Fins Still Interested In Re-Signing Dion Sims

Although the Dolphins have agreed to acquire Julius Thomas from the Jaguars, Miami still has interest in re-signing fellow tight end Dion Sims, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald."<strong

[RELATED: Dolphins Could Be Active In Free Agency]

Sims, 26, has never topped 30 receptions or 300 yards receiving during his four-year career, but Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has reportedly told Sims he views the former Michigan State Spartan as an integral part of the team going forward. Moreover, Miami believes Sims’ skill-set contrasts well with that of Thomas, per Jackson. Not only is Sims a solid blocker (whereas Thomas is not), he would provide the Dolphins with another tight end option in the event Thomas falls victim to injury, something he’s done multiple times during his NFL career.

Although he’s not expected to be a free agent priority like wide receiver Kenny Stills or defensive end Andre Branch, Sims is clearly in the Dolphins’ 2017 plans. Even if the Thomas trade goes through, Miami’s tight end depth would only consist of MarQueis Gray and Thomas Duarte, the latter of whom played all of two offensive snaps during his rookie campaign. Jordan Cameron, meanwhile, is an unrestricted free agent and is mulling retirement following a history of concussions.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 2/21/17

  • The Jaguars announced that they’ve re-signed offensive lineman Tyler Shatley, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this spring. It’s a one-year deal with a club option in 2018, tweets Ryan O”Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Shatley, 25, started four games for Jacksonville last season, playing on roughly a quarter of the club’s offensive snaps. During his three-year run, Shatley — a Clemson alum — has appeared in 28 total contest. Shatley becomes the second RFA offensive lineman the Jaguars have re-signed this month, joining Josh Wells.
  • The Steelers have signed long snapper Kameron Canaday and punter A.J. Hughes, the club announced today. Canday, 23, won the Cardinals’ long snapping job out of training camp, but was waived following botched snap in Week 3. Pittsburgh already re-signed its longtime LS, Greg Warren, earlier this offseason, so Canaday will likely serve only as offseason depth. Hughes, meanwhile, is an ex-Virginia Tech Hokie who worked for the Bears and Broncos in 2016 but never latched on with a club.
  • The Dolphins announced that they’ve signed long snapper Winston Chapman. Chapman, 24, went undrafted out of Mississippi State in 2015 after tearing his ACL during his senior season. Miami’s incumbent long snapper, John Denney, is an unrestricted free agent.

Lions Hire Ex-Texans OC George Godsey

The Lions have hired former Texans offensive coordinator George Godsey as a defensive assistant/special projects, the club announced today.George Godsey (vertical)

[RELATED: Top 3 Offseason Needs — Detroit Lions]

The Detroit title means Godsey will be coaching/analyzing from a different side of the ball given that he’s spent the entirety of his career on offense, but he won’t be the first coach to switch his specific focus. Longtime NFL offensive coach Juan Castillo, for one, spent two years as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator (with admittedly poor results), while current Falcons wide receivers coach Raheem Morris came up through the defensive ranks.

While the Lions didn’t announce Godsey’s exact duties, he’ll likely have a role similar to that of Randy Edsall, the current UConn head coach who spent the 2016 campaign as Detroit’s director of football research/special projects. Edsall assisted in gameday preparation (scouting future opponents, searching for tendencies), and also aided in draft and free agency work. Given that Godsey is an offensive mind, he’ll presumably help the Lions’ defensive staff see the game from a different point of view.

Godsey, 38, first entered the NFL with the Patriots in 2011, and had spent the past three seasons with the Texans, serving as offensive coordinator from 2015-16. After being let go by Houston earlier this year, Godsey was a candidate for the Jets’ OC vacancy, and was also linked to the University of Alabama.

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Jets CB Darrelle Revis’ Hearing Postponed

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis‘ preliminary hearing on charges stemming from an altercation in which two men were knocked unconscious was originally supposed to take place on Thursday but now won’t get underway until March 15, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links).Darrelle Revis (vertical)

[RELATED: Jets, Brian Hoyer A Match?]

The hearing’s new date is critical for a number of reasons, most of them financial and most of them negative (at least, from the Jets’ point of view). Revis is due a $2MM roster bonus on March 10, so New York won’t have any sense of Revis’ legal status before a decision is due on that payment. Moreover, free agency begins one day earlier on March 9, so Gang Green will have to wade into the open market without knowing where it stands with Revis.

Additionally, the league and/or the Jets are unlikely to levy any sort of disciplinary suspension on Revis until his case is sorted out. Revis is due $6MM in guaranteed base salary in 2017, however, so if New York releases him before a ban is enacted (and potentially wipes out his remaining guarantees), the club will be on the hook for that entire total.

From a legal perspective, the fact that Revis’ hearing is being rescheduled could mean a settlement is in the works, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Hypothetically, a deal for reduced or dropped charges could lead the NFL or the Jets to look upon Revis with greater favor. For his part, Revis (and/or his associates) have reportedly told New York management that a member of Revis’ entourage punched the two men, not Revis himself, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

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49ers To Sign CB K’Waun Williams

The 49ers are signing free agent cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reported earlier today San Francisco had offered Williams a contract.K'Waun Williams (Vertical)

[RELATED: DeMeco Ryans Joins 49ers Staff]

In addition to the 49ers, the Jets, Dolphins, Vikings, and Lions all expressed interest in Williams, while the Jets are known to have offered the 25-year-old a free agent pact. The Niners have landed Williams, however, and will add him to a cavalcade of cornerbacks that already includes Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward, Keith Reaser, Rashard Robinson, and others.

Williams, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Pitt in 2014, appeared in 26 games (10 starts) with Cleveland from 2014-15. Playing mostly in the slot, Williams didn’t manage any interceptions, but did post 10 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, and two sacks during his time with the Browns.

Cleveland waived Williams in the midst of a spat regarding an ankle injury, and though he was subsequently claimed by the Bears, Williams failed his physical in Chicago and hit the free agent market once again. Williams never played in 2016, and still has an outstanding grievance against the Browns.

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OL Geoff Schwartz Announces Retirement

Longtime NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz announced his retirement today, writing on SB Nation today that he’s decided to hang up his cleats.Geoff Schwartz (vertical)

Schwartz, 30, spent last summer on the Lions’ offseason roster after signing a one-year, minimum salary benefit deal with Detroit. Expected to serve as a reserve at several positions along the line, Schwartz was waived at the end of August. As he writes in his retirement piece, Schwartz fully expected to land another contract after parting ways with the Lions, but after weeks passed with no contact from interested clubs, Schwartz realized his career was likely over.

Nevertheless, Schwartz’s seven-year NFL run can’t be considered anything other than a success, especially given that Schwartz entered the league as seventh-round pick and suffered a devastating hip injury soon after becoming an established starter. After bouncing around with the Panthers and Vikings, Schwartz played his best ball with the Chiefs in 2013, grading as one of the best guards in the NFL.

After parlaying his seven-game starter stint in Kansas City into a four-year deal with the Giants, Schwartz dealt with injury once again, managing to play in only 13 games over two seasons thanks to ankle, toe, and leg issues. Having struggled to stay on the field, Schwartz was released by New York last February.

Schwartz has already begun his post-NFL career in media: not only does he pen excellent pieces at SB Nation, but he’s co-authored a book with his brother, Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz. For offensive line junkies, Schwartz’s Twitter account is a must-follow, as is his podcast.

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Bears Shopping Jay Cutler

The Bears are “actively” looking to trade quarterback Jay Cutler, according to Jeff Darlington of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Cutler was informed of Chicago’s plan when it began in mid-January, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Jay Cutler (vertical)

[RELATED: Top 3 Offseason Needs — Chicago Bears]

Chicago is expected to move on from Cutler this offseason, and while a release still looks like the expected outcome, a trade is certainly possible given the dearth of signal-callers around the league. Cutler, 33, is signed for four more seasons with cap charges between $16MM and $21.7MM each year. Nearly all of those figures are tied up in base salary, so while an acquiring club would be responsible for those totals, none of that money is guaranteed, meaning Cutler would essentially be a year-to-year proposition.

In the past month, Cutler has been loosely linked to a couple of quarterback-needy teams, including the 49ers and Jets, though no club has expressed solid interest (the Cardinals, for one, are decidedly not interested). That no team has begun strong negotiations for Cutler is unsurprising given both his salary and the results of his 2016 campaign, during which he was hampered by injuries and managed a Total Quarterback Rating of just 78.1 in five starts.

Dealing Cutler would allow the Bears to not only clear $14MM in cap space (vaulting them into the top-five in terms of NFL room), but signify the official start of Chicago’s hunt for a new quarterback. Matt Barkley remains on the roster as a restricted free agent, while veteran Brian Hoyer is unrestricted but could be retained. However, the Bears will likely explore all avenues as it searches for a franchise passer, undertaking a lengthy exercise by scouring both the draft and trade market.

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Former LB DeMeco Ryans Joins 49ers Staff

Last summer, linebacker DeMeco Ryans pushed hard to continue his NFL career. Unfortunately, he was unable to find a landing spot in 2016. Now on the verge of his 33rd birthday, Ryans is apparently done playing. Ryans has signed on with the 49ers’ coaching staff as a defensive quality control coach, which signifies that he is officially retired. DeMeco Ryans

[RELATED: 49ers To Have Interest In Jacob Tamme?]

Ryans, released by the Eagles this time last year, spent four seasons in Philadelphia after playing for the Texans for his first six years in the NFL. A two-time Pro Bowler in Houston, Ryans had two strong seasons with the Eagles before an Achilles injury and a reduced role slowed him down. In 2015, he recorded 49 tackles to go along with an interception, a forced fumble, and five passes defended.

When he was unable to find a gig last summer, Ryans indicated that he was comfortable with calling it quits. In July, Dallas Robinson of PFR proposed Ryans as a replacement for Rolando McClain, but Dallas went in a different direction. After a lack of real interest from around the league, Ryans will now begin the next chapter of his football life.

Panthers Cut FB Mike Tolbert

The Panthers are making some major moves today. Moments after releasing defensive tackle Paul Soliai comes word that the Panthers are also cutting fullback Mike Tolbert (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Mike Tolbert (Vertical)

[RELATED: Panthers Sign G Amini Silatolu]

Tolbert is coming off of his third career Pro Bowl selection, all of which have come with the Panthers. In his five years with Carolina, Tolbert has also garnered two First Team All-Pro nods (2013, 2015). We can safely assume that Tolbert is being cut for cap purposes rather than football reasons. Tolbert was set to carry a $2.075MM cap charge but the team will clear $1.725MM in space by cutting him.

Historically, the Panthers gave Tolbert a decent amount of work as a running back in their offense. In 2016, however, he had only 35 carries – the lowest total of his Panthers career. Teams looking for a lead blocker with goal line ability will be getting in touch with Tolbert’s agent over the next few weeks.

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Cardinals Not Interested In Jay Cutler

Earlier this week, Peter King of The MMQB.com mused that a deal between quarterback Jay Cutler and the Cardinals this offseason wouldn’t be “shocking.” Apparently, Cutler signing in Arizona would indeed be a surprise. The Cardinals have zero interest in Jay Cutler, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic tweetsJay Cutler (Vertical)

[RELATED: Cardinals To Be Aggressive In Free Agency]

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians isn’t afraid to take chances on veteran players and his offenses tend to take chances deep down the field. Still, Cutler apparently isn’t of interest to the Cardinals. While the Cardinals are looking for a quarterback who can take over after Carson Palmer retires, they’d probably prefer to groom a younger player instead of signing a QB on the wrong side of 30 who would rather be starting somewhere else.

Cutler and the Bears are likely to part ways this offseason. It’s not clear where Cutler might land after that point and that’s probably because he’s more of a Plan B or Plan C guy than anyone’s primary target. Cutler, 34 in April, may or may not be a fit for the Jets. The 49ers could also have interest in Cutler as a transitional QB.

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