Let’s take a look at the latest from the AFC franchises on the first 2016 Sunday without football, beginning in Cleveland, where uncertainty exists throughout the receiving corps.
- The Browns will go after one or both free agent Bengals wide receivers, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. The former Hue Jackson charges are available at a need area for the Browns, who may lose Travis Benjamin and are uncertain of Josh Gordon‘s playing status. Cabot puts Gordon being back in Cleveland this fall at 50-50. Gordon has not been reinstated yet after applying on Jan. 20, per Pro Football Talk (on Twitter).
- Conversely, Cabot expects Cleveland to cut Dwayne Bowe after the highly paid receiver struggled to get on the field in one of the most disappointing seasons for a wideout in recent memory. Due the team’s fourth-highest cap charge at $8MM in 2016, Bowe will cost the Browns $4.6MM in dead money if they release the declining 31-year-old target. The team will save $3.4MM by making this move, however.
- Underachieving cornerback Justin Gilbert, however, may not be joining 2014 first-round disappointment Johnny Manziel among players departing the Browns, Cabot writes, with Ray Horton‘s secondary background potentially serving as a last hope of sorts for the top-10 pick. Gilbert would cost the Browns $7.58MM if cut.
- Malik Jackson will command more money than Broncos end cohort Derek Wolfe, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. Wolfe signed a four-year, $36.7MM extension in January. Jackson, who’s had the more consistent career, will probably be an eight-figure AAV player if he signs with the Broncos or elsewhere after his success despite playing three different positions — defensive tackle, 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 end — the past three seasons.
- Muhammad Wilkerson should expect to be franchise-tagged, Seth Walder of the New York Daily News writes. Despite Wilkerson expressing frustration last offseason about playing under his fifth-year option and the Jets employing Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams, Gang Green will look to keep Wilkerson on the tag, Walder writes. The Jets could still try to trade the sixth-year end after tagging him, Walder writes, and could plan on paying him (the tag was $14.8MM for ends last year) this season before letting him walk in 2017. They’d receive a compensatory draft choice once he signs elsewhere in that scenario.
- Walder slots Ryan Fitzpatrick first and Damon Harrison third, respectively, among the Jets’ offseason priorities. He expects Fitzpatrick to receive a contract around the same parameters as the Rams’ Nick Foles accord that stands to pay him $13.8MM in guarantees on the two-year extension he signed. Walder anticipates Fitzpatrick requiring more guaranteed money to stay with the Jets but a two-year offer would be realistic.
- Donald Penn will probably be back with the Raiders after the team explores the market, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap writes. The Raiders have a league-most $71.93MM worth of cap space, so they could easily afford to keep their left tackle of the past two seasons. Penn will be 33 in April, so it won’t take a long-term deal to keep him in Oakland. Former starters Rod Streater and Andre Holmes will be allowed to find other opportunities, Fitzgerald writes, while the team should discuss extensions for contract-year running backs Latavius Murray and Marcel Reece.