South Rumors: Foster, Falcons, Martin, Jags

Texans running back Arian Foster, entering the final year of his contract, is set to make a $6.5MM base salary, with an overall cap hit of nearly $9MM. Those figures make him a potential release candidate, but if general manager Rick Smith says Houston won’t cut the veteran back because of his salary.

“As it relates to all the free agent conversations, I’m never really going to tell you one way or the other what we are doing, but I will tell you this: his salary is not a reason why we would cut Arian,” Smith said.

That doesn’t necessarily close the door on the Texans releasing Foster, since the team could have concerns about his health or his production. But if they’re comfortable paying a healthy Foster $6.5MM, it increases the odds that he’ll be back in Houston for the 2016 season.

Let’s check in on a few other items from around the NFL’s South divisions….

  • Head coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons will be monitoring wide receivers closely in both free agency and the draft, writes Vaughn McClure of According to McClure, the Falcons have “done their homework” on this year’s pending free agent wideouts, including Travis Benjamin, Mohamed Sanu, Jermaine Kearse, and Nate Washington.
  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht confirmed that he met with Brian Murphy, the agent for Doug Martin, on Wednesday at the scouting combine. However, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets, no agreement between the two sides will be reached in Indianapolis.
  • The Jaguars will head into the free agent period armed with a ton of cap space, according to GM David Caldwell, who suggests that estimates of $75MM “might be a little low,” per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. In a separate piece, O’Halloran also passed along a few notable comments made by Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley during his media availability.
  • Craig Stevens‘ new one-year contract with the Titans features a $1.15MM base salary, a $250K workout bonus, and per-game roster bonuses worth up to $500K, says Paul Kuharsky of A report last week indicated that the tight end’s deal could be worth up to $2.6MM via incentives.
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