Richard Sherman Wanted Cowboys Trade?

The Richard Sherman trade talk didn’t result in a trade this offseason, but things got serious enough for Sherman to daydream about where he might land. When things were bubbling earlier this year, Sherman told friends that he “allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys,” Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com writes. Richard Sherman (vertical)

We have no indication that there were ever talks between the Cowboys and Seahawks, but Sherman would have been a logical fit for Dallas on a football level. The Cowboys’ secondary was picked apart in free agency this year as cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr left along with safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. Cowboys did draft three cornerbacks to help replenish that group, but a similar approach didn’t do a whole lot for the Panthers last year. The addition of Sherman would give them a bonafide CB1 alongside Orlando Scandrick and immediately cement them as one of the best overall defenses in the league.

Of course, there would have been many barriers to a potential trade. For starters, the Cowboys were very tight against the cap this offseason, which is what caused them to lose talented members of the secondary in the first place. Even now, Dallas has just ~$3.5MM in cap space, according to Over The Cap. Even when considering that the Cowboys wouldn’t be responsible for Sherman’s $2.2MM prorated bonus, he’d still carry a hefty $11.431MM cap charge for 2017.

In addition to making room for Sherman under the cap, the Cowboys would have also had to part with a significant amount of draft capital in order to acquire him. At one point, the Seahawks’ asking price was reportedly a first-round pick in the 2017 and a conditional mid-rounder in 2018. That ask, understandably, was too rich for anyone’s blood.

A trade sending Sherman to Dallas was probably never going to happen, but the fact that he was picturing himself in a Cowboys jersey tells us that the trade talk was indeed serious. And, if Sherman and the Seahawks are unable to mend fences, his affinity for the Cowboys is something to keep in mind for next offseason. If Sherman declines, the Seahawks could release him and save $11MM while carrying just $2MM in dead money. If he continues to play like a top cornerback but is still at odds with the team, the Cowboys may have the cap flexibility to get something done.

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Extra Points: Kap, Lions, Bolts, Texans

Although the Lions are lacking a veteran backup quarterback, they’ve given no consideration to signing free agent Colin Kaepernick, head coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday (via Nate Atkins of MLive.com). Caldwell respects Kaepernick’s ability – “I don’t think that his skill level has diminished to the point where he would be completely ineffective in this league,” he said – but the Lions will go forward with Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya behind Matthew Stafford.

While Caldwell seems somewhat bullish on Kaepernick, questions regarding the 29-year-old have been mounting around the NFL since 2013 – his second full season as a starter – details Mike Sando of ESPN.com. Back then, one agent told Sando: “I don’t think he’s a very good quarterback. I think he is an incredible athlete.” More recently, Sando spoke earlier this month with various evaluators who addressed the fact that Kaepernick remains unsigned. “I do think he is getting kind of screwed,” said one team executive. But a personnel director noted: “You bring him in, and it is a media onslaught. It is not good or bad. It’s just, every time there is a social issue or anything that comes up, they are going to call him, they are going to want his feedback. Is that wrong? No, it’s not wrong. But he has thrust himself out there, much like Tim Tebow has with other various items or agendas. Is it really worth it?”

As Kaepernick waits to see if Seattle will end up as his next landing spot, here’s more from around the league:

  • The Chargers’ first-round pick, wide receiver Mike Williams, could be falling behind early on account of a back injury that he suffered on the first day of rookie minicamp nearly two weeks ago. Williams, the seventh overall selection, hasn’t been able to take the field during OTAs, leading to some concern from head coach Anthony Lynn. “I’d like to see him out there next week because he’s getting behind right now, and we’ve got to get him back out on the field,” Lynn said (via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com). “If he wasn’t a rookie it would be different. But he has so much to learn, and some of this you can only learn on the field.” Williams is the second first-rounder in a row to start off inauspiciously for the Chargers, whose top pick in 2016, Joey Bosa, didn’t debut until October on account of a contentious holdout and a hamstring injury. Of course, those initial roadblocks didn’t prevent Bosa from having an excellent rookie season.
  • Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry returned to the practice field Tuesday for the first time since being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in June 2014, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The 2013 sixth-round pick was set to enter his second season before the diagnosis temporarily derailed his life and career. Fortunately, Quessenberry went into remission in 2015 and then wrapped up his chemotherapy treatment this past April.
  • Like Quessenberry, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took to the practice field for the first time in a while on Tuesday (a devastating knee injury had kept Bridgewater completely out of action since last August). The 24-year-old then ventured to Dallas on Wednesday for a medical checkup that yielded positive news, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Edward Lewis of NFL.com). Bridgewater’s doctor told him that “he’s making progress in his rehab and lateral movement,” writes Lewis.

AFC Notes: Broncos, Steelers, Browns, Colts

Broncos general manager John Elway is entering a contract year, but the franchise icon expects to sign an extension by the start of the season, reports Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (Twitter links). “Yep. I don’t think there will be any doubt,” said Elway, who added that he has no interest in leaving Denver. After thriving as the Broncos’ quarterback from 1983-1998, a stretch in which he won two Super Bowls and made nine Pro Bowls, the Hall of Famer’s success has continued with the organization away from the field. Since Elway took over as the Broncos’ GM five years ago, the club has gone 59-31 with four playoff appearances and another Super Bowl title.

More from the AFC:

  • Speaking with reporters (including Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) on Tuesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was unwilling to say whether he plans to continue his career beyond the upcoming season. “I never commit to anyone more than one year,” stated the 35-year-old Roethlisberger, who indicated that he did seriously consider retiring after last season. “Did you think I was lying?” he said.
  • One of Roethlisberger’s teammates, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, realizes his career is hanging in the balance as a result of the two suspensions he has incurred in his three-year career (via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today). “I know it’s my last chance,” acknowledged Bryant, who’s back after missing all of last season on account of a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The 25-year-old doesn’t expect any more off-field slip-ups going forward. Regarding the past year, Bryant stated: “I developed better habits. I changed who I hang around. I’ve become a family man. I just had a son, he’s seven weeks. It’s really me developing my life and getting back on track.”
  • Speaking of troubled receivers, the chances of Josh Gordon ever playing for the Browns again are slim to none, Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland opines (on Twitter). The suspended Gordon, whom the NFL denied reinstatement two weeks ago, can reapply in the fall.
  • The Colts still aren’t sure when safety Clayton Geathers will return from the season-ending neck injury he suffered last December, writes Kevin Bowen of the team’s website. Geathers, who underwent surgery on a bulging disc in March, started in all nine of his appearances as a second-year player in 2016. If Geathers is healthy during the upcoming season, he should be in line to start alongside free safety Malik Hooker, the Colts’ first-round pick. Otherwise, that role could go to T.J. Green.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Redskins, Eagles, 49ers, Vikes

Quarterback Kirk Cousins indicated Wednesday that contract talks between him and the Redskins will go down to the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players, per JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “Deadlines do deals,” said Cousins, who added that July 15 “will be a telling date, as it was last summer.” Cousins and the team weren’t able to find common ground then, leading him to play last season under the $19.95MM franchise tag. As of now, Cousins is set to make around $24MM as the Redskins’ franchise player in 2017, and that number will climb to $34MM-plus if the club tags him again next offseason. While astronomical, that figure wouldn’t necessarily scare off Washington, according to president Bruce Allen.

More from the NFC:

  • The Eagles’ Jordan Matthews was a potential trade candidate earlier in the offseason, but he referred to those rumors as “fake news” and “alternative facts” on Tuesday, writes Zach Berman of Philly.com. “I don’t really care about that stuff, bro,” he continued. “I feel like it’s the NFL – everybody has a price. Those talks, they happen. It really doesn’t faze me in any way.” Regardless of whether the Eagles shopped Matthews, who’s now part of a much more accomplished receiving corps than he was last year in light of the acquisitions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, he might not be long for Philadelphia. Matthews’ contract is set to expire after the season, and the Eagles haven’t yet made an effort to extend him. “I haven’t really talked to anybody about that,” said the 24-year-old Matthews, a three-year veteran who already has 225 catches and 19 touchdowns on his resume.
  • Coming off the second major injury of his career, a torn Achilles, longtime 49ers starting inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will have to compete with free agent signing Malcolm Smith and first-round pick Reuben Foster for snaps, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan (Twitter link via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle). Bowman, a three-time first-team All-Pro who has started in all 68 of his appearances since 2011, vowed Monday that he’ll relegate Smith and Foster to the bench (via Branch). “I won’t be on the sideline. I’m going to tell you that now,” declared Bowman, who revealed that he spoke with GM John Lynch regarding a recent trade rumor. “He mentioned that it was a rumor,” Bowman said of Lynch. “Things were misinterpreted. And I also heard about the guy who reported it who wanted some type of attention. … But the NFL knows what type of player I am. Injuries are part of the game. I’ve done everything I needed to get back to where I am today. I’m ahead of schedule. I don’t feel anything in my Achilles or my knee. And guys can see that out on the field.”
  • Receiver Michael Floyd‘s deal with the Vikings features a $1.16MM base salary and per-game roster bonuses of up to $250K, tweets Ben Goessling of ESPN.com.

Giants Sign Devin Taylor

The Giants have signed defensive end Devin Taylor to a one-year contract, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The addition of Taylor is the second of the evening for New York, which reached a deal with safety Duke Ihenacho earlier Wednesday.

Devin Taylor (vertical)[RELATED: Updated Giants Depth Chart]

The 27-year-old Taylor went to Detroit in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and ended up spending his first four seasons there, appearing in 61 of a possible 64 games and totaling 18 starts. Taylor also registered a respectable 15 sacks, 11.5 of which came from 2015-16 (four last year), and is coming off his first 16-start campaign. But Pro Football Focus wasn’t exactly enamored of Taylor’s output in 2016, as it ranked his output 108th among 109 qualified defensive ends, and he drew no known interest in free agency before his meeting with the Giants this week.

Unlike the Lions, the Giants won’t lean on Taylor as a starter. Big Blue already has an elite defensive end duo in Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, so Taylor will give the club further depth behind those two. Taylor offers the most proven track record among a group of backup Giants DEs that includes Romeo Okwara, Owa Odighizuwa and fifth-round rookie Avery Moss, among others.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Sign Duke Ihenacho

The Giants have agreed to a deal with free agent safety Duke Ihenacho, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Duke Ihenacho

A five-year veteran, Ihenacho spent the previous three seasons as a member of one of the Giants’ NFC East rivals, the Redskins, with whom he appeared in 19 games and started 11. The majority of those appearances (15) and starts (10) came in 2016 for the 27-year-old Ihenacho, who amassed 60 tackles and ranked 78th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 90 qualified safeties.

The Giants have one of the premier strong safeties in the NFL, Landon Collins, as well as a prospective starter at free safety in Darian Thompson. With Thompson on the shelf for the majority of 2016, his rookie year, on account of a Lisfranc injury, Andrew Adams started in 13 games and graded as PFF’s 39th-best safety. Now, he and Ihenacho figure to serve as the Giants’ top reserves at the back of their defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Add Ryan Grigson To Front Office

The Browns have announced the hiring of former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson as a senior personnel executive. Grigson will report to vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry, who worked under Grigson in Indianapolis from 2012-15.

Ryan Grigson

“Ryan brings valuable experience to our personnel group,” said Browns GM Sashi Brown. “He was raised as a road-scout and has been evaluating talent in this league for almost 20 years. We place a premium on that experience and on his passion for football. Ryan has much to offer to any personnel department and we are pleased that he chose to join our staff.”

Grigson had been out of work since the Colts fired him in January, which ended a five-year run atop their football department. Grigson’s tenure in Indianapolis began with a flourish, as his first draft included the likes of Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen – all of whom helped the Colts win 11 games each year from 2012-14 and earn playoff berths. However, Grigson ultimately struggled to put enough talent around Luck, the crown jewel of the franchise, and had difficulty coexisting with head coach Chuck Pagano. Thanks in part to those factors, particularly the inability to support Luck, the Colts went .500 in each of the previous two seasons and owner Jim Irsay elected to part with Grigson.

Prior to his hiring in Indy, Grigson worked in scouting capacities with the Rams and Eagles from 1999-2011. He’ll return to that type of role with the Browns.

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Brock Osweiler To Compete For No. 1 Job

Oft-derided quarterback Brock Osweiler raised eyebrows Wednesday when he said he showed enough on film over the past two years to continue as a starter, but he might actually have a shot to earn the No. 1 job in Cleveland, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link).

Brock Osweiler

Since Cleveland acquired Osweiler and a second-round pick from the Texans in a stunning trade in March, the 26-year-old’s existence on the Browns “has changed dramatically,” reports Rapoport. Osweiler is a “far, far different quarterback” than he was with the Texans last season, says Rapoport, who expects the 6-foot-8, 235-pounder to compete for a starting role with the Browns.

When Cleveland landed Osweiler, the early belief was that they did so just to acquire second-rounder at the cost of his $16MM salary, and that he wouldn’t be on the Browns come September. It remains possible Osweiler won’t make the Browns, but it could help his cause that they didn’t address the quarterback position via free agency or another trade, nor did they use one of their two first-round picks on a signal-caller. The Browns instead waited until the second round, selecting former Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer at No. 52 overall. Like Osweiler, Kizer will compete to start, though he’s certainly not a lock to take the reins immediately.

As Rapoport notes, Osweiler intrigued enough in Denver two years ago to have both the Broncos and Texans offer him sizable contracts in free agency the ensuing offseason. Osweiler was hardly spectacular with the Broncos in 2015, but if he resembles that version of himself more than his disastrous 2016 form in the coming months, he could beat out the inexperienced trio of Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan to emerge as the Browns’ season-opening starter.

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Dolphins Sign Charles Harris

The Dolphins have signed their first-round pick, former Missouri defensive end Charles Harris, according to a team announcement. As the 22nd overall selection, Harris will receive a four-year deal worth upward of $10.84MM, including a $6MM-plus signing bonus.

Charles Harris

The 6-foot-3, 253-pound Harris debuted at Missouri in 2014 and developed into a force for the Tigers from 2015-16, combining for 30.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks en route to a pair of second-team all-SEC selections over those two seasons. Now Harris, whom Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compares to Rams edge defender Connor Barwin, will give Miami another pass-rushing threat to join Cameron Wake, Andre Branch and William Hayes.

With Harris under contract, the Dolphins have now signed their entire seven-player draft class. After finishing last season 19th in the NFL in defensive DVOA, the Dolphins addressed that side of the ball with their first- through third-round choices, grabbing Harris, ex-Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan and former Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley.

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Patriots To Waive WR Devin Street

Andrew Hawkins‘ chances of making the 53-man roster just got a bit better. The Patriots will waive wide receiver Devin Street, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Devin Street (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots Sign WR Andrew Hawkins]

Street, 26, was claimed off waivers from the Colts earlier this month. He hasn’t done much since entering the league as a fifth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2014, but he was thought to have a shot at making the Patriots’ final cut. Now, the team’s WR group is headlined by Cooks, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Hawkins, and special teams ace Matthew Slater.

Rival teams will have 24 hours to put a claim in on Street from the time his officially waived. If he clears waivers, he will be free to sign with any team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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