Month: November 2021

Allen Robinson On Possibility Of Bears Extension

Aside from some short-lived optimism last September, it has generally felt like the Bears and WR Allen Robinson are unlikely to come to terms on a new contract. In January, we heard that Chicago was bracing for the possibility that Robinson would leave in free agency, and shortly thereafter, Robinson said that the club had yet to put a viable offer on the table.

While the Bears obviously cuffed Robinson with the franchise tag to keep him in the fold for 2021, the most recent reports on the matter suggested that no progress has been made towards an extension. In an interview on NFL Total Access today, Robinson didn’t give much of an answer when asked about the prospects of a long-term deal.

“We’ll see,” he said (via Grant Gordon of NFL.com). “I think the biggest thing like, again, like I said, just about going out there this year, having fun, making plays, trying to help this team get back into the playoffs. I think that’s the main thing.”

Robinson, who will turn 28 in August, has been a rare bright spot on a Chicago offense that has struggled over the past couple of seasons. From 2019-20, the Penn State product has averaged 100 catches for nearly 1,200 yards despite drawing the top corners from opposing defenses and catching passes from Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, and Chase Daniel.

It’s hard to say if his numbers will improve much in 2021. The Bears are set to deploy Andy Dalton under center to start the season, and Dalton is far removed from the passer he was during his best years in Cincinnati. As long as he remains the starting QB, the Bears’ offense will probably resemble the Trubisky/Foles attack of 2020.

With receivers like Keenan Allen and Amari Cooper now earning $20MM+ on an annual basis, it stands to reason that Robinson will shoot for a similar payout. To date, the Bears have not come close to meeting his asking price, but given the projected salary cap spike in 2022, there may well be a couple of teams willing to pay up next offseason if Robinson continues to perform at a high level.

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Saints Likely To Extend At Least One Of Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams

The Saints crossed a key item off their 2021 agenda earlier today by agreeing to a massive extension with right tackle Ryan Ramczyk. With that deal done, New Orleans can now turn its attention to the contract situations of several of its other high-profile talents.

Katherine Terrell of The Athletic writes that the Saints are likely to extend at least one of CB Marshon Lattimore and S Marcus Williams this summer. As Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com tweets, the Ramczyk extension cleared roughly $5.5MM off the club’s books for the 2021 season, so a Lattimore or Williams extension isn’t necessarily vital for cap purposes (plus, since Lattimore’s fifth-year option for this season was already restructured, an extension for him wouldn’t create more cap room anyway). But both players are integral pieces of DC Dennis Allen‘s defense, and the Saints would certainly like to keep them for the long haul if they can.

The problem is that New Orleans is already projected to be over the 2022 cap of $208.2MM, and GM Mickey Loomis might not be able to re-sign both of his young defenders. Terrell says Lattimore has always seemed like the higher priority, and as he plays a premium position and has three Pro Bowls to his credit, he will certainly be more expensive. On the other hand, he does not always play up to his potential, and Pro Football Focus’ metrics considered him the 70th-best corner out of 121 qualifiers last year. A March arrest could also complicate matters.

Loomis, though, has more time to talk contract with Lattimore than he does with Williams. As a franchise-tagged player, Williams cannot sign a multi-year deal after July 15. Given the Saints’ cap crunch, there was a belief that the team would not be able to retain the Utah product this year, let alone hit him with a franchise tag that carries a $10.6MM cap charge. The fact that Loomis made the financials work might be an indication of the team’s long-term outlook for Williams, who did well to clean up his one glaring weakness (his tackling abilities) in 2020.

In addition to Lattimore and Williams, left tackle Terron Armstead is also entering a contract year (his deal automatically voids in 2022). Terrell says it’s unclear what the Saints have in mind for their longtime blindside protector, but he will not come cheap either. We just saw soon-to-be 33-year-old Trent Williams pull down a $23MM/year deal, and Terrell suggests that Armstead — who will turn 30 in a few weeks — could shoot for a similar figure. With Ramcyzk now carrying a $19.2MM AAV and left guard Andrus Peat working on a $15MM/year pact, that would be a ton of money invested into the O-line.

We heard earlier this year that the Saints could let Armstead walk next offseason and shift Ramczyk to left tackle, and Terrell says that remains a possibility. Still, one would think that New Orleans will at least have serious discussions with Armstead about continuing what has been a very fruitful partnership.

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Raiders RB Jalen Richard On Roster Bubble?

The Raiders added Kenyan Drake to their running backs room earlier this offseason, and that could end up costing another Raiders RB their roster spot. As Tashan Reed and Vic Tafur of The Athletic write, five-year veteran Jalen Richard finds himself on the roster bubble heading into training camp.

The 2016 undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss was an immediate contributor, and by his junior season, Richard was leading the team’s running backs in yards from scrimmage (866). However, the organization added Josh Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 draft, and Richard has seen a reduced role over the past few years. This culminated in a 2020 campaign where the 27-year-old finished with a career-low 261 yards from scrimmage.

As the writers note, the Raiders could roster four or five running backs, so it’s not like Richard will lose his spot due to a roster crunch. Rather, Richard is set to make more than $3MM in 2021, and the front office could cut Richard, allocate that cash elsewhere, and rely on lower-price backups. Any of Theo Riddick, Trey Ragas, Garrett Groshek are cheaper alternatives who could push Richard for a roster spot.

Further, Richard made a name for himself thanks to his pass-catching ability, but Drake is expected to serve as the primary receiving back in 2021. Even quarterback Derek Carr discussed the similarities between the two running backs.

“I think Kenyan is a great player,” Carr said. “Super fast, super explosive. I don’t know if we were missing it, but I think he adds a dimension of just another threat. Him and Jalen Richard are similar. Very similar, but Drake [has] a receiver background.”

Richard doesn’t have a clear pathway to playing time, and with a modest hit against the cap, there’s a chance he could find himself playing elsewhere come the start of the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/30/21

Today’s minor NFL transaction(s), which we’ll keep updated throughout the night:

Seattle Seahawks

Terry had a standout collegiate career at Florida State, hauling in 118 receptions for 2,221 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was known for his speed and YAC-prowess, holding an FSU record for most touchdowns of 70+ yards (five). His nine touchdowns of 50+ yards was tied for the second-highest ACC mark in more than a decade.

Terry joined the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, but the wideout was limited at minicamp and OTAs with a hip injury. For what it’s worth, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times tweets that the receiver wasn’t waived with an injury designation.

 

Panthers Hope To Sign Taylor Moton To Extension

The Saints and Ryan Ramczyk reset the market for right tackles earlier today, and that could pave the way for Taylor Moton‘s extension in Carolina. According to Joseph Person of The Athletic (via Twitter), the Panthers are hoping to complete a long-term deal with Moton before the July 15 deadline.

The team slapped Moton with the franchise tag earlier this offseason, but it was believed the team was eyeing a long-term deal for the former second-round pick. The 27-year-old has started 48 straight games at right tackle for the Panthers, with Pro Football Focus grading Moton as a top-20 tackle in each of those three campaigns. That included a 2020 season where the lineman ranked as a top-five right tackle.

Ramczyk’s new deal with New Orleans could certainly provide a basis for a Moton extension. Ramczyk inked a five-year, $96MM deal that included $60MM in guarantees. Ramczyk’s $19.2MM AAV makes him the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle, eclipsing a mark that was previously held by Eagles lineman Lane Johnson. Ramczyk’s $60MM guarantee also surpasses Johnson’s ($55MM), with the two players earning the distinction of being the only right tackles with guarantees surpassing $35MM. For comparison’s sake, Moton will earn around $13.7MM this upcoming season under the franchise tag.

The Panthers aren’t the only team looking to extend their right tackle. We learned earlier today that the Colts were working with Braden Smith on a long-term deal.

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NFL Suspends Panthers WR Ventell Bryant

Panthers wide receiver Ventell Bryant will not be available to start the season. The NFL handed the young pass catcher/special-teamer a two-game suspension, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets.

This falls under the league’s substance-abuse policy. Bryant was arrested for DUI in March 2020, but the 24-year-old receiver reached a plea deal to bring the charge down to reckless driving earlier this year, Greg Auman of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).

One of several Temple players on ex-Owls head coach Matt Rhule‘s Panthers roster, Bryant signed a reserve/futures contract with Carolina in January. His only game action has come for the 2019 Cowboys, who used him as a special-teamer in 12 games. Bryant broke into the league as a Bengals UDFA in 2019.

The 25-year-old receiver is not a threat to see much time as a receiver with the Panthers, who have Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and second-round pick Terrace Marshall at the position. Bryant retains practice squad eligibility, however. He joins Anderson, Haason Reddick, wideout Keith Kirkwood and four other current Panthers Rhule coached while at Temple.

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This Date In Transactions History: 49ers Re-Sign John Taylor

Wednesday’s Ryan Ramczyk extension notwithstanding, June 30 is not typically a hotbed of NFL activity. But, amid a notable period for the 49ers’ wide receiving corps, one of the better No. 2 wideouts in NFL history inked his final contract on this day 26 years ago.

On June 30, 1995, the 49ers brought back John Taylor. The 49ers previously released Taylor — a move that helped them sign first-round receiver J.J. Stokes — but reached an agreement to re-sign Jerry Rice‘s longtime sidekick two days later. Taylor signed a two-year deal to stay in San Francisco. The then-33-year-old receiver agreed to an incentive-laden pact that included a $300K 1995 salary and a $1.3MM payout in 1996.

Taylor arrived in San Francisco as a third-round pick in 1986, when Dwight Clark was winding down his career alongside Rice. As Rice made his historic ascent, Taylor — a 1980s All-Decade punt returner — became a full-time starter as well. Although he is best known for making a game-winning touchdown reception in the final minute of Super Bowl XXIII, Taylor was not a primary starter during that 1988 season. The Delaware State alum became a first-stringer a year later, when he compiled a 1,000-yard season for a 49ers team that repeated as Super Bowl champs, and remained in this role through the 1994 season — when the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX. San Francisco changed up its receiver equation in 1995, however.

The 49ers had re-signed Taylor in 1992, after the second of his two 1,000-yard seasons, but saw him dip under 600 receiving yards in 1994. The franchise then traded up 20 spots in the ’95 draft to select Stokes 10th overall. Taylor still started 12 games in 1995 but caught just 29 passes for 387 yards in first-year OC Marc Trestman‘s offense. Stokes outproduced that total as a rookie, though Rice’s then-NFL-record 1,848 yards overshadowed everything else about San Francisco’s offense that season.

The 49ers cut bait on the Taylor contract in 1996, and the Division I-AA success story opted to retire. San Francisco’s post-Taylor plan became complicated after a 1996 Stokes injury. Terrell Owens (Round 3, 1996) seized Taylor’s former gig as Rice’s top wingman; the two played five seasons together. T.O. had a rather notable career in the years that followed as well. Taylor remains in the top 10 in career catches, yards and touchdown receptions in 49ers history.

Doug Pederson Aiming To Land Another Head Coaching Job

Doug Pederson‘s fit with the Eagles unraveled quickly, following Philadelphia’s 4-11-1 season. Despite leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship three years ago, Pederson is without an NFL gig at the moment.

But the five-year Eagles head coach is not planning a lengthy hiatus away from the game. The 53-year-old coach wants to land a second head coaching position soon.

The competitor inside wants to continue to compete,” Pederson said during an appearance on 97.5’s The Anthony Gargano Show (via NJ.com). “Hopefully, I get an opportunity to lead another football team and do the same things again and learn from the last five years — what a great teaching moment for me.

I always talk about how we learn from failures and different things like that. I don’t want to say that this was a failure, but at the same time, I want to learn from the last five years moving forward in my next opportunity.”

Although the Pederson-Carson Wentz era ended badly, with the injury-stricken 2020 team running aground, the Eagles went 42-37-1 during this partnership. Last season dragged down Pederson’s win percentage considerably, however, and he and GM Howie Roseman‘s relationship soured. Pederson discussed an offensive coordinator position with the Seahawks earlier this year, but the team went in another direction.

Super Bowl-winning coaches have been given second- or third-chance opportunities in recent years. Mike Shanahan landed in Washington after taking the 2009 season off, while Jon Gruden signed a monster contract to return to the Raiders. Mike McCarthy‘s Cowboys route, after the ex-Packers HC sat out the 2019 season, appears to be the path Pederson is aiming to take. Pederson, however, won a Super Bowl without his starting quarterback and did so without a dominant defense. It will be interesting to see how these accomplishments, along with the 2020 debacle, will be viewed by other teams when next year’s coaching carousel starts.

I’ll be defined in Philadelphia for my wins and losses,” Pederson said. “Obviously, the championship is huge. But for me, I feel like if I get another opportunity, I want to do it again. I went to two Super Bowls as a player in Green Bay, and then obviously now being a coach in Philadelphia, and so three Super Bowls, and when it gets in your system like that, it’s just hard to turn that off.”

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Top NFL Contracts By Position

Ryan Ramczyk‘s five-year, $96.2MM Saints extension moved the market for right tackles. Jamal Adams appears in line to do the same at safety. With the franchise tag deadline just more than two weeks away, here are the league’s top contracts — by average annual value — at each position:

Quarterback

  • Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs. Ten years, $450MM. Although Dak Prescott joined Mahomes in the NFL’s $40MM-per-year club and signed for $95MM fully guaranteed — compared to Mahomes’ $63MM — the Super Bowl LIV MVP’s uniquely structured contract still tops the league at $45MM on average.

Running back

Fullback

  • Kyle Juszczyk, 49ers. Five years, $27MM. Like he did on his previous San Francisco deal, Juszczyk resides on his own tier for fullback money. His $5.4MM AAV tops everyone else at this position by at least $2MM.

Wide receiver

  • DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals. Two years, $54.5MM. Hopkins’ 2020 Arizona add-on leads all wideouts’ AAVs by more than $5MM. He is signed through 2024.

Tight end

  • George Kittle, 49ers. Five years, $75MM. Kittle’s $40MM in total guarantees tops this position by a wide margin, but Kyle Pitts‘ rookie contract (four years, $32.9MM) now leads all tight ends in full guarantees.

Left tackle

Guard

  • Joe Thuney, Chiefs. Five years, $80MM. The Chiefs’ aggressive offseason on the O-line involved a guard-record pact for the five-year Patriot blocker. While Thuney’s deal tops all guards inked to long-term contracts, Washington’s Brandon Scherff is attached to an $18MM franchise tag.

Center

  • Frank Ragnow, Lions. Four years, $54MM. Ragnow’s $13.5MM-per-year pact topped Corey Linsley‘s recently agreed-upon deal at center. Since his rookie contract ran through 2022, Ragnow is under Lions control through 2026.

Right tackle

  • Ryan Ramczyk, Saints. Five years, $96MM. The fourth-year blocker has inched the right tackle market closer to $20MM. This deal ($19.2MM per year) and Lane Johnson‘s ($18MM) are the only right tackle accords worth more than $14MM annually.

Edge defender

  • Joey Bosa, Chargers. Five years, $135MM. Bosa’s $27MM-AAV deal eclipsed Myles Garrett‘s $25MM-per-year extension. Bosa’s $78MM fully guaranteed figure, however, tops the edge rusher market by $18MM.

Interior defender

  • Aaron Donald, Rams. Six years, $135MM. Donald’s 2018 extension is the oldest deal on this list. The future Hall of Famer is signed through 2024.

Linebacker

  • Bobby Wagner, Seahawks. Three years, $54MM. Wagner’s 2019 re-up can be directly traced to C.J. Mosley‘s Jets deal. Mosley’s $17MM-per-year accord earlier in 2019 changed the off-ball linebacker market. Mosley’s guarantees still lead the league at this position.

Cornerback

Safety

  • Justin Simmons, Broncos. Four years, $61MM. The Broncos locked up Simmons after franchise-tagging him twice.

Kicker

  • Justin Tucker, Ravens. Four years, $20MM. Tucker agreed to his latest Baltimore extension in April 2019.

Punter

Long snapper

  • Reid Ferguson, Bills. Three years, $4MM. Snappers’ stability notwithstanding, teams do not devote much more than league-minimum money to this niche position.

Colts, RT Braden Smith Discussing Extension

Jim Irsay said on draft weekend he expected the Colts to extend Darius Leonard and Braden Smith, two second-round picks from the 2018 draft. The Colts have gotten to work on one of those contracts.

Smith’s agent has entered talks with the Colts on a long-term deal, Stephen Holder of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The fourth-year right tackle is going into a contract year and is set to make $2.43MM. His salaries will likely be much higher in the future.

The right tackle market moved Wednesday morning, with Ryan Ramczyk‘s Saints extension giving the NFL a new benchmark for the oft-overlooked position. Ramczyk is now tied to a $19.2MM-per-year deal, which tops Lane Johnson‘s AAV figure ($18MM). No other right tackle earns more than $14MM annually, but the Panthers may factor into this equation soon. They have just more than two weeks to extend franchise-tagged right tackle Taylor Moton.

A right guard at Auburn, Smith transitioned to right tackle as a Colts rookie. The former No. 37 overall pick has emerged as one of the league’s top young tackles and has helped the Colts form a top-tier offensive line. Pro Football Focus has graded Smith (43 career starts) as a top-20 tackle in each of the past two seasons.

While Smith likely will not top Ramczyk’s price, he stands to be an eight-figure-per-year player on an Indianapolis O-line that should have three of those in the not-too-distant future. The Colts already have Ryan Kelly tied to high-end center money ($12.4MM on average), and they should be expected to make Quenton Nelson the NFL’s highest-paid guard. It is difficult to do more to state a case for such a contract; Nelson is 3-for-3 in first-team All-Pro appearances and has not missed a game. But the Colts have the 2018 first-round pick signed through 2022, via the fifth-year option. Because Smith was drafted a round later, he will likely beat his higher-profile line mate to a big-ticket extension.

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