Contract Details: Roethlisberger, Hageman

A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:

LB Azeem Victor Suspended 10 Games

Azeem Victor‘s chances of joining a NFL team took a hit yesterday. Veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer reports (via Twitter) that the free agent linebacker has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2019 season.

The length of the punishment implies that Victor was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The 10-game ban also indicates that this isn’t the linebacker’s first violation.

The 23-year-old had a standout career at Washington, although his senior season ended prematurely after he was suspended following a DUI charge. The off-the-field issue may have resulted in Victor dropping in the draft, as the linebacker was ultimately selected by the Raiders in the sixth round of the 2018 draft.

The defender ended up bouncing around the NFL during his rookie campaign. Victor spent the entire preseason with the Raiders before being released in early September. He subsequently had stints on both the Buccaneers and Seahawks practice squads. Earlier this year, the linebacker joined Orlando’s AAF team, but he was waived by the team in mid-March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Re-Sign OL Tony Bergstrom

Tony Bergstrom is returning to Washington. The organization announced that they’ve re-signed the offensive lineman. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Following a standout career at Utah, Bergstrom was selected in the third round of the 2012 draft. The lineman proceeded to spend the first four seasons of his career with the Raiders since bouncing around the NFL. Since 2016, the 32-year-old has had stints with the Texans, Cardinals, Ravens, and Redskins.

Fortunately for Bergstrom, he’s apparently found a home in Washington. Since joining the Redskins midway through the 2017 season, the lineman has appeared in 22 games. He played in 13 games (eight starts) last season, seeing action at both center and guard.

Considering his versatility, Bergstrom should at least be a key backup on the Redskins offensive line next season. The Redskins have added one free agent offensive lineman in Ereck Flowers, but the team’s line should pretty much look the same as 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucs Pick Up Vernon Hargreaves’ Option

Vernon Hargreaves will be sticking around Tampa Bay for at least two more seasons. Rick Stroud TampaBay.com reports (via Twitter) that the Buccaneers have picked up the cornerback’s fifth-year option. Hargreaves will now be tied to a $9MM deal for the 2020 campaign.

The 23-year-old was selected with the 11th-overall pick by the Buccaneers during the 2016 draft. The defensive back proved he was worth his draft spot during his rookie season, as he compiled 76 tackles, nine passes defended, and one pick in 16 games. This performance earned him a spot on the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team.

Since that time, Hargreaves has battled numerous injuries. A hamstring issue limited him to only nine games (eight starts) in 2017, while a shoulder injury forced him to miss all but one game in 2018. Despite the injuries, the Bucs will be relying on Hargreaves once again heading into next season; he’s currently projected to start at cornerback alongside Carlton Davis.

Click here for a full rundown of every fifth-year option decision on 2016 first-round picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Host Corey Liuget

Former Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget visited the Jaguars today, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. Liuget, who was released by the Bolts in February after spending the first eight years of his professional career with the club, has also met with the Giants and Seahawks.

Liuget was a fixture on the Chargers’ D-line until last season, which went about as poorly as possible for him. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 campaign for violating the league’s PED policy, and he played in only six games (three starts) before tearing his quadriceps in late November. For the season, Liuget compiled five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks while earning a 66.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, a mark that would have ranked him as a middling defensive tackle if he had enough snaps to qualify.

Liuget signed a five-year, $58.5MM extension with the Chargers in June 2015, a deal that included $30MM in guaranteed money. But he did not really live up to that contract, and now the 29-year-old will likely need to settle for a one-year pact to reestablish his value.

Obviously, he has garnered a reasonable amount of interest on the open market, and the Chargers were also said to be amenable to a reunion. The Jags do not have a glaring need in the middle of their defensive front, but Liuget could team with Abry Jones and Marcell Dareus to form a fairly solid rotation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Considering QB With No. 4 Overall Pick?

Just over a week ago, we heard that the Raiders were unlikely to use one of their three first-round picks on a QB. However, a report from earlier this week suggested that Oakland would be sorely tempted by Kyler Murray if he should slip past the Cardinals, and now Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says that Murray isn’t the only signal-caller the Raiders will consider with the No. 4 overall pick (video link).

RapSheet says rumors connecting the Raiders to a QB continue to persist, and although the team has been steadfast in its support of Derek Carr, Murray and Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins were very impressive to Oakland brass. The implication here is that, assuming no one trades above the Raiders at No. 4, Haskins (or Murray) could very well be Oakland-bound.

That is why teams like the Redskins who are interested in Haskins are concerned with getting above both the Giants, who hold the No. 6 overall pick, and the Raiders. That is welcome news for the Jets, who have the No. 3 overall pick and who are anxious to trade down.

Top defensive prospects like Quinnen Williams have generally been mocked to the Raiders, and the club still could go in that direction. But head coach Jon Gruden is not shy about making bold decisions, and if the team went with Haskins, it could give itself another future trade chip in Carr, and it could still address more glaring needs with its other first round picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Redskins’ First Round Plans

There has been plenty of chatter suggesting that the Redskins want to trade up from their No. 15 overall pick in order to better position themselves to (presumably) nab one of this year’s top collegiate passers. Earlier today, we heard yet again that Washington is contemplating a move into the Top 5, and while there was no definitive report as to the club’s hypothetical trade partner, the Jets — who hold the No. 3 overall pick — are allegedly determined to trade down.

Adding more fuel to that fire are several tweets suggesting that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is perhaps even more involved than usual in his club’s first-round selection. Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan hears from a team source that Snyder has “taken over the first round of the draft,” and the last time that happened, Washington surrendered a king’s ransom of draft picks to acquire the No. 2 overall selection in the 2012 draft, which it used on Robert Griffin III (Twitter link).

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network has a similar report, and he indicates that Snyder “absolutely” has influence on the Redskins’ draft, while team president Bruce Allen also has an important role. On the other hand, senior VP of player personnel Doug Williams has limited input on the team’s picks, and head coach Jay Gruden has even less (Twitter link).

That in and of itself doesn’t mean much, but when put in the context of the RGIII trade, it could serve as a harbinger of things to come tomorrow night (plus, Garafolo’s report obviously doesn’t offer an optimistic view on Gruden’s long-term future with the club, which is an interesting sidenote). However, Mike Jones of USA Today tweets that the Redskins do not feel they can part with their early picks, and if they want to jump all the way up to No. 3, they will have to essentially empty their cupboard of early picks. Jones does note, though, that it’s lying season, so the Redskins’ reported reluctance to part with prime draft capital could be a smokescreen.

For what it’s worth, Paulsen says that Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie categorically denied the notion that Snyder has taken control of the team’s first-round pick, but it’s his job to quash these kinds of rumors, regardless of their veracity. And regardless of Snyder’s influence on the draft, the Redskins have firmly established themselves as one of the most intriguing teams to keep an eye over the next 24 hours or so.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Charges Filed Against Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill

The Johnson County District Attorney’s offense has declined to file charges in the investigation involving Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, DA Stephen Howe announced on Wednesday. However, Howe is far from convinced that there was no wrongdoing. 

We believe the a crime has occurred,” Howe said, before adding, “The evidence does not conclusively establish who commit the crime.”

Authorities say Hill’s three-year old son suffered injuries, including a broken arm, at Hill’s home. At one time, authorities were also looking into Hill’s involvement in another incident where officers were called to Hill’s home to investigate a different instance of “child abuse or neglect.” 

All of the accusations are troubling, especially in light of Hill’s pre-NFL history with domestic violence. And, given the way the NFL has operated in recent years, Hill is certainly not out of the woods when it comes to league discipline.

So far, Howe says his office has not spoken to the league or the Chiefs about Hill’s case.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Pick Up Keanu Neal’s Option

The Falcons exercised the fifth-year option on safety Keanu Neal’s contract, per a team announcement. This was yet another no-brainer fifth-year option decision. 

The 23-year-old (24 in July) has started in all of his games since entering the league as the No. 17 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. In 2017, Neal earned a Pro Bowl nod after racking up 113 tackles, six passes defensed, four tackles for a loss, and one interception. His much anticipated follow-up was wiped out by an ACL tear last year, but he’s set to get back to work in 2019.

A fun fact from the Falcons’ press release: Since the fifth-year option for first-round picks was instituted in 2011, the Falcons have exercised the fifth-year option on each player they’ve selected in the first round. Overall, that’s a good indicator of the Falcons’ success rate inside of the first 32 picks.

Click here for a full rundown of every fifth-year option decision on 2016 first-round picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets “Determined” To Trade Down

The Jets’ desire to move down from the No. 3 overall pick has been well documented at this point. Apparently, their motivation is reaching a fever pitch in the buildup to Thursday night’s draft. The Jets are “determined” to slide back, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY hears.

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan is on the record as saying he’s “open” to the idea of moving back. Apparently, he’s been underselling it.

They seem to really, really want to move down,” said one NFL exec. “Maybe they’re just keeping their options open, but it sure seems like that No. 3 pick is for sale.”

As of this writing, the Jets have only six picks, which is less than ideal for a club with multiple holes in the midst of an exceptionally deep draft in the first four rounds. Moving back from No. 3 overall could give the Jets an impressive haul of choices, especially if a QB-needy team like the Redskins bite.

The Jets are seeking to at least recoup the second-round pick they surrendered when they moved up for Sam Darnold last year, one source tells Vacchiano. The Jets could easily get that and then some, depending on how far back they’re willing to move. Still, any deal likely won’t happen until draft day and might not transpire until the Jets are called to the podium on Thursday night.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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