Month: June 2017

NFC Rumors: Cousins, Kaepernick, Verner

There’s lots of talk about the Redskins and Kirk Cousins working out a deal in the mold of Derek Carr‘s record-breaking pact, but JP Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com wonders aloud if the two sides could instead do a shorter-term deal with full guarantees instead. The Redskins claim they are comfortable with going year-to-year with Cousins and controlling him for at least two more seasons via tags. However, that would mean paying out $24MM in 2017 and $34MM in 2018 with no certainty for 2019 and beyond. Instead, Finlay proposes a three-year deal worth $24MM per season with full guarantees. Given Cousins’ willingness to bet on himself, I have a hard time seeing the QB accepting such an offer, but it’s certainly a creative proposal.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • One 49ers employee tells Albert Breer of The MMQB that Colin Kaepernick wouldn’t stay late at the facility during the season like many quarterbacks routinely do, opting instead to take work home. That didn’t set well with coaches who felt that his mediocre prep work led to bad mistakes in games. When asked if he thinks Kaepernick wants to continue playing, another team employee said, “I do think he wants to play—to stay relevant.” It should be noted that Kaepernick tossed only four interceptions against 16 touchdowns last season, so his errors did not result in a ton of turnovers. However, a player’s TD/INT rate obviously does not take other play-reading errors into account, such as missing an open receiver.
  • Free agent Alterraun Verner is still without a team as July approaches, but the former Buccaneers cornerback remains hopeful that he’ll find an NFL home for 2017. “I’ve worked out for a few teams including the Jaguars. I feel very confident something will happen come late summer,” Verner told SiriusXM (on Twitter). Verner was supposedly out of shape when he auditioned for Jacksonville and, as far as we know, the rumored mulligan on the workout never came to fruition.
  • Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is not ruling out the possibility of a holdout.

Backloaded Deal For Raiders’ Derek Carr?

Derek Carr and the Raiders have a new deal which will keep the quarterback in place through the 2022 season. We know that the new money average on the deal – $25MM per year – is an all-time record, but there are other factors which will dictate the true value of the deal. Naturally, the cash flow and nature of the guarantees will tell us a lot about how Carr did in negotiations, but his reps may have also structured his deal with the Nevada state tax code in mind, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweetsDerek Carr/Khalil Mack (vertical)

[RELATED: Raiders, Derek Carr Agree To Record-Breaking Deal]

California’s state tax rate is 13.3%. Meanwhile, there is no state tax in Nevada. A backloaded deal could make a lot of sense for Carr and allow him to hang on to millions more in income.

We know that the Raiders plan to play their home games in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In 2019, the team could move to a temporary home in Nevada while waiting for it’s new home to be built, but it’s also possible that they’ll extend their stay in Oakland for one more year. It stands to reason that Carr’s team has opted for less money in the first two years of the new deal (’18, ’19) with a step up in 2020, when the new stadium is projected to open.

It’s not just Carr that will be thinking of the Battle Born State when negotiating a new contract with the Raiders. The same will go for any Raider in extension talks, including Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson, and Amari Cooper, Schefter tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Sign Derek Carr To Extension

The Raiders and Derek Carr have finalized a new five-year deal that is believed to be worth about $25MM per year, league sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Carr confirmed the deal on Twitter on Thursday morning and a formal announcement from the Raiders could be right around the corner."<strong

[RELATED: Lions Willing To Make Matthew Stafford League’s Highest-Paid Player]

Carr is now signed through 2022 with a deal that will contain just south of $69MM over the first three years, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). Carr’s deal includes $70MM in guarantees with $40MM fully guaranteed at signing, a source tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter).

It has long been expected that Carr’s deal could approach the $25MM/year mark, but it wasn’t clear when the two sides would finally shake hands on a deal. Now, the Raiders have gotten the extension hammered out with weeks to go before training camp. That’s a huge win for the Raiders, especially since Carr was adamant about cutting off talks in late July.

“I wouldn’t even answer my phone,” Carr said recently. “The money isn’t the thing that drives me. … What drives me is making sure I’m giving everything that I have with my abilities, and making sure that we win. And I don’t want anything distracting my thought process at all…Now, that’s not a jab, or anything like that. That’s just me saying I’m not going to deal with anything that’s not helping me just focus on winning.”

The former second-round pick was slated to enter the final year of his rookie contract. Instead, he’ll see a titanic bump after his paltry $1.15MM salary in 2017. Before today’s news, Andrew Luck‘s $24.6MM average annual salary was the highest of any player in the NFL. Carr’s new deal will place him at the top in AAV, besting Carson Palmer ($24.35MM), Drew Brees ($24.25MM), and Kirk Cousins ($23.9MM).

Last season, Carr completed 63.8% of his passes for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 QB last season, putting him ahead of Brees, Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott, and several other major names. Only Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Luck, and Russell Wilson finished with higher scores than the Raiders QB.

Carr’s new deal will have major implications for Stafford and Cousins as they seek new multi-year arrangements. Lions president Ron Wood admitted this week that a new deal for Stafford would likely mean making him the league’s highest-paid player and the Carr deal only raises the bar. The two sides may now have the framework in place for a deal and that could bump Carr from the top spot in compensation rather quickly.

Meanwhile, Cousins and the Redskins have until July 17 (not July 15) to work out an extension. Cousins is not interested in taking a hometown discount and he is seeking full guarantees that will match the total of this year’s franchise tag ($23.94MM) plus next year’s transition tender ($28.7MM).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: O’Callaghan, Falcons, Decker

Former Chiefs and Patriots offensive tackle Ryan O’Callaghan has come out as gay, as Cyd Ziegler of OutSports.com writes. O’Callaghan, a former fifth-round pick who played in the NFL from 2006-11, describes a deeply dark period in his life during which he used painkillers extensively in order to cope with injuries and his mixed feelings regarding his own sexuality. Sadly, O’Callaghan admits he was on the verge of committing suicide before meeting with a clinical psychologist linked to the Chiefs. Slowly, O’Callaghan began coming out to family and friends — including former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and college teammate Aaron Rodgers — and is now working with an LGBT organization in his native Redding, California. O’Callaghan’s story is one of courage and inspiration, and Ziegler’s article is well worth a full read.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • As Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported yesterday, Eric Decker‘s one-year contract with the Titans can be worth as much as $5.35MM, and today Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk details exactly how Decker can reach that figure. In addition to his $2.5MM signing bonus and $1.35MM base salary, Decker can earn another $150K in gameday active roster bonuses. Additionally, Decker can get $250K if he scores four touchdowns, per Florio. He’ll receive $125K for every 10 catches starting at 30 and maxing out at 70 (netting him as much as $625K), and can earn another $125K for every 100 yards receiving starting at 450 and maxing out at 850 (potential total: $625K).
  • If recent history is any guide, cornerback Marcus Peters shouldn’t expect an extension from the Chiefs when he becomes a free agent in 2020, opines Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. Kansas City has liberally used the franchise tag on its elite defenders, including edge rusher Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Of course, both of those players eventually garnered long-term deals, and are each among the top-three at their position in annual salary. Still, the Chiefs are likely to exercise Peters’ fifth-year option for 2019, then use the franchise tag in 2020 before extending him.
  • A one-year deal is seemingly never a bad investment, but some single season pacts are more valuable than others, leading Field Yates of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) to examine the best one-year contracts handed out this offseason. Decker is the most recent signee to make the list, as he’s expected to act as a veteran presence on a young Titans receiving corps. Other featured players from the NFL’s South divisions include Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe ($10MM), Chiefs defensive tackle Bennie Logan ($8MM), and Colts wide receiver Kamar Aiken ($5MM).

Corey Coleman Not Charged In Assault

Browns wideout Corey Coleman was not charged in relation to a December assault that occurred at his apartment building, but Coleman’s brother and another man were indicated, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. However, the incident remains under investigation, so it’s unclear if Coleman could be charged at some point in the future.Corey Coleman

“Corey has cooperated with the authorities,” Coleman’s attorney Kevin Spellacy tells Ulrich. “He continues to cooperate with the authorities. And he’s maintained he was not involved in a physical altercation at that incident whatsoever. Whether that be encouraging somebody, whether that be participating in fighting, he wasn’t involved. Period.”

As Ulrich details, the December 31 police report regarding the episode states Adam Sapp was assaulted as he walked towards an elevator in Coleman’s apartment complex. Sapp doesn’t remember the altercation, but a woman who was with him has accused Coleman of being involved in the fight and claims Coleman “beat up Sapp.” Sapp reportedly suffered a concussion, a ruptured eardrum, and other minor injuries, per Ulrich.

Even if Coleman isn’t eventually charged with a crime, he could still be subject to NFL discipline. As previous investigations have shown, the league often doesn’t take its cue from the legal process, preferring to mete out punishment of its own volition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/21/17

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Rams have waived defensive back Brian Randolph, the club announced today. Randolph, 24, went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2016 following a collegiate career that saw him play the most games (53) in Volunteers history. One of 19 undrafted free agents signed by the Rams last May, Randolph suffered a torn ACL during the club’s first preseason contest and was waived/injured. After clearing waivers, Randolph spent the entirety of his rookie campaign on injured reserve.

Only 12 NFL Draft Picks Remain Unsigned

The NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement’s language on draft pick contracts ensures that rookie signings are a breeze, so it’s no surprise that most clubs have already locked up their 2017 class. In fact, only 12 of 253 draft choices (roughly 4.7%) are still without a contract. Here’s a look at those players who remain unsigned:

First Round

Second Round

Third Round

Unsurprisingly, the majority of the unsigned draft picks are first-rounders. Players chosen within the top 32 selections, and especially those selected in the top 10, can often exert more leverage in negotiations in order to extricate more favorable terms. Offset language (or lack thereof) or the timing of signing bonus payment — the issue that held up Joey Bosa‘s talks with the Chargers in 2016 — could be on the table.

Other issues could be holding up negotiations between certain players. The Raiders, for example, haven’t signed any of their top three picks, which could indicate a specific contract sticking point that needs to be worked out. Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, meanwhile, is battling a hip issue, and New Orleans wants him to pass a physical before signing. Cornerbacks Gareon Conley (Raiders) and Jourdan Lewis (Cowboys) are each facing legal situations which could be holding up talks.

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Not Ruling Out Holdout

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has already indicated his desire for a new contract, and during today’s appearance on Adam Schefter’s Know Them From Adam podcast, Olsen didn’t rule out the idea of skipping training camp in an effort to land a reworked deal.Greg Olsen (Vertical)

I think it’s early right now,” Olsen said regarding a training camp holdout. “As the summer goes on and we get some feedback from the organization on how they feel, we’ll make the best decision we can. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that we feel very strongly about where we should be in that totem pole of top tight ends. I’d be hard pressed to find anybody who could make a reasonable argument to the contrary.

“This is not a negative environment,” Olsen added. “I’ve gone to all the OTAs, to all the minicamps. This is not by any means a toxic environment or a situation where the two sides seem fighting or anything like that. Has nothing to do with that. It’s just strictly, business should reflect productivity, in our opinion.”

Olsen, 32, agreed to a three-year, $22.5MM extension prior to the 2015 campaign, and since that time has continued to produce as one of the NFL’s best tight ends. During that two-year span, Olsen has ranked first among tight ends in receiving yards and approximate value while finishing a close second in receptions. He’s topped 1,000 yards receiving in each of the past two years, and has maintained his status as the most reliable weapon in Carolina’s offense.

Olsen’s $7.5MM annual average salary currently places him seventh among tight ends, just behind the likes of Charles Clay and Zach Ertz, while the Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham leads the way at $10MM/year. Olsen is scheduled to earn base salaries of $6.5MM from 2017-18 while counting for $10.35MM and $9.75MM on the Panthers’ salary cap in those respective ye

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets LB Lorenzo Mauldin Arrested For Assault

Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin turned himself into Manhattan authorities after being charged with misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident in a New York club in early April, according to a report from TMZ.Lorenzo Mauldin (Vertical)

Jean Lopez accuses Mauldin of punching him after he spilled champagne on the Gang Green defender, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Lopez, who claims to have suffered several broken bones in his face, also filed a civil suit against Mauldin earlier this month. Both Mauldin and his lawyer have denied the charges, but Mauldin could face up to a year in prison if convicted.

Mauldin, a third-round pick in 2015, could be subject to a league-imposed suspension (even if he’s not found guilty of assault). The 24-year-old hasn’t registered much production thus far in his NFL career, as he’s managed only 6.5 sacks as a backup in two seasons. Mauldin is signed through the 2018 campaign with cap charges below $900K in each season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Claim C Demetrius Rhaney

The Jaguars have claimed center Demetrius Rhaney off waivers from the Rams, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Twitter link). In a corresponding move, Jacksonville has waived offensive lineman Parker Collins.Demetrius Rhaney (Vertical)

Rhaney, who turns 25 this week, gives the Jaguars yet another interior offensive line option who will compete for a reserve role throughout the summer. Jacksonville has already targeted guard/center this offseason, spending a second-round pick on Cam Robinson — who figures to slide to guard now that veteran left tackle Branden Albert has reported to Jaguars camp — and signing free agent Earl Watford. With Robinson, center Brandon Linder, and right guard A.J. Cann entrenched in starting roles, Rhaney’s best chance to make Jacksonville’s roster is to beat out Watford, Patrick Omameh, Jeremiah Poutasi, and others for a backup job.

A seventh-round pick in 2014, Rhaney had appeared in all 32 games for the Rams over the past two seasons. However, most of Rhaney’s work has come on special teams, where he’d played 237 snaps from 2015-16. Rhaney did start one contest in 2015 (and played 123 offensive snaps that year).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.