New England.

Following his three-year run with the Pats, Blount joined the Eagles and produced 766 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. He helped Philadelphia claim its first Super Bowl title with a 41-33 win over New England.

The move gives Detroit something it hasn’t had in a long time — a physical back. In 2017, the team used Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick almost exclusively, giving the team a pair of solid pass catchers who lack between-the-tackles reliability. Blount should offer a solid change-of-pace to those backs.

The Lions ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards in 2017. That ranking is sure to improve with the signing of Blount.

Raiders To Sign Tank Carradine

The Raiders continued to add to their defense in free agency on Friday, signing former 49ers defensive end Tank Carradine,’s Tom Pelissero tweets.

Carradine visited Oakland on Thursday and met with the Seahawks today. He chose to stay in the Bay Area, where he has played with San Francisco since 2014.

Carradine, 29, was a second-round pick of the Niners in 2013. He hasn’t quite lived up to his potential and he is coming off of a season in which he missed half of the team’s games. He did start in seven of his eight contests in 2017, however. He tallied 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks and would have placed among Pro Football Focus’ top 50 edge defenders if he had enough snaps to qualify.

Rams To Re-Sign C John Sullivan

The Rams elected for continuity along their offensive line, bringing back veteran center John Sullivan on a two-year deal, ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. The contract is worth up to $15MM,’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

Sullivan had drawn interest from the Giants and Redskins, but Rams general manager Les Snead also mentioned recently the team had already begun talks to bring him back. With interest from a pair of teams in need of offensive line help, Snead and the Rams made sure the team’s center would not get away.

Sullivan, 32, played 15 games for the Rams last year and graded out as the tenth-best center in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. After sliding down the Redskins’ depth chart in 2016, he re-established himself as a starting-caliber player.

Buccaneers Sign C Ryan Jensen

The Buccaneers fortified their front five on Friday, signing former Ravens center Ryan Jensen, Mike McCartney, the player’s agent, tweets’s Tom Pelissero reports the contract is a four-year deal for $42MM with $22M in guaranteed money (Twitter link). The deal made Jensen the highest-paid center in the league and suggests that Ali Marpet will move back to guard in 2018.

That’s quite the haul for Jensen, who played his first three seasons in the league as a guard before switching to center in 2017. He proved up to the task in his first season at the position, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ No. 9 center in the league. With Weston Richburg off the board, Jensen was the best pure center remaining on the open market.

Jensen was inactive for all 16 games as a rookie and was waived in his season before returning to the Ravens practice squad. He played just 19 games in his first four seasons before enjoying his breakout campaign in the middle of Baltimore’s front five in 2017.

The addition of Jensen should help open up some running lanes in Tampa Bay. In 2017, Peyton Barber led the team in rushing yards with a measly 423 yards. Kickstarting the rushing attack will help open up things through the air for Jameis Winston and Mike Evans.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL News & NFL Rumors