AFC Rumors: Dolphins, Alonso, Broncos

Kiko Alonso doesn’t want to move from the middle linebacker spot in 2017, a source tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins might want to move him to outside linebacker, but that might not be an option if he is unwilling to adjust. As Salguero notes, the Dolphins should probably figure all of this out in the next week with free agency on the horizon. There’s also this – in the past, Alonso has indicated a willingness to move, if it would help the team. So, even if the linebacker’s preference is to remain in the middle, he might be willing to be a good soldier and shift positions.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • There has been lots of talk about the Broncos acquiring a veteran quarterback, but head coach Vance Joseph indicated that he’s happy with current options Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian. “We’ve got two young guys that combined to win nine games last year as starters — probably should have won two more games,” he said (via NFL.com). “We’re fine there with those two kids.”
  • Jaguars coach Doug Marrone admits leaving the Bills head coaching job was a “mistake” he has learned from, as Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News tweets. He added that he has spoken about it with Bills owner Terry Pegula. Marrone opted out of his Bills deal before the 2015 season, but a unique clause in his contract allowed him to still collect on his full $4MM salary.
  • On Wednesday, the Steelers re-signed James Harrison to a two-year deal. The new pact will take him through his age-40 season.

NFC Rumors: Bucs, Glennon, Graham

Buccaneers GM Jason Licht expects quarterback Mike Glennon to test the open market, but the door is not closed to a return, as Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Licht added that the team offered Glennon a contract extension “quite a while ago.”

In a weak crop of free agent quarterbacks, Glennon stands as one of the best available options. Glennon hasn’t seen the field much since the Bucs drafted Jameis Winston in 2015, but talent evaluators are still bullish on the 6’7″ signal caller. The 27-year-old could wind up as someone’s starter in 2017. At worst, he should command a handsome payday as a backup.

With tons of news coming out of the Combine today, here’s a look at all things NFC:

  • General manager John Schneider says there is no question that Jimmy Graham will be part of Seahawks next season, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. The Seahawks could have opened up $10MM in spending room with no dead money by releasing the tight end.
  • Bears GM Ryan Pace used the term “fluid” describe Jay Cutler’s situation and said keeping him is an option (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times). Personally, I don’t think the Bears will seriously entertain another season with Cutler.
  • The Buccaneers are not expected to aggressively pursue Adrian Peterson at this point, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Things can change, but the team still has “loose plans” for Doug Martin, Fowler adds.
  • The Cardinals are scheduled to meet with Calais Campbell’s agent this week in Indy, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. Campbell is slated to be an unrestricted free agent March 9 and Arizona has at least some interest in finding out what it would cost to bring him back. I have Campbell ranked as the most talented edge defender on the market this year, so I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals get outbid for him.
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says the team would like to have Chris Johnson back next year (Twitter link via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com). Last month, we ranked Johnson as one of the 15 best running backs in free agency.
  • Arians says the Cardinals wants to re-sign cornerback Marcus Cooper, but his price be too high (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). When asked about Cooper and other potential defensive losses, Arians said, “hopefully we’re prepared.”
  • Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hopes the team will retain center A.Q. Shipley (Twitter link via Weinfuss).

Steelers Re-Sign James Harrison

James Harrison has a new two-year deal with the Steelers, according to his agent, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Harrison has since confirmed his return via Instagram. James Harrison (vertical)

[RELATED: Steelers Sign Antonio Brown To Extension]

Even at his advanced age, we ranked Harrison as the sixth-best edge defender eligible for free agency late last month. In his age-38 season, Harrison totaled 53 tackles and five sacks. Now on the cusp of his 39th birthday, Harrison has signed a new deal that should allow him to retire as a member of the Steelers.

With the exception of the 2013 season, Harrison has spent his entire career in Pittsburgh. From 2007-2011, Harrison earned five consecutive Pro Bowl nods and was also given two First-Team All-Pro selections.

The advanced metrics were also fond of his play last year as Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 11th best edge defender in the NFL out of 109 qualified players. Harrison was equally strong in pass rush and run defending situations and also earned the highest mark of any qualified edge defender for coverage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Salary Cap Numbers For All 32 Teams

On Wednesday, we learned that the 2017 salary cap will be set at roughly $167MM. However, every team’s number will be different depending on how much money each team elects to rollover from the previous season.

Courtesy of the NFLPA, we now have the total cap numbers for all 32 clubs. Here they are, listed by division and in descending order:

AFC East

  1. Dolphins – $175.36MM
  2. Patriots – $171.29
  3. Bills – $169.84MM
  4. Jets – $167.37MM

AFC North

  1. Browns – $217.12MM
  2. Bengals – $173.58MM
  3. Steelers – $170.27MM
  4. Ravens – $169.55MM

AFC South

  1. Jaguars – $206.31
  2. Titans – $191.05MM
  3. Colts – $173.61MM
  4. Texans – $171.94MM

AFC West

  1. Raiders – $175MM
  2. Broncos – $174.24MM
  3. Chiefs – $172MM
  4. Chargers – $167.11MM

NFC East

  1. Redskins – $182.06MM
  2. Eagles – $174.93MM
  3. Cowboys – $169.4MM
  4. Giants – $168.8MM

NFC North

  1. Bears – $175.1MM
  2. Packers – $174.98MM
  3. Lions – $171.73MM
  4. Vikings – $167.4MM

NFC South

  1. Panthers – $180.21MM
  2. Saints – $172.75MM
  3. Buccaneers – $172.33MM
  4. Falcons – $167.93MM

NFC West

  1. 49ers – $205.71MM
  2. Cardinals – $171.4MM
  3. Seahawks – $169.07MM
  4. Rams – $167.3MM

Latest On Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

Cowboys executive Stephen Jones is optimistic that linebacker Jaylon Smith will be an effective player in 2017, but he would be making NFL history by doing so. There has been “no significant change” in Smith’s nerve damage, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Because his nerve still isn’t firing, he’ll have to play in a game with a brace for drop foot (link), something no other player has done before, to our knowledge. The Cowboys are no longer waiting for that nerve to recover and they’re proceeding as if he’ll play anyway (link). Jaylon Smith (vertical)

[RELATED: Top 3 Offseason Needs: Dallas Cowboys]

Smith, a Notre Dame product, was expected to be a Top 10 pick in the 2016 draft. Unfortunately, a knee injury suffered late in his collegiate career put his NFL dreams in flux. The Cowboys took a gamble by drafting Smith in the second round last year, but he has so far been unable to take the field. Hopefully, the brace will allow Smith to resume his playing career without hindering his effectiveness.

During his final season at Notre Dame, the linebacker compiled 115 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. If he’s healthy, he could make a huge impact on the Cowboys’ front seven.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Rumors: Wallace, Mallett, Wagner

In Indianapolis today, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh fielded a wide range of questions from reporters about the offseason. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh says his “anticipation” is that Mike Wallace will remain with the team (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley). Wallace, who has an $8MM cap figure for 2017, has been considered a potential cap cut. That number is the fifth-highest on the team as of this writing.
  • Harbaugh said the Ravens are negotiating to bring back quarterback Ryan Mallett (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun). We ranked Mallett as one of the ten best quarterbacks in free agency last month. He may slide a bit down the list with the expected additions of QBs like Tyrod Taylor, Tony Romo, and Colin Kaepernick.
  • Harbaugh said the franchise tag is not in play for Brandon Williams or any other Ravens free agent, Zrebiec tweets. On Wednesday morning, we heard that the Ravens will not apply the tag to the defensive tackle. The Ravens also have a priority free agent in tackle Ricky Wagner, but the one-year tender is a bit too pricey for him as well.

Giants HC: We’ll “Take A Look” At Peterson

Adrian Peterson appears poised to hit the open market after having his option declined by the Vikings. Already, we have at least one confirmed suitor. Coach Ben McAdoo told reporters today the team will “take a look” at the soon-to-be free agent (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle).

The Giants will have to make some changes in the running game after parting ways with Rashad Jennings earlier this offseason. Peterson comes with as many durability concerns as Jennings (if not more), but also offers greater upside. Peterson could serve as the Giants’ No. 1 back with rising sophomore Paul Perkins taking on a good chunk of the workload. The Giants could also supplement a Peterson-led RB depth chart with an addition or two in the draft or free agency. As Eli Manning heads into his late 30s, the Giants are eager to capitalize on their closing window and build a winner for 2017.

On Tuesday, a person close to Peterson told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press the Raiders could also be a frontrunner for his services. Here’s a look at a few more potential landing spots from Peterson and other Giants items:

  • In addition to the Giants, the best team fits for Adrian Peterson would be the Seahawks, Patriots, Broncos, and Cowboys, Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter) opines.
  • Long snapper Zak DeOssie‘s deal with the Giants is for two years and $2.315MM, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets. There is also $400K guaranteed in the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Intend To Keep RB LeSean McCoy

Even though he might have the highest cap hit of any running back in 2017, it doesn’t sound like the Bills want to move on from LeSean McCoy. New coach Sean McDermott thinks highly of the veteran and says he’s looking forward to working together in a new city. LeSean McCoy

LeSean is going to be with the Buffalo Bills moving forward,” McDermott said (via PFT). “He’s a great player. We worked together in Philadelphia and when you look at the skill set LeSean brings to the table, we’re excited to be working with him.”

This week, agent Drew Rosenhaus said that he has had any discussions with Buffalo about the team possibly moving on from McCoy. It appears he was telling the truth. McCoy might be approaching the age where running backs tend to slow down, but he is coming off one of his best campaigns to date and he is a proven difference-maker. In 2016, he amassed 1,623 total yards, 5.4 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns, and 50 receptions.

McCoy is due to count $8.875MM against the cap in 2017 and will turn 29 in July. In theory, the Bills could have dropped McCoy and given the starting job to understudy Mike Gillislee, but the Florida product will have to wait a bit longer before getting his shot at a starting job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 3 Offseason Needs: New York Jets

In advance of March 9, the start of free agency in the NFL, Pro Football Rumors will detail each team’s three most glaring roster issues. We’ll continue this year’s series with the New York Jets, who finished 2016 with a 5-11 record, last in the AFC East.

Depth Chart (via Roster Resource)

Pending Free Agents:

Top 10 Cap Hits for 2017:

  1. Muhammad Wilkerson, DL: $18,000,000
  2. Eric Decker, WR: $8,750,000
  3. Buster Skrine, CB: $8,500,000
  4. Sheldon Richardson, DL: $8,069,000
  5. Brian Winters, G: $8,000,000
  6. Brandon Marshall, WR: $7,500,000
  7. Marcus Gilchrist, S: $7,375,000
  8. James Carpenter, G: $6,805,000
  9. David Harris, LB: $6,500,000
  10. Leonard Williams, DL: $5,081,146

Other:

Three Needs:

1. Find a franchise quarterback — or at least a stopgap: Consider where the Jets stood at quarterback position at the end of the 2016 preseason. Ryan Fitzpatrick had led New York to a 10-6 record and a near-playoff berth the year prior, and while the tape clearly indicated Fitzpatrick hadn’t transformed into an elite signal-caller, he had tossed 31 touchdowns and posted the best season of his career in 2016. Former fourth-round pick Bryce Petty was coming off an exhibition campaign that had seen him throw for nearly 500 yards, three touchdowns, and complete this gem to Robby Anderson, and while rookie second-rounder Christian Hackenberg admittedly struggled during the preseason, a rose-colored lens might have offered some hope on the 51st overall selection.

Fast forward to 2017, and any optimism regarding Gang Green’s quarterbacks has vanished. Despite finishing 27th in passes attempted, Fitzpatrick threw the league’s third-most interceptions, and while his contract has since expired, he’ll still count for $5MM in dead money on New York’s 2017 salary cap. Petty started four games but posted an even higher interception rate than Fiztpatrick, while Hackenberg never managed to get on the field, even in the midst of a lost season. Jets management now regards Petty and Hackenberg as nothing more than potential backups, and the club is essentially back to square one under center."<strong

As usual, the free agent quarterback market is extremely lackluster, and contains only one player — the Buccaneers’ Mike Glennon — who could reasonably be considered a long-term option. Glennon, 27, has only thrown 11 passes over the past two seasons, but as the only available signal-caller who has both youth and a history of success on his side, he could be in for a nice payday. The Jets are reportedly interested in Glennon, but it’s doubtful they’ll pay the $13-15MM annual salary Glennon is apparently targeting.

Other passers will hit the open market next week, but none offer any sort of upside and are better viewed as potential bridge options. Brian Hoyer, Nick Foles, Josh McCown, Geno Smith (just kidding!), Case Keenum, Matt Schaub, and the like aren’t going to take the Jets to the postseason in 2017, but they could hold down the fort while the club develops a rookie. Jay Cutler is also a possibility for New York after he’s released by the Bears, while general manager Mike Maccagnan & Co. could hypothetically explore trades. The Patriots aren’t going to ship Jimmy Garoppolo to a division rival, though (and may not trade him to anyone), while the Bengals might also hold onto A.J. McCarron.

If Gang Green doesn’t find what it’s looking for in free agency or via trade, it will likely turn its attention to the draft. Owners of the sixth overall pick, the Jets will have the opportunity to select a quarterback if they so choose. They’ve already been linked to UNC’s Mitch Trubisky, who is being considered by multiple quarterback-needy teams at the top of the draft and may not even be on the board at No. 6. If Trubisky is still available, however, opposing clubs believe New York will run to turn in its card.Mitch Trubisky (Vertical)

They got their eyes set on the North Carolina quarterback,” one rival scout said in December. “The Jets are all over this kid. All over him. They’ll probably deny it if you ask, but they love that kid. That’s their guy. They’re not going to get him though, because I think that kid is going to get over-drafted.”

Clemson’s Deshaun Watson is also reportedly on the Jets’ radar, while other players such as Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer or Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes could be in the cards at the top of the second round (or later in the first if New York trades back). Even if New York signs Glennon (and especially if they only bring in a stopgap option), the Jets should look into spending a mid-round pick on a quarterback. Yes, the club has already witnessed two early-to-mid-round choices waste away on the bench, but a rebuilding club can never take enough bites at the QB apple. Brad Kaaya (Miami), Nathan Peterman (Pitt), Davis Webb (Cal), and Chad Kelly (Ole Miss) could come off the board on Day 2 or later.

Read more

Rams To Franchise Tag Trumaine Johnson

The Rams are applying the franchise tag to Trumaine Johnson, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. With the designation, Johnson is now scheduled to be the league’s highest-paid cornerback with a ~$16MM salary. Trumaine Johnson (vertical)

Schefter reported earlier this week that a franchise tag was “expected” for the corner. As a second-time tag recipient, Johnson is slated to earn more than the projected ~$14.297MM tender for franchised corners. The two sides now have until July to work out a long-term deal. If they do not come to an agreement, Johnson will play out the year at this hefty rate and wait until the season is through to potentially discuss an extension.

Last year, the Rams tagged Johnson and watched fellow standout corner Janoris Jenkins leave via free agency. This time around, the Rams were not willing to let their secondary take another step back. After Jenkins turned in a strong season with the Giants and Johnson arguably took a step back, one could argue the Rams made the wrong decision. Today, they are doubling down on their call to retain Johnson.

In 2016, Johnson had 57 total tackles and one interception in 14 games. In the year prior, he racked up 71 total tackles and seven interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL News & NFL Rumors