Month: May 2019

Latest On Jets’ GM Search Process

The Jets’ search for a new general manager will likely ramp up after the upcoming holiday weekend, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports indicates in a series of tweets. As the process unfolds, key questions could involve the potential return of Jets owner Woody Johnson (currently serving as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom) and the willingness of head coach Adam Gase to surrender control of the 53-man roster, per Robinson.

Johnson’s brother Christopher is currently running the Jets and made the decision to fire ex-GM Mike Maccagnan and install Gase in an acting personnel capacity. But prospective GM candidates are, perhaps rightly, concerned at the prospect of Woody Johnson returning to helm the franchise in the near future.

Eagles executive Joe Douglas is still Gase’s top choice for general manager, according to Robinson, but he’d probably be the No. 1 option for any number of GM openings. Douglas is expected to be choosy when it comes to his next opportunity, and Robinson invokes Colts GM Chris Ballard — who was picky before ending up in Indianapolis — as a comparison.

There are reportedly a number of candidates whom Gase would accept as GM, per Robinson, including the 49ers’ Adam Peters, the Bears’ Champ Kelly, and the Lions’ Lance Newmark. Additionally, Jets ownership is believed to “think highly” of Vikings exec George Paton. None of those names have been officially linked to the New York job as of yet.

Latest On Bengals WR Tyler Boyd

Bengals wide receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd are both entering contract years, and Cincinnati has expressed an interest in the pair of pass-catchers. Boyd, for his part, doesn’t plan to hold out in an attempt to get a new deal, as he explained to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic.

“I’m just trying to do what’s right,” Boyd said. “I’m going to be a team player and go out there and work my tail off. I’m not going to try to skip out on reps or miss a day. That’s the best approach to it. Typically, a guy trying to come out to a season saying, ‘you have to pay me,’ it shows where the care is going.”

Boyd, the Bengals’ second-round pick in 2016, posted a breakout season in 2018 with career-highs in receptions (76), yards (1,028), and touchdowns (seven). He did all that while playing in only 14 games, as a late-season MCL sprain knocked him out for the year’s final two contests. Under new head coach Zac Taylor, Boyd will start in two-wide sets and move to the slot in three-wide receiver looks. He played 552 of his 773 offensive snaps in the slot in 2018.

“I definitely look at the market and see where guys is at,” said Boyd. “A great example is Sterling Shepard. I feel like our game is kind of similar, kind of close. He got four for $40MM. I kind of feel like I’m in that area. Hopefully, they come like that or a little bit more or around that way.”

If Boyd is willing to accept Shepard’s contract — which was actually for $41MM and contained $16.2MM in guarantees — the Bengals should probably work to close the deal. Boyd topped Shepard in every offensive category and finished higher than the Giants wideout in both Pro Football Focus‘ positional grades and Football Outsiders’ receiving metrics.

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Patriots Out On Gerald McCoy?

Although the Patriots had been previously mentioned as a possible suitor for Gerald McCoy, New England is not currently in the mix for the free agent defensive tackle, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Additionally, the Browns are not considered the frontrunners to land McCoy, per Cabot.

Roughly a quarter of the NFL has reportedly expressed interest in McCoy since he was released by the Buccaneers earlier this week. The Browns, Ravens, Falcons, Saints, Colts, Bengals, and Panthers have all at least considered reaching out to the veteran interior defender, but the only team known to have actually scheduled a visit with McCoy is the Browns.

McCoy was under contract for $13MM in Tampa Bay, and it still seems unlikely he’ll be able to match that total on the open market. (If a team had been willing to pay that salary, the Buccaneers likely could have found a trade partner). But given the level of interest in him, McCoy could push for a lucrative one-year pact. For reference, fellow defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who just replaced McCoy in Tampa Bay, landed one year and $9.25MM.

McCoy, 31, ranked fourth among defensive tackles with 21 quarterback hits in 2018 and finished as the NFL’s No. 28 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 5/23/19

Today’s minor moves:

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Claimed off waivers: TE Andrew Vollert

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

  • Signed: WR Gunner Olszewski

Washington Redskins

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49ers S Jimmie Ward Fractures Collarbone

49ers safety Jimmie Ward suffered a fractured collarbone while diving for a ball during Thursday’s organized team activities, according to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of (Twitter links). However, he should be able to return near the start of training camp, tweets Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Ward, a first-round pick in 2014, is no stranger to injury. As Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes (Twitter links), Ward finished the season on injured reserve in four of his first five NFL campaigns. He’s also broken his collarbone in the past, doing so in 2016.

The 27-year-old Ward has played all over the 49ers’ secondary, dabbling at both slot and outside corner in addition to playing safety. He was expected to compete with Adrian Colbert for free safety duties this offseason, but given that he’ll likely miss most if not all or training camp, Ward will be far behind in that positional battle.

Ward re-signed with the 49ers in March, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.5MM. However, roughly $1.5MM of that total, plus another $500K in incentives, is tied to Ward being on the field, so his most recent injury could affect his earnings if he suffers a setback.

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Panthers Inquire On Gerald McCoy

The Panthers inquired on free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). No visit has been scheduled just yet, but he’s squarely on Carolina’s radar. 

For those keeping score at home, that makes eight known teams with interest in the former Bucs standout:

The Bucs chose to release McCoy this week rather than pay him $13MM for 2019 or attempt to negotiate a pay cut. Even though Tampa preferred Suh (on a cheaper deal), McCoy was still quite productive in 2018 as he posted six sacks and brought his career total to 54.5.

The Panthers may struggle to find cap space for McCoy, but a lack of funding isn’t stopping contenders like the Saints, Patriots, or Falcons from pursuing him.

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Saints Work Out RBs

The Saints worked out some running backs on Thursday, including Fozzy Whittaker, Robert Kelley, and Buck Allen (Twitter link via Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune). All three vets are looking for a spot on the roster to backup top rushers Alvin Kamara and Lavavius Murray. 

Whittaker, 30, has spent the last five years with the Panthers, but lost his 2018 season to a torn ACL. For the most part, he was used as a reserve option and a third-down running back. He saw the most usage of his career in 2016 when he carried the ball 57 times and averaged an impressive 4.6 yards per try in that limited sample. In 2017, however, he had just seven carries in 12 games.

Kelley only suited up for two games with the Redskins last year thanks to a toe injury. Kelley averaged 4.2 yards per carry as a rookie in 2016, but has been unable to replicate that production.

Allen, meanwhile, saw time in 14 games for the Ravens last year, but averaged just 2.7 yards per rushing attempt. The former fourth-round pick had some moments early on in his career – including his 12 catches for 107 receiving yards against the Dolphins in 2015 – but has never topped the 4.0 YPC mark in any of his four NFL seasons.

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Buccaneers Sign Ndamukong Suh

May’s biggest free agent is officially off the board. On Thursday, the Buccaneers announced the signing of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Suh will receive a one-year deal worth $9.25MM with incentives that can push it to $10MM, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

Suh’s arrival will give the Bucs a major stopper to replace six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, who was released on Monday. In essence, the Bucs swapped McCoy’s $13MM salary for Suh and defensive end Shaquil Barrett, who will earn a combined $13MM in 2019. With all due respect to McCoy, that’s a pretty outstanding value for Tampa.

Suh, 32, has five Pro Bowl nods and two First-Team All-Pro selections on his resume. Throughout his career, Suh has been one of the very best defensive tackles in the NFL with an impressive knack for finding the quarterback from the interior.

After five years with the Lions, Suh inked a six-year, $114MM with the Dolphins, making him the highest-paid defensive player in league history. Suh continued to play at a high level, but didn’t quite live up to the mammoth contract. Midway through, the Dolphins released him, paving the way for Suh to latch on with the Rams in 2018.

In L.A., Suh tallied 4.5 sacks and 59 tackles and graded out as the No. 20 ranked interior defender in the NFL. Those numbers aren’t in line with his best work, but it’s clear that the veteran still has a lot to offer for the Bucs.

Suh would have made sense for clubs like the Seahawks, Cowboys, Broncos, and Vikings, but the Bucs jumped at the opportunity to replace McCoy with the equally accomplished defender. Meanwhile, the deal brings Suh back to Florida, a no-income tax state.

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Broncos To Sign First-Round Pick Noah Fant

The Broncos have agreed to terms with first-round pick Noah Fant, according to Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). The deal will pay the tight end $12.6MM and includes a fifth-year team option for the 2023 season. 

[RELATED: Latest On Broncos, Chris Harris]

Fant set collegiate career highs in catches (39) and receiving yards (519) last year to go along with seven touchdown receptions. Before that, he put himself on the national map in 2017 with a team-leading eleven TD catches.

Selected with the No. 20 overall pick, Fant profiles as the Broncos’ top receiving tight end. The Broncos also have tight ends Jake Butt, Jeff Heuerman, Bug Howard, Austin Fort, and Troy Fumagalli on the 90-man roster.

With Fant inked to his rookie deal, the Broncos have just three unsigned draft picks: offensive lineman Dalton Risner, quarterback Drew Lock and defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones.

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Gerald McCoy To Visit Browns

Gerald McCoy will kick off his free agent tour by visiting the Browns on Friday, Mike Garafolo of tweets. Browns GM John Dorsey has also confirmed that McCoy will meet with team brass (Twitter link). 

The Browns have been connected to McCoy for some time, but they decided against trading for the defensive tackle while he was under contract for $13MM in the upcoming season. After his Bucs release, the Browns might be able to sign him at a lesser rate without giving up any draft capital.

There’s also mutual interest between McCoy and the Ravens, Mary Kay Cabot of hears. The Browns’ up-and-coming roster appeals to McCoy, per Cabot, but he also likes the Ravens’ top-ranked defense a lot and has some relationships in that locker room. The Patriots, Falcons, Saints, Colts, and Bengals are also interested in the six-time Pro Bowler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.