Month: July 2018

DeSean Jackson Updates: Monday

With most of this year’s notable free agents off the board, DeSean Jackson‘s release breathed some new life into the free agent market, and rumors swirled around Jackson and his potential landing spots for much of the weekend. Yesterday, we asked which club would eventually land the standout receiver, and you made the Raiders your pick, with the Redskins not too far behind. Do today’s updates and rumors reflect that result? Let’s dive in and round up the latest….

  • ESPN’s Ed Werder jumps into the fray, saying there is no deal between the Redskins and Jackson, noting that he will continue meeting with the Redskins tomorrow as well as keep talking with other interested teams (Twitter link).
  • A source close to Jackson says it’s a “done deal” between the Redskins and the receiver, tweets Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com also chimes in, saying that while the two parties had a good meeting, Jackson has more visits lined up tomorrow, and a number of teams are still competing for the playmaker (via Twitter).

Earlier updates:

  • Werder, who reported earlier (as we note below) that two mystery teams are believed to be deep in negotiations with Jackson, adds the Jets and Panthers to the list of clubs expected to be involved, and says the Patriots, Saints, and Packers are out (Twitter link).
  • Jackson will visit the Redskins today, and the trip is expected to extend through Tuesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who adds that the Raiders and Bills are also in the hunt.
  • Peter King of TheMMQB.com thinks Redskins owner Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen will “put on the hard sell” to sign the former Eagle. King adds that Allen could include details in the team’s contract offer that would provide Washington some insurance in the event of any off-field incidents.
  • On the other hand, Mark Maske and Mike Jones of the Washington Post write that the Redskins may not be willing to be break the bank for Jackson. The Post duo hears that while the team is “all-in” in its pursuit of the receiver, it has to be at the right price.
  • According to ESPN’s Ed Werder (Twitter link), two teams who have yet to be publicly identified as having interest in Jackson are deep in talks with the receiver.
  • Among the teams not expected to pursue Jackson: The Lions, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, and the Browns, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Extra Points: Manning, Draft, Bush, Carr

Some assorted notes to close out the evening:

  • The Bengals will meet with safety Danieal Manning on Tuesday and Wednesday, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston. Manning was released by the Texans earlier today.
  • NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock has updated his position rankings for draft prospects, and the most notable change is his moving Johnny Manziel up to the No. 1 quarterback slot, followed by Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater. One wonders if this might be an overreaction to a good Pro Day (Manziel) versus a poor one (Bridgewater).
  • Running back Michael Bush will visit with the Patriots, who recently lost LeGarrette Blount to the Steelers, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • On a related note, Tom Curran of CSNNE.com wonders if the Patriots let Blount get away too easily, citing both his low cost and the fact that Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are in the last year of their respective contracts.
  • Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr says his private workout with the Browns “went exactly how [he] wanted it to,” writes Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. Grossi also tweets that Carr dined with the Browns general manager Ray Farmer and the Cleveland offensive staff on Sunday night. Carr could be an option for the Browns at pick No. 26.
  • Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby told Sirius XM NFL that he has visits set up with the Chargers, Steelers, Titans, Bills, and Jets, as well as three additional teams (Twitter link).

NFC Notes: Moore, Panthers, Bailey, Rams

We’ve taken a turn around the NFC North and the NFC East, so let’s cover the news items in the rest of the NFC:

  • Receiver Marlon Moore, formerly of the Dolphins and 49ers, will have a tryout with the Buccaneers, tweets Howard Balzer. Moore is more of a special teams contributor than an offensive weapon.
  • Sam Houston State running back Timothy Flanders will visit with the Saints, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter).
  • The Panthers, who could still use help at receiver and on the offensive line, will “keep their eye out for free agent bargains,” but are mostly preparing for the draft, says Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • The 49ers have several cornerbacks who have had run-ins with the law, including the recently-arrested Chris Culliver, and veteran Champ Bailey could be a valuable addition to replace some of the leadership lost with the departures of Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, writes Matt Barrows the Sacramento Bee.
  • Another NFC West team looking to add to its secondary is the Rams, opines ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner. “It would have been nice [to add a veteran], but honestly that market got priced out of what we were looking for,” said head coach Jeff Fisher. Wagoner expects the team to add a cornerback at some point in the draft.

Jets Sign Jeremy Reeves

MARCH 31: Reeves received a three-year deal worth $1.53MM, with a league minimum salary of $420K for 2014, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

MARCH 28: The Jets have signed free agent cornerback Jeremy Reeves, the team announced today in a press release. The former Iowa State Cyclone will likely be in line for a minimum salary contract with a chance to earn a roster spot.

Reeves, who last played for Iowa State in 2012, went undrafted last year as he recovered from pectoral surgery. However, he was healthy enough to participate in the school’s Pro Day on Tuesday, posting a very impressive 4.29-second mark in the 40.

NFC East Notes: Manning, Eagles, Doughty

The latest from the NFC East:

  • Recently-released safety Danieal Manning grew up in the Dallas area, and has always fantasized about playing for the Cowboys, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
  • Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com lists safety, defensive end, interior offensive line, and receiver as areas where the Cowboys could look to add depth through free agency. Archer lists Thomas DeCoud, Robert Ayers, Kyle Cook, and Nate Burleson as players who could potentially help at those respective positions. The Cowboys have about $6.4MM in cap space with which to work.
  • In separate pieces, Zach Berman of Philly.com and Sheil Kapadia of PhillyMag.com make much the same point: the Eagles need to find a way to continue to beat man coverage following the departure of DeSean Jackson. Opposing defenses primarily employed man coverage because it was the simplest to way to combat the Eagles fast-paced offensive attack. Jeremy Maclin will now become the focal point in the receiving game, but the team is expected to add a receiver from what is regarded as a loaded wideout class. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin, at 6’4″ and 240 pounds, is the type of physical receiver who could take on opposing defensive backs.
  • NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock disputes the notion that the Eagles need a receiver, and thinks they should draft their highest-rated defensive player left on the board (via Bryan Fischer of NFL.com).
  • The “door is not closed” between safety Reed Doughty and the Redskins, but he is not a priority in Washington, tweets Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington, also noting that several other teams have inquired on Doughty.
  • New Redskins safety Ryan Clark will act as a mentor to young defensive backs Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo, and try to fill the leadership void left by the retiring London Fletcher, writes John Keim of ESPN.com. But Clark was signed due to his ability, as well, as Keim notes (in a nice turn of phrase highlighting the Redskins ineptitude on defense last season): “[W]hile Pittsburgh let [Clark] walk because he’d lost a step, the Redskins have been seeking a safety who had any steps to begin with. They weren’t losing steps; they never had any.”

NFC North Notes: Lions, Manziel, Perry, Allen

In the wake of Shaun Hill‘s signing with the Rams, the Lions are still in the market for a backup quarterback, and the team is set to investigate all possible avenues for a solution, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Lions initially posited that they were in the market for a veteran to solidify the QB depth chart behind starter Matthew Stafford, but after failing to retain Hill, and missing out on another target in Luke McCown (who re-signed with the Saints), Detroit’s decision-makers may be changing their tune. “We keep looking and we could certainly address it a number of different ways, and all options are open at this time,” said new head coach Jim Caldwell.

One such route may be the draft, where the Lions could look to add a developmental quarterback in a later round. Another option would be to promote No. 3 quarterback Kellen Moore to the backup role. Moore, who has never taken an NFL snap, has reportedly “taken great strides,” according to Lions general manager Martin Mayhew. A veteran addition may still be in the works, as Birkett notes that Dan Orlovsky, a former Lion, could be of interest to the team.

Other notes from the NFC North:

  • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says “some flags” came up after a recent meeting with quarterback Johnny Manziel, according to an interview with 104.9 The Horn (via the Minneapolis Star Tribune). Zimmer cites several off-the-field worries, mostly regarding dedication and Manziel’s willingness to “eat, breath, and sleep football.” The Vikings are expected to strongly consider drafting a quarterback with the eighth overall selection in May’s draft.
  • The Packers are still determining where to play third-year defender Nick Perry, writes ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. Most of Perry’s success has come when rushing the passer from the right side; this presents a problem, however, as All-Pro Clay Matthews occupies the right outside linebacker position. Perry, like new signee Julius Peppers, could see more work in the “elephant” role, a position in defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ scheme that combines the responsibilities of a defensive lineman and a rush linebacker.
  • New Bears defensive end Jared Allen says that the team’s aging players on defense will add valuable experience, and not cost the team wins, writes John Mullin of CSNChicago. While Allen notes that he is excited to play with veterans like Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Tim Jennings, it is important to remember that these are the same players who contributed to the Bears’ 25th overall defensive rating by DVOA.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Pats, Bills, Dolphins

Let’s take a look at a handful of rumblings from the AFC East…

  • Receiver Jacoby Ford and offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger both visited the Jets today, tweets Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News confirmed the news on Twitter.
  • The Patriots worked out Eastern Washington defensive end Anthony Larry, tweets Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net. As Pauline points out, Larry’s ability to play linebacker and rush the passer is similar to current Patriot Rob Ninkovich, who recently turned 30-years-old.
  • The Patriots are still in need of a defensive end and a defensive tackle, opines Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. Considering the team’s depth, the Patriots can think in the long-term, which Reiss believes is the “ideal scenario.”
  • With rumors swirling regarding DeSean Jackson‘s eventual destination, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com evaluates whether a deal would work out for the Bills. Rodak focuses on positives (like the similarities between Chip Kelly‘s system in Philadelphia and Bills offensive coordinator Nate Hackett‘s system in Buffalo) and the obvious negatives (the potential price tag and behavioral issues).
  • The Dolphins have become a fan of “show me” contracts, and ESPN.com’s James Walker looks at the team’s current batch of players on one-year deals. This includes Louis Delmas, Knowshon Moreno and Cortland Finnegan.

Texans Release Danieal Manning

4:00pm: The Texans cut Manning with the “failed physical” designation, tweets Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

12:12pm: The Texans have released veteran safety Danieal Manning, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The team had reportedly been working to get Manning to accept a pay cut to remain in Houston, but it appears the two sides couldn’t reach a compromise.

Manning, 31, suffered a fractured fibula in October 2013, forcing him to miss 10 games last season. Considering he was returning from a major injury and entering the final year of his contract, Manning’s 2014 cap hit of $6MM made him a potential cap casualty for the Texans. The team creates $4.5MM in cap savings with the move, and has already fortified the safety position by signing Chris Clemons and Kendrick Lewis this month.

Once the move becomes official, Manning will immediately hit the market, and could draw interest from teams still in need of some veteran depth in the secondary.

AFC North Links: Steelers, Dalton, Hoyer

LeGarrette Blount joined the Steelers this past weekend, but that may not prevent the team from selecting a running back in the draft. Scott Brown of ESPN.com takes a look at some draft options at the position, and opines that it’d be tough for Pittsburgh to pass on 2000-yard rusher Andre Williams. Still, Brown adds that he can’t see the team taking a back before the fifth round, and suggests the team looks at speedy runners like Kent State’s Dri Archer.

Let’s take a look at some more Steelers and AFC North notes…

  • The Steelers run of success at snagging talented receivers later in the draft may continue this year, Brown mentions in the same article. The depth of the position in the draft means Pittsburgh could wait until after the first round to select a wideout.
  • Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton confirmed on SiriusXM NFL Radio that contract negotiations with the team are underway (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com). Dalton is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
  • Brian Hoyer‘s recovery from knee surgery is very significant to the Browns, writes Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. The team has already released two quarterbacks and haven’t signed any via free agency. If the team drafts a quarterback, McManamon believes that Hoyer will still be the favorite to start.

Browns Owner Talks Draft, Haden, Parcells

With a new GM (Ray Farmer) and head coach (Mike Pettine) in place in Cleveland, this year’s group of decision-makers looks significant different than the group that selected Barkevious Mingo sixth overall a year ago. One constant though is owner Jimmy Haslam, who spoke to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com and other Browns beat writers last week about the importance of this offseason and the draft for the franchise, and his long-term outlook for the team.

Here are a few notable quotes from the Browns owner:

On whether there’s a scenario in which he’d overrule Farmer or Pettine on a draft decision:

“Zero chance. We will have so many conversations between now and the draft about who we’re picking. Are we picking this position or that position? Who are the top three or four guys? We will be well planned out, so that, ‘Hey, here’s plan A. But if plan A doesn’t work, here’s plan B, and here’s plan C. That’s what getting ready is all about. That’s what Ray and his group are focused on, and we’ll all participate. Mike will play a key role in that, too.”

On whether the team might use the No. 4 overall pick on a non-quarterback:

“Yeah, I don’’t think we’re’ compelled to pick a quarterback at No. 4. We don’’t know that yet. The draft is May 8, so it’’s still six, seven weeks, and Ray and his team and Pett and his team have a lot of work to do between now and then.””

On the importance of the 2014 draft for the Browns:

“We have three of the top 35 picks and 10 overall, so it’s exceptionally important that we do a good job in the draft and I think we’ve said that for the last year and this is an important free agency. We’ll know this time next year, but I think we feel good about the moves we’ve made in free agency.”

On potentially extending the contract of cornerback Joe Haden:

“Joe’s very important to the franchise and people forget, Joe’s only 24 years old, because he got out of high school a little early, got out of college three straight years and he’s very important to the franchise, and going forward we want to sign our really good players early if possible and Joe certainly exemplifies that.”

On whether he has an open line of communication with Bill Parcells:

“Yeah, but Bill’s not going to come work for us, okay? I know that’s what everyone’s angling at, but there’s other people that we talk to too who are knowledgeable in football that will share that too. Somehow the Parcells information just happened to hit the radar screen.”