Falcons To Sign DL Allen Bailey

Allen Bailey‘s lengthy stay in free agency is over. The Falcons reached an agreement to add the veteran defensive lineman on a two-year deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The former Chiefs defensive end did fairly well this late in free agency, with Schefter reporting (via Twitter) the two-year pact is worth $10.5MM. Bailey will receive $3.5MM guaranteed and $6MM in 2019.

This news comes hours after Falcons D-lineman Michael Bennett suffered a broken ankle. Bailey worked as a 3-4 defensive end with the Chiefs and profiles as a player who could help the Falcons on the interior. Bailey visited the Falcons in June. He also met with the Seahawks, Panthers and Patriots. The Seahawks are also on the hunt for interior help, after Jarran Reed‘s suspension, perhaps prompting the Falcons to act quickly.

Breaking in as a backup in the early 2010s, the former Scott Pioli third-round pick was a starter for the past five Chiefs defenses. Interestingly, Bailey’s visit occurred after Pioli had stepped down from his post as Atlanta’s assistant GM. But Bailey continues a defensive line pipeline of Pioli-drafted defensive linemen from Kansas City to Atlanta, following Tyson Jackson and Dontari Poe. Neither player, however, is still with the Falcons. And Bailey, 30, is from Georgia.

This marks the second straight Monday the Falcons have agreed to terms with a defensive tackle, with Grady Jarrett signing a much more lucrative contract to start last week. Bailey, who finished with a career-high six sacks last season, stands to play a key role on Atlanta’s D-line. He has registered 19.5 career sacks.

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NFC North Notes: Bears, Vikings, Flowers

The Bears have made some splashy trades since Ryan Pace replaced Phil Emery as GM in 2015. Deals that brought Khalil Mack and Mitch Trubisky to Chicago required major assets to complete. Fourth-year starter Cody Whitehair and second-round tight end Adam Shaheen also forced the Bears to surrender multiple mid-round picks. In a detailed piece by The Athletic’s Adam Jahns (subscription required), Pace summarized his aggressiveness on these fronts.

I think if you sit on your hands and you say, ‘Oh, this player is definitely going to get to us,’ and he goes right before you and you had conviction on him — not just you but the scouts and the coaches – and you wait on it, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Pace said. “If you have a guy or a group of guys, be aggressive and make it happen.

I don’t want to undervalue any of these mid-round picks. We’ve shown a lot examples of us hitting on those players. But I know if we’re ever in a situation where, ‘Hey, we’re doing a little too much here,’ we can police ourselves on that. But as long as it’s a fair deal and we’re getting a player that we all have conviction on, then we’ll do it.”

As teams break for camp, here is more from the NFC North:

  • A knee injury Ha Ha Clinton-Dix suffered during Chicago’s offseason program resulted in the recently signed safety beginning his first Bears camp on the active/PUP list. The former Packers and Redskins defender has not missed a game since the 2014 season.
  • However, the Bears received good news on Trey Burton. The team’s second-year tight end starter has been cleared for camp work. The “Philly Special” quarterback underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason.
  • Although Alexander Mattison is the assumed next man up if Dalvin Cook again goes down with an injury, Mike Zimmer cautioned about anointing the third-round pick too soon. The sixth-year Vikings coach (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling) singled out third-year UDFA C.J. Ham as a player who stands to play more on passing downs, in front of Mattison, due to pass-protection skills. Backs often begin their NFL careers limited at this skill, so the 26-year-old Ham (31 touches in two seasons, when Latavius Murray played behind Cook) may function as a stopgap while Mattison is groomed.
  • The Lions‘ top offseason expense, Trey Flowers will not begin camp with the bulk of his teammates. The four-year Patriots pass rusher will start his first Lions camp on their active/PUP list. Flowers underwent shoulder surgery before signing with the Lions, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes the $18MM-per-year defensive end is expected to be ready by Week 1.

Giants, Daniel Jones Agree To Terms

The Giants will soon have their heir apparent quarterback under contract. They’ve agreed to terms with No. 6 overall pick Daniel Jones on his four-year rookie deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Duke product is set to receive all of his signing bonus this year, Rapoport adds (on Twitter).

This completes the Giants’ 2019 draft class and trims the list of unsigned picks to four. Over the past three days, the Giants have come to terms with their final two holdouts — Jones and outside linebacker Oshane Ximines. Giants rookies begin work on Tuesday, and Jones will obviously be the centerpiece of those workouts. Veterans join practices Friday.

Jones, 22, worked as the Blue Devils’ starter for three seasons. The Giants saw enough to draft him at No. 6, rather than waiting until their No. 17 window opened. Having taken Jones over Dwayne Haskins and edge defender Josh Allen, Dave Gettleman has tethered himself to the scrutinized prospect.

Perhaps the most controversial pick of this year’s draft, Jones went off the board several picks before he was expected to. This prompted criticism directed at Gettleman, but the second-year Giants GM believes the former David Cutcliffe pupil will be the player to succeed Eli Manning. Jones impressed Giants brass this offseason, doing so to the point the team might only keep two quarterbacks on its active roster.

Nick Bosa (49ers), Quinnen Williams (Jets), Brian Burns (Panthers) and Deebo Samuel (49ers) are the final unsigned draft picks. Here is the full Giants draft class:

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Minor NFL Transactions: 7/22/19

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: OL Tiano Pupungatoa
  • Waived: RB Roc Thomas

New York Jets

  • Placed on active/PUP list: DB Brandon Bryant
  • Placed on active/NFI list: CB Bless Austin

Latest On Saints, Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas sought $22MM per year on a Saints extension, and this was a reduced demand, last month. The Saints appear to prefer their top wideout end up just shy of $20MM AAV.

The Saints, though, may be moving up gradually. Their latest offer came in between $18-$19MM AAV, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). This is consistent with what the team was offering in June, only they did not look to be close to a $19MM average at that point.

Odell Beckham Jr.‘s $18MM-AAV pact remains the league’s standard, but Julio Jones is expected to eclipse that soon. Thomas, 26, is lurking as a possible candidate to then surpass Jones as the NFL’s highest-paid wideout. A deal worth $20MM AAV, with certain structure and guarantees, would likely be enough to convince Thomas to sign, Robinson adds.

Beckham and Mike Evans pace the receiver market in total and full guarantees, with the former’s figures at $40.9MM and $65MM, respectively. Of course, Jones is almost certainly pushing to land atop both lists. Being four years younger than Jones, Thomas may be as well. The Saints and Thomas have been negotiating for more than a month. One season remains on Thomas’ rookie contract.

The former second-round pick leads the league in receptions (321) over the past three seasons and ranks fifth in yards (3,787) since the start of the 2016 season. Thomas’ 1,405 receiving yards last season broke the Saints’ single-season record.

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Seahawks Interested In Acquiring DT Help

With Jarran Reed set to be suspended for more than a third of the Seahawks’ games this season, the team is looking for upgrades. The Seahawks plan to pursue defensive tackle depth from outside the organization, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.

The Seahawks’ defensive line will look considerably different in Week 1, and it may be lacking for impact talent. Frank Clark is now in Kansas City, and Ziggy Ansah is not certain to be ready by Seattle’s opener. With Reed now out of the early-season picture, the Seahawks’ mix of younger players and lower-profile veterans will be tested.

Clark and Reed combined for 23.5 sacks last season; no other Seahawk registered more than three. One of those three-sack artists was Quinton Jefferson, who remains with the team. The Seahawks appear to like their younger options, second-year UDFA tackle Poona Ford chief among them, with Breer indicating this outside search is for depth. Jefferson saw more time than Ford last season, playing 604 snaps, but Pro Football Focus graded Ford’s smaller sample (265 snaps) as dominant.

The team also signed Al Woods and Jamie Meder this offseason. Woods is a 10th-year veteran who played for the 2011 Seahawks (before starting 43 games from 2013-18). This could represent an opportunity for veterans who were in Seattle earlier this year. Corey Liuget joined Woods in trekking to the Pacific Northwest for a visit in April; the longtime Chargers starter, 29, remains unsigned. So does former Texans, Dolphins and 49ers starter Earl Mitchell. The 31-year-old veteran visited with the Seahawks in March.

Falcons S J.J. Wilcox Tears ACL

The Falcons have dealt with extensive injury trouble at the safety position over the past several months. They lost a recently signed safety for the season on Monday.

J.J. Wilcox agreed to an Atlanta deal in April but may end up never putting on a Falcons game uniform. Wilcox suffered a torn ACL on the first day of Falcons training camp, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. He was set to play for the veteran minimum this season. Wilcox injured his right knee and has a second opinion scheduled, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).

Wilcox’s injury comes after a season that saw the Falcons lose both starting safeties — Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen — to season-ending maladies in September. A former Cowboys starter who has played a depth role with the Steelers, Jets and Colts, Wilcox was expected to compete for a Falcons backup job this season. A full-time Dallas starter from 2014-15, the 28-year-old defender played 138 snaps last season.

Despite this early setback, the Falcons still boast experience at safety. Because of the injuries to Neal and Allen last season, backups Damontae Kazee and Sharrod Neasman received extensive work in 2018. Kazee graded as a top-20 safety, per Pro Football Focus. Both he and Neasman remain on the roster.

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Damon Harrison To Report To Lions Camp

In his first offseason with the Lions, Damon Harrison skipped all of the team’s activities this year. The contract-seeking defensive tackle, though, will not run the risk of incurring fines for training camp absences.

Snacks plans to report to Lions camp, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). While a new deal doesn’t sound imminent, the seventh-year lineman will show when the Lions begin their workouts Thursday. Harrison has been angling for a new deal for months.

Harrison has two seasons remaining on the five-year, $46.2MM contract the Giants authorized in 2016. No guaranteed money remains, however. The Lions acquired the former All-Pro nose tackle for a fifth-round pick. Harrison, 30, forfeited his $250K workout bonus by skipping OTAs and is subject to roughly $89K in fines for missing mandatory minicamp.

Both Harrison and Darius Slay, each represented by Drew Rosenhaus, are pursuing new contracts. Slay’s deal also runs through 2020. Teams are generally not keen on renegotiating deals with more than a year remaining, so it will be interesting to see how these key Detroit defenders play this as Lions camp gets going.

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Patriots, Tom Brady Not Close On Extension

Tom Brady has never played into a contract year, but coming into his 20th NFL training camp, the Patriots legend remains attached to his through-2019 deal. That may be the case for a bit.

The Patriots and their soon-to-be 42-year-old quarterback do not appear to be on the verge of an extension, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (video link). Brady’s cap number sits at $27MM — the league’s fourth-highest 2019 figure.

This news probably shouldn’t be too alarming, as it is not like the six-time Super Bowl champion is a realistic 2020 free agent. Brady and the Patriots have made a habit of late-summer re-ups. Two of Brady’s five previous extensions have been agreed to after training camp began, with 2010’s four-year, $72MM deal coming on the eve of that Patriots season opener. Brady’s first extension — a four-year, $28MM pact — was agreed to in late August of 2002.

Robert Kraft said earlier this year he would like another Brady extension to come to pass, and given the Patriots’ lack of a true successor on the roster, they certainly appear to be planning for at least a 21st Brady season. Brady has long said he would like to play into his mid-40s.

The incentive package the Patriots and Brady agreed to in 2018 does not affect the timing of another extension. Since that agreement did not change Brady’s cap number, the sides do not have to wait a year to finalize a new deal.

The Patriots have built their 2019 roster with Brady’s $27MM included; the team has just more than $6MM in cap space. A Brady deal would stand to increase the latter figure and potentially help the defending champs add pieces to their roster before the season begins. Rob Gronkowski unretirement rumors have started to gain steam; a Brady extension would help clear a path toward that reality.

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Jets To Sign TE Ryan Griffin

Set to be without Chris Herndon for the season’s first month, the Jets added some experience Monday. The team and veteran tight end Ryan Griffin agreed to terms, per Brian Costello of the New York Post.

A six-year veteran, Griffin joins fourth-round rookie Trevon Wesco and fifth-year players Eric Tomlinson and Daniel Brown (a combined 51 career catches). Griffin ended his Texans run with 136 receptions, topping out with a 50-catch, 442-yard 2016 season.

Following an arrest on charges of misdemeanor vandalism and public intoxication, the Texans released Griffin in May. The charges were later dismissed. Griffin, 29, will now have a chance to make an impact with a second franchise.

Griffin’s functioned as a part-time starter throughout his career, earning that distinction 36 times since debuting in 2013 after being a sixth-round Texans pick. He started a career-high 11 games for the 2018 Texans and, with Herndon set to be shelved on a four-game suspension, stands to have a decent chance at working with Jets first-stringers in September.

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