Month: April 2017

Sam Bradford, Vikings Haven’t Discussed Extension

The Vikings have not yet discussed an extension with quarterback Sam Bradford, as Bradford himself tells Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). Bradford is entering the final year of his contract in 2017.Sam Bradford (Vertical)

Bradford, 29, signed a two-year deal with the Eagles before being traded to Minnesota last year. Under the terms of that pact, Bradford will earn $18MM in 2017: $14MM in base salary, and $4MM as a roster bonus. Unless he’s extended before next spring, Bradford would become a free agent in a 2018 quarterback class that’s currently scheduled to include Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, and others (although, clearly, some of those signal-callers will never truly approach free agency).

Of course, Bradford’s contract status is directly tied to the health of fellow quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who missed the entirety of the 2016 season with a severe knee injury. Bridgewater’s injury necessitated the Bradford trade, and if the Vikings don’t believe Bridgewater will be ready to take the field any time soon, a new deal for Bradford could make sense. For what it’s worth, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer recently said he has “no idea” if Bridgewater will be able to suit up for the 2017 campaign.

In his first season with the Vikings, Bradford posted best year of his career, at least based on metrics such as quarterback rating and QBR. Bradford tossed 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions while passing for more than 3,800 yards, and led the league in completion percentage (71.6).

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Minor NFL Transactions: 4/25/17

Today’s minor move:

  • Restricted free agent wide receiver Dontrelle Inman has signed his second-round tender, the Chargers announced today. Inman will now earn a non-guaranteed $2.797MM base salary for the 2017 campaign. The 28-year-old former undrafted free agent broke out last season, catching 58 balls, 810 yards, and four touchdowns from quarterback Philip Rivers. Inman will return to a Los Angeles wideout corps that includes Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and Travis Benjamin.
  • The Lions have signed free agent punter Kasey Redfern, according to a team announcement. Redfern, 25, was sent to the Browns last August as part of the Panthers’ Andy Lee acquisition, but didn’t end up making Cleveland’s final roster. A Wofford alum, Redfern has bounced around the NFL since entering the league in 2014, but has yet to appear in a pro contest. Detroit signed punter Sam Martin to a four-year extension in September, so Redfern won’t act as anything more than a camp body in the Motor City.

Agent: Jay Cutler Has No Plans To Retire

While previous reports have indicated otherwise, free agent quarterback Jay Cutler does not intend to retire, his agent Bus Cook tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Facebook link).Jay Cutler (vertical)

“Jay wants to play football,” Cook said. “He never has mentioned retirement to me. Jay Cutler, as far as I know, is ready to play and wants to play, and his skill set is as good as any quarterback in the league.”

Cutler, 34 on Saturday, has only been directly linked to two clubs this offseason: the Jets and the Texans. Gang Green reached out to Cutler in mid-March, but quickly lost interest after signing fellow veteran quarterback Josh McCown. Houston, meanwhile, expressed “mild interest” in Cutler at some point in recent weeks, but head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly prefers incumbent Tom Savage to Cutler.

That no team has been overly enthused about Cutler is unsurprising given both his likely salary demands and the results of his 2016 campaign, during which he was hampered by injuries and managed a Total Quarterback Rating of just 33.1 in five starts. Still, Cutler ranks as PFR’s No. 1 free agent quarterback, and he figures to land a contract at some point (if he wants one).

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McShay’s Latest: Mahomes, Foster, Cook

Three quarterbacks are expected to be selected in the first round: Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), and Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), according to Todd McShay of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Cal’s Davis Webb is also reportedly a contender for a first-round slot, says McShay, though he could fall to the middle of Round 2. Watson, interestingly, has been more lauded by NFL clubs that aren’t in the market for a quarterback, per McShay, as those teams have praised Watson’s leadership ability and other intangibles. Trubisky and Mahomes, meanwhile, are seemingly more attractive to clubs that do need a signal-caller.

Let’s take a look at a few more highlight’s from McShay’s column, which is certainly worth a full read:

  • Mahomes, specifically, has been consistently linked to the Chiefs and Cardinals, says McShay. Both clubs are on the hunt for long-term options under center, as Alex Smith has shown a limited ceiling while Carson Palmer is entering the final stages of his career. The Texans have also been mentioned as a destination for Mahomes, as Houston head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly “loves” the Red Raider quarterback. If Kansas City is hoping to land Mahomes, it may have to trade up, as McShay doesn’t believe Mahomes will be available when the Chiefs pick at No. 27.
  • Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Florida State linebacker Dalvin Cook are both dealing with off-field concerns, but Cook could end up falling further down the board than Foster, reports McShay. At least one source tells McShay the Colts at pick No. 15 could be the eventual landing spot for Foster. Indianapolis is attempting a complete remake of its defense, so the club may be willing to overlook Foster’s issues in order to secure a top-notch ‘backer. If the Colts pass, the Redskins (pick No. 17) could also be interested in Foster, per McShay. Meanwhile, Cook will be “strongly considered” by the Buccaneers at No. 19.
  • The Saints could consider Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, or Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 11th overall pick, according to McShay. New Orleans has fielded one of the league’s worst defensive units for several years, so any sort of upgrade on that side of the ball shouldn’t be ruled out. Hooker isn’t expected to come off the board in the top five picks, but should be drafted between No. 6 and No. 13, per McShay. Reddick, meanwhile, is expected to be a top-15 selection and could even sneak into the top 10.
  • Houston pass rusher Tyus Bowser is expected to be a late first-round pick, sources tell McShay. Bowser, who managed 8.5 sacks last season, could conceivably appeal to a number of teams picking in the 20s or 30s. Speculatively, the Lions, Dolphins, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, and Saints could all use an edge defender late on Day 1.

Browns Talking Move Up With Clubs In Top-8

The Browns have discussed the concept of trading up from No. 12 into the top eight picks with three clubs, according to Mike Silver of NFL.com (Twitter link).Sashi Brown (vertical)

A number of teams are reportedly willing to trade back, a list that includes 49ers, Bears, Jets, Titans, and Bills. It’s possible that trades involving top draft slots could be cheaper than normal this year, as some teams believe there’s a lack of “overwhelming” prospects at the top of the draft.

Tennessee, specifically could be open to trading down — and already own a later first-round pick at No. 18 — and Titans general manager Jon Robinson says it’s “50/50” as to whether his club actually uses both the No. 5 No. 18 selection, according to Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com (Twitter link). The Panthers, too, may be willing to move down if a certain group of players, including LSU running back Leonard Fournette, isn’t available at No. 8, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.

Cleveland, meanwhile, would likely be moving up with an eye towards drafting North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky. If general manager Sashi Brown & Co. ultimately select edge rusher Myles Garrett first overall, they could look to land their long-term signal-caller just a few picks later. The Cleveland front office is reportedly mulling a move up to No. 5 or No. 6, and franchise owner Jimmy Haslam is apparently pushing the club’s decision-makers to take a quarterback early in Round 1.

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Falcons, Seahawks Mulling Draft Pick Trade?

The Falcons and Seahawks are discussing a trade that would send the No. 26 overall selection to Atlanta in exchange for No. 31 and a fourth-round pick, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com.Charles Harris (Vertical)

In making the deal, the Falcons would move ahead of the Steelers, Packers, and Cowboys in order to draft Missouri DE Charles Harris (or, presumably, another highly-rated edge defender if Harris is off the board). Atlanta has been linked to defensive ends throughout the predraft process, and Harris — who’s stock has seemingly risen over the past several weeks — would make for a worthwhile target.

Seattle, meanwhile, would move back five spots while picking up a fourth-round pick, per Pauline — that fourth-rounder would be pick No. 136. After trading down, the Seahawks would go after an offensive lineman, and Utah’s Garett Bolles has been mentioned as a possible pick, according to Pauline. Bolles, however, is considered one of the top offensive line prospect in this year’s class, and there is no guarantee he’ll be on the board at No. 31.

The two clubs presumably won’t make the deal until the day of the draft, and only then if their respective potential targets are still available. The presence of Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (previously the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator) is helping guide talks, per Pauline, and his relationship with Seattle may help a deal get done.

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Latest On Washington CB Sidney Jones

Washington cornerback Sidney Jones is facing a four-to-six-month recovery after undergoing surgery on his torn Achilles one month ago, according to a letter from Dr. Robert Anderson that was distributed to all 32 NFL teams (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).Sidney Jones (Vertical)

That timeline would allow Jones to return to action sometime between September and November, which means he could be available during the 2017 campaign (as Jones himself indicated he would be). Of course, that’s probably the most optimistic outlook for Jones, and the club that drafts him may want to utilize a cautious approach. Still, the possibility exists that Jones could begin the season on NFI or the PUP list, and be activated at some point down the line.

Regarded as one the draft’s best corners and a surefire first-round pick before going down in March, Jones tore his Achilles on the final rep of his Pro Day. The injury will surely push him down draft boards, but Jones still has a shot at being selected in the second round, and it would be a surprise if he isn’t taken by the end of Day 3.

Jones started 30 games during his career as a Huskie. In 2016, he put up 39 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed in 14 games.

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NFL Reinstates Cards LB Daryl Washington

The NFL has conditionally reinstated Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Although he has been out of football for a long time, he plans to play in 2017, a source tells Schefter. Daryl Washington (vertical)

Washington, 30, has been lobbying for a return for some time. Earlier this year, an anonymous source told Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic that the Cardinals are not interested in taking him back. The statement released by the team doesn’t do much to dispute that notion.

Considering we have been prohibited from having contact with him over the last three years, it would be premature today to discuss a potential return to the team,” the Cardinals said in a statement (Twitter links).

Washington was suspended indefinitely in 2014 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and has not played since Week 17 of the ’13 campaign. The linebacker earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2012 when he notched 134 total tackles and 9.0 sacks and continued to be productive in his final NFL year, but the Cardinals have run out of patience with him. Now that he has been cleared, he’ll have to try and hook on elsewhere.

On Tuesday afternoon, the league also granted conditional reinstatement to Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

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Steelers’ Martavis Bryant Gets Reinstated

Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL, according to a press release from the Steelers. Bryant may join the Steelers at the training facility and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities. “Once arrangements have been confirmed regarding Bryant’s clinical resources in Pittsburgh,” he will be permitted to participate in preseason practices and games, paving the way for him to suit up in Week 1 of the regular season.Martavis Bryant (vertical)

We appreciate that he has taken the necessary steps in an effort to get his personal life in order. We also understand this is just the beginning as he works to return to the team and meet all of the conditions of his reinstatement,” GM Kevin Colbert said in the press release.

The conditions of Bryant’s reinstatement are not yet known, but drug tests will surely be a part of his regimen. At some point during the season, he’ll receive full reinstatement if everything checks out.

Bryant had been suspended since March 2016 for multiple failed drug tests. The 25-year-old has looked great when on the field, but he has appeared in only 21 regular season games since entering the league in 2014. If he can stay on track, Bryant has the ability to become the team’s top option at wide receiver after Antonio Brown.

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Titans Exercise Taylor Lewan’s Option

The Titans announced that they have exercised Taylor Lewan‘s fifth-year option. The move will keep him under team control through 2018. Taylor Lewan (vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker]

Lewan has started 31 of 32 possible regular season games in the last two seasons. Last year, thanks in part to his play at the left tackle spot, the Titans finished out third in rushing yards. Lewan was Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 ranked offensive tackle, putting him ahead of big names like Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, and Donald Penn. The Titans were fully expected to trigger his 2018 option and a new long-term deal could be in the near future for Lewan.

Teams have until May 3rd to exercise the fifth-year options on 2014 first-round draft picks, but many teams have already made their calls. With Lewan, the No. 11 pick, out of the way, only three players in the top dozen are left in limbo: Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, and Lions tight end Eric Ebron.

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