Extra Points: Helu, Cardinals, Cowboys

Defensive ends didn’t find a whole lot of cash out there on the open market last offseason but that should change this time around, writes Joe Fortenbaugh of National Football Post. Free agent DEs like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett found themselves agreeing to short-term pillow contracts to try and get back to free agency while they can still cash in last year. This year, the Falcons, Jaguars, and Bears are among the many clubs with needs at that position…

  • Two people familiar with Roy Helu‘s contract tell The Washington Times that he has reached the “proven performance escalator,” a clause in the collective bargaining agreement that rewards players who were drafted in the third through seventh rounds who are entering the final year of their rookie contract. As a result, his base salary for 2014 will double. The running back was the Redskins’ leading rusher as a rookie in 2011 and played a significant role for the team last season. Helu was supposed to earn a base salary of $645K this season but will instead earn a base salary of $1.39MM.
  • Teams can start using the franchise tag as early as Monday, but the Cardinals won’t be among those clubs, writes Darren Urban of Cardinals.com. Linebacker Karlos Dansby was hit with the tag two years in a row by the Cards a few years back but he won’t be in line for a deal that would pay him ~$10.9MM.
  • Don’t expect the Cowboys to make any major moves on the free agent market, tweets Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com.
  • Are the Bears better off letting Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers go? Ryan McGuffey and John Mullin of CSNChicago.com (video link) discuss the pros and cons.
  • Despite his differences with special teams coach Mike Pfeiffer, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe says Minnesota would be a good place for Michael Sam, writes Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.
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