Month: September 2018

NFC Notes: Romo, Murray, Ryan

When DeMarco Murray was hoping that the Cowboys would sign him to a long-term deal earlier this month, the Pro Bowl running back made a bold request to his quarterback, as Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News writes. “DeMarco ended up asking me, ‘Why don’t you take a pay cut?’ I said, ‘I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'” Tony Romo told 105.3 The Fan. “I was like, ‘They’re going to restructure me.’ That’s the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, ‘OK, now we’re back to being friends, again.’ I would take $5MM less if meant getting him back.” More from the NFC..

  • As part of his contract with the Falcons, quarterback Matt Ryan is scheduled to receive a $12MM deferred payment today, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com. The payment won’t have an impact on Ryan’€™s 2015 cap number, which remains at $19.5MM.
  • Now in charge of the team’s personnel decisions, Eagles coach Chip Kelly has shown a predilection for going after injured players. Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com looked at the injured veterans that Kelly has picked up and their current status heading into April.
  • As the weeks tick down, the Vikings‘ draft possibilities remain wide open, Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press writes. Currently, the consensus appears to be that Minnesota will select Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes with the No. 11 pick, but of course, nothing is certain and much will depend on how the first 10 picks unfold.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Jennings, Smith, Texans

As the coach of the Bills, Rex Ryan finds himself interacting with the team’s decision-makers in ways that he rarely did with the Jets over the last couple of years, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News writes. There’s no hidden agendas or anything else,”€ Ryan said. “This is who we are, this is what we want, and there isn’€™t anybody in this organization that doesn’t want anything other than building a championship team.” Here’s more from the AFC..

  • Greg Jennings has been connected to the Raiders thanks to his relationship with GM Reggie McKenzie and the team’s need for a wide receiver, but there has been no word of any interest on that front, Bill Williamson of ESPN.com tweets. On Twitter earlier tonight, Jennings indicated that he’ll disclose his next team at midnight CT. The Panthers, Jaguars, and Dolphins have all been linked to the former Viking.
  • The Texans are now in discussions with versatile defensive lineman Antonio Smith, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle previously reported that Houston had interest in a reunion. Smith, 33, was released by the Raiders on Tuesday afternoon. Things could move quickly between Smith and Houston, Rapoport adds.
  • Smith wouldn’t be returning to the role he previously played for the Texans, which was being a starting defensive end, opposite J.J. Watt. A year later, however, he could be more amenable to that sub-package role in which Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel would like to use him, Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com writes. She adds that Smith has an affinity for Houston, which could help pave the way for him to return as a third-down pass-rusher.
  • While the Chiefs could create $5.2MM in cap savings by releasing linebacker Derrick Johnson, team chairman Clark Hunt doesn’t expect the veteran to go anywhere, writes Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. “There will be a point in time where we address [his contract],” Hunt said. “But it just hasn’t been germane to this point.”

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Draft Notes: Washington, Crowder, Shelton

Washington might not want to trade down in this year’s draft, Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com writes. Even if Washington trades back from No. 5 into a pick somewhere in the early teens they could be looking at a major drop off in the quality of the player they will get in the first round. Meanwhile, they can still add to their arsenal of picks by trading down from the later round choices they have this year. The latest draft news..

  • Duke receiver Jamison Crowder discussed his workout for the Patriots and chronicled his latest happenings in a chat with Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports. Crowder also disclosed that he’ll be working out for the Buccaneers on Wednesday, the Texans on Friday, and the Panthers on April 10th.
  • Washington defensive tackle Danny Shelton is scheduled to visit the Browns, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Shelton, who had 89 tackles and 9.5 sacks last season, has drawn comparisons to Lions defensive lineman Haloti Ngata.
  • Florida State cornerback Ronald Darby will be visiting the Cowboys, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (via Twitter).
  • The Saints have scheduled a dinner meeting with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and linebacker Denzel Perryman ahead of tomorrow’s Miami pro day, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net tweets.

Latest On Rams Stadium Situation

For the time being, St. Louis County taxpayers will not be asked to support a new football stadium, as David Hunn and Steve Giegerich of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write. The county was expected to provide $6MM a year in funding, but that plan has now been thrown into flux. As a result, the Rams’ future in St. Louis appears murkier than ever.

A senior aide to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon called the office of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger a little more than a week ago. The aide told a Stenger policy advisor that “St. Louis County’s participation would not be necessary in the stadium deal,” according to the report. Stenger is staunchly against tax dollars being used for a new NFL stadium without a public vote. Nixon’s office, meanwhile, appears to be putting pressure on St. Louis County to do just that.

With the two sides at an impasse, it appears that there is yet another major roadblock between the Rams and a new stadium being built in St. Louis. Meanwhile, owner Stan Kroenke is looking to build a brand new stadium in the $2 billion range in the Los Angeles area. His Rams are the perceived front runners over the Chargers and Raiders and a lack of funding from St. Louis County will only push him closer to the West Coast.

NFL owners could pick the winning L.A. stadium plan as soon as May, so it is imperative that the state, county, and city quickly get a financing plan in place if they hope to keep the Rams.

49ers Notes: Crabtree, Nicks, Briggs

Sometimes, holding out for more can be the wrong move. Sources around the league believe that the market on Michael Crabtree has crashed and feel that it is no longer near the level that he expected, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. No. 15 expected to be a $9-$10MM player, but he now looks like he’s poised for a smaller one- or two-year make good deal. Also hurting Crabtree is the depth of the wide receiver position in this year’s draft. With many WR needs filled around the league and great young talent around the corner in May, the former 49ers star is in a tough spot. More out of SF…

  • When the 49ers brought in wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and linebacker Lance Briggs, it was for a tryout and not just a meet-and-greet, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Nicks just turned 27 in June and has a pair of 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, but seem to be generating a ton of interest on the open market at present. Briggs played his whole career with the Bears, playing in 173 games and earning seven Pro Bowl appearances while making a case for the Hall of Fame.
  • Cornerback Marcus Peters, regarded by many as the top player at his position in this year’s class, has a pre-draft visit scheduled with 49ers in April, according to Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. Over the last season and a half, the physical corner has eight interceptions and 24 pass defenses.
  • West Georgia defensive lineman Tory Slater will meet with the 49ers, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Slater recorded 69 tackles, 16.5 for losses and 10 sacks last season.

FA Rumors: Texans, Housler, Ravens, Jennings

Matt Schaub, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Jason Trusnik are among the free agents who have reached agreements with various teams around the league today, but there are still plenty of players on the open market looking for new homes. Here’s the latest on a few of those players:

  • The Texans have interest in bringing back free agent defensive lineman Antonio Smith, who was released by the Raiders today, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. A starter for five seasons in Houston and a Pro Bowler in 2011, Smith received interest from the Texans last year in free agency before he signed with the Raiders, notes McClain (via Twitter). The Broncos, who now employ former Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar, are also expected to have interest, tweets Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
  • The Ravens had discussions with free agent tight end Rob Housler, but while there’s mutual interest between the two sides, there’s no deal at this point, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. According to Wilson, Housler and the Ravens are expected to continue talking in hopes of finding a financial compromise. Baltimore is in the market for tight end help with Dennis Pitta‘s status uncertain for 2015 and beyond.
  • Veteran wideout Greg Jennings tweeted today that he’s “glad to be wrapping this free agency process up,” suggesting that he’s close to signing with a new team. The Panthers, Jaguars, and Dolphins have all been linked to the former Viking, and I expect we’ll find out where he’s heading within the next day or two.
  • Asked today about Jennings, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera didn’t rule out signing the free agent receiver, but said that adding Jarrett Boykin took the pressure off the team to add another player at the position before the draft (Twitter link via David Newton of ESPN.com).
  • Discussing the team’s approach to free agency today, Rivera pointed to former Panthers safety Mike Mitchell as the sort of player the team likes to target, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Mitchell, who was a part-time contributor before becoming a starter in Carolina, was “on the cusp” of taking the next step and assuming a larger role, as Rivera explains.

Ravens Sign Matt Schaub

4:52pm: Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk clarifies that Schaub’s deal has a base value of $2MM, and can be worth up to $3MM through incentives. Of course, those incentives are only within reach if Schaub actually plays.

2:05pm: Schaub’s one-year contract is worth $3MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

1:47pm: The Ravens have officially confirmed Schaub’s signing, announcing that it’s a one-year deal (Twitter link). Perhaps there’s a second-year option or a void year; otherwise, it appears Wilson’s report was inaccurate.

1:43pm: Schaub’s deal with the Ravens will be for two years, averaging about $2MM annually, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

12:51pm: After paying a visit to Baltimore today to meet with the Ravens, quarterback Matt Schaub has signed with the team, according to Peter King of TheMMQB.com (via Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com had reported yesterday that Schaub would likely decide on a new team this week.

By signing with the Ravens, Schaub will immediately become the favorite to assume the backup role in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco. 2014 sixth-round pick Keith Wenning should also be in the quarterback mix for the Ravens, but with Tyrod Taylor having departed to Buffalo in free agency, the team was in the market for a signal-caller with a little more experience.

Schaub, 33, was acquired by the Raiders in a trade with the Texans last offseason, but lost out on the starting quarterback job to rookie Derek Carr, and served as the No. 2 option in Oakland. After new Oakland offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave brought former Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in to back up Carr, Schaub was released and became an unrestricted free agent.

Prior to his lone year in Oakland, Schaub spent seven seasons in Houston, starting 88 total regular season contests for the team, recording a 90.9 overall passer rating, and earning a pair of Pro Bowl nods. However, he fell apart in the 2013 season, his last extended run as a starter, going 2-6 in his starts and throwing more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (10).

Schaub, who also received interest from the Falcons, Cowboys, and Titans, had been slated to earn $5.5MM with the Raiders prior to his release, but will likely have to settle for a more modest salary on his new deal. Still, Ed Werder of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that Dallas dropped out of the running due to the price tag, so it sounds like the veteran should make out fairly well.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

Here are Tuesday’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • The Cardinals have signed quarterback Chandler Harnish, the team announced today, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. Harnish, who was cut by the Colts prior to the 2014 regular season, spent some time with the Vikings throughout the year. He figures to help shoulder the load during Arizona’s offseason workouts with Carson Palmer still on the mend.
  • The Jaguars have waived fullback Bradie Ewing, leaving the team without a fullback on its roster, tweets Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Jacksonville’s primary fullback in 2014, Will Ta’ufo’ou, didn’t receive a contract tender from the team earlier in the month, making him an unrestricted free agent. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), Toby Gerhart could see some time at the position in 2015.
  • Former Arena League guard Michael Huey has signed with the Chargers, per Field Yates and Eric Williams of ESPN.com (via Twitter). San Diego also removed a pair of players from its roster, cutting center Jeff Baca and defensive lineman Chas Alecxih.

Bears Sign Jacquizz Rodgers

The Bears have signed free agent running back Jacquizz Rodgers to a one-year contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com had reported earlier today that Rodgers was paying a visit to Chicago.

Rodgers, who turned 25 last month, spent his first four NFL seasons in Atlanta, acting as a backup and a change-of-pace back for the team’s offense. The Oregon State product never made a real impact on the ground, averaging less than four yards per carry in each of his seasons with the team, but he was an effective receiver, catching 155 balls in 63 games.

Matt Forte is expected to see the majority of the action in 2015 for a Chicago team that doesn’t generally rely on a running back by committee approach. However, Rodgers gives the team some veteran depth to complement Forte and 2014 draftee Ka’Deem Carey.

Wilson Won’t Get Fully Guaranteed Deal

Ever since general manager John Schneider alluded to the Seahawks exploring outside-the-box methods for getting Russell Wilson locked up to a new contract extension, one popular theory, explored by cap experts like Joel Corry and Jason Fitzgerald, involves the quarterback landing a fully guaranteed contract. The thinking is that Seattle could save a few million dollars per year on its cap if Wilson were to accept a slightly reduced annual salary in return for having his salary fully guaranteed.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, however, that won’t be the case. Citing Seahawks sources, Rapoport says Wilson’s next long-term contract will include high, but not full, guarantees. The NFL.com insider also added that the team hopes to get something done with its franchise quarterback prior to the start of training camp.

The news doesn’t come as a real surprise, since it was hard to imagine Wilson accepting a salary discounted enough to motivate the Seahawks to fully guarantee the deal. While a full guarantee would be appealing to the significant number of NFL players who typically have little to no chance of playing out their entire contracts, something would have to go catastrophically wrong for the 26-year-old Wilson not to play out his next deal in Seattle. So if he’s looking to maximize his earnings, it makes more sense to pursue a higher per-year salary rather than a higher guarantee.

Although there’s a chance Wilson plays out the 2015 season without a new agreement in place, he’s more likely to sign an extension this year than fellow 2012 draftee Andrew Luck. Because Luck was a first-round pick, the Colts hold a fifth-year option for 2016 on their quarterback, while the Seahawks don’t have the same luxury with Wilson, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency in ’16. Seattle could still use the franchise tag next winter, but presumably the club would rather not let the situation reach that point.

According to Rapoport, the Seahawks will also try to work out a multiyear extension with linebacker Bobby Wagner before the 2015 season gets underway, but locking up Wilson is the team’s priority. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback is expected to become one of the league’s highest-paid players.