Month: September 2022

Giants Could Extend CB James Bradberry

Throughout the offseason, it has sounded like the Giants and James Bradberry were heading toward a divorce. However, if the Giants are unable to find a trade partner, they could reverse course and extended their star cornerback instead. Per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, GM Joe Schoen has expressed a willingness to extend Bradberry “as a last resort.”

Why a last resort? The Giants aren’t trading Bradberry because of reduced play or anything. Rather, the cornerback is set to count for $21.8MM against the cap, and the Giants could save $12.1MM in space by trading the player. The pricey cap hit is the Giants’ primary motivation for exploring a trade, but it sounds like Schoen will clear up some cap space one way or the other.

An extension would decrease Bradberry’s cap hit in 2022…but it would dig into future space, something Schoen and the Giants front office has tried to avoid. The Giants continue to seek a third-round pick for the cornerback, and it will be interesting to see if a team is willing to bite on a trade as the draft approaches. The Chiefs were recently connected to Bradberry.

Despite a down year in 2021, Bradberry should still hold interest for cornerback-needy teams. He’s not too far removed from a Pro Bowl appearance in 2020, when he posted the lowest passer rating of any CB in the league, per PFF. This past season, the 28-year-old finished with 47 tackles and four interceptions.

Latest On Eagles QB Jalen Hurts

With the QB carousel mostly complete, it seems pretty clear that Jalen Hurts will be under center for the Eagles next season. However, when asked about the quarterback position, owner Jeffrey Lurie didn’t necessarily give a ringing endorsement. While Lurie told Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the organization believes in Hurts because of his intangibles, he never mentioned Hurts’ on-field skills. The owner also asked “who knows what the future holds, right?”…which is something an owner with a franchise QB probably wouldn’t say.

We heard that the Eagles had done extensive research on Deshaun Watson, and McLane writes that the organization kicked the tires on Russell Wilson. However, the two QBs refused to waive their no-trade clauses to land in Philly, taking the Eagles out of the conversation. Still, these pursuits illustrate that the front office would certainly consider an upgrade at QB.

Some pundits have even suggested that Philly could look toward the draft for a signal-caller. McLane previously expressed doubt in this scenario, with the writer believing the Eagles could move one of their three first-round picks with eyes on QBs in the 2023 draft.

Hurts finished this past season with 3,144 yards and 16 touchdowns through the air, but also 784 yards and 10 majors on the ground – both of which ranked first in the league among quarterbacks. The 23-year-old injured his left ankle late in the season, casuing him to miss the following game. While that was his only injury-related absence, it affected his mobility throughout the latter stages of the campaign. We learned in February that Hurts was going to undergo surgery.

OL Rumors: Fins, Meinerz, Bates, Steelers

Addressing needs at left tackle and left guard, the Dolphins are turning their attention to center. GM Chris Grier plans to bring in competition for incumbent Michael Deiter, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins are looking to keep costs down here, Jackson adds, noting they are not currently on the radar for J.C. Tretter or Matt Paradis. Both have been center starters for the past several years but would qualify as replacements for Deiter rather than competition. Given Tretter’s performance in Cleveland, the NFLPA president looms as one of the top free agents available. Miami’s to-be-determined center will join Terron Armstead, Connor Williams, Robert Hunt and either Austin Jackson or Liam Eichenberg on the team’s reconfigured O-line.

Here is the latest from the offensive line ranks:

  • Although the Patriots hosted Bills restricted free agent Ryan Bates, it does not appear they were competing with the Bears for his services. Unlike the Bears, the Pats did not extend Bates an offer sheet and, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, the team was not overly interested. The Bills ended up matching the offer sheet to retain Bates. The Pats lost both 2021 guard starters — Ted Karras and Shaq Mason — this offseason. While swingman Michael Onwenu stands to take over at one of the positions, it is uncertain who will join he and longtime center David Andrews as the third interior man.
  • Quinn Meinerz did not open last season as a Broncos starter, but the Division III product looks set to do so in 2022. Nathaniel Hackett envisions Meinerz as the team’s starting right guard, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. “The sky is the limit” for Meinerz, said Hackett, who plans to keep Graham Glasgow‘s midseason replacement in the lineup. That leaves Glasgow’s role uncertain. The 2020 UFA addition has been the Broncos’ starting right guard when healthy over the past two seasons, but he played center for 16 games with the 2018 Lions. Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry has not missed a snap during his initial two NFL seasons, but Pro Football Focus graded the former third-rounder as the team’s worst O-line starter last season.
  • The Steelers signed James Daniels and Mason Cole in free agency. Cole has primarily played center, while Daniels has played the position as a pro as well. Daniels has spent most of his NFL days at guard, and it is possible 2021 Steelers center Kendrick Green becomes the team’s other guard starter. Mike Tomlin is open to moving Green to guard, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic notes (subscription required). A third-round pick last year, Green started 15 games as a rookie. PFF graded him as one of the league’s worst centers. A move to guard, where he spent most of his time at Illinois, could potentially open the door to improvement and threaten Kevin Dotson‘s starting role. Dotson, a 2020 fourth-rounder, opened the season as Pittsburgh’s left guard starter but missed eight games due to injury.
  • Zach Banner‘s Steelers exit stemmed from his 2020 ACL tear remaining a deterrent, Kaboly adds. Banner opened the 2020 season as the Steelers’ starting right tackle but suffered the tear in Week 1. The 6-foot-8 blocker played seven games last season, but Kaboly adds his knee never returned to form.

Cardinals Host WR Malik Turner

The Cardinals receivers corps is questionable at best, so the team is looking to add some reinforcement. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the Cardinals hosted wideout Malik Turner today.

The former undrafted free agent spent the past two seasons in Dallas, seeing time in 20 games. All of his offensive production came in 14 games this past year, when he collected 149 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 12 touches. Turner also had a consistent role on special teams.

The receiver spent the first two seasons of his career in Seattle, collecting 265 yards and one touchdown. He also got into one playoff game for the Seahawks, dropping a critical pass in a loss to the Packers. In an ironic twist, Turner had a brief stint with the Packers organization the following season.

DeAndre Hopkins remains atop the depth chart, but he was limited to only 10 games and 572 receiving yards last season. With Christian Kirk out of the picture, the team will need one of their other receivers to step up. The team is rostering the likes of Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, Antoine Wesley, and Andy Isabella.

Jets, Giants Eyeing CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner

It sounds like the two New York teams could be eyeing the best cornerback in the draft. According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, both the Giants and Jets have “strong interest” in Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. Both organizations will host the cornerback on a top-30 pre-draft visit.

The Giants and Jets were present for Gardner’s Pro Day last week, with the Giants going as far as to take the cornerback out for dinner. The two organizations also met with the player at the NFL scouting combine earlier this month. Of course, the Jets and Giants aren’t the only teams to show interest in Sauce; per Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com, the Eagles, Lions, and Seahawks will also host the player on a top-30 visit.

Gardner is one of the draft’s top prospects, and for good reason. Standing at 6-foot-3, the cornerback ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash, and after allowing only 6.6 yards per reception last season, he earned consensus All-American and conference Defensive Player of the Year. In 33 games with Cincinnati, the cornerback had nine interceptions.

As Vacchiano notes, many believe Sauce won’t get past the Giants at No. 7. That means there’s little chance that he falls to the Jets at No. 10, so the team may need to use pick No. 4 if they hope to roster the best cornerback in the draft.

Contract Details: Armstead, MVS, Douglas, Peterson, Peppers, Butler, Barnett, Harris

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to around the NFL:

  • Terron Armstead, T (Dolphins): Five years, $75MM. In addition to a $12MM signing bonus, Armstead’s $43.37MM guarantee includes his 2022 and ’23 base salaries ($1.1MM, $9MM), Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Armstead’s $13.25MM 2024 base salary is guaranteed for injury at signing. The deal includes $2.5MM-per-year incentives for playing time and Pro Bowl accolades, Wilson adds (on Twitter).
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR (Chiefs): Three years, $30MM. Valdes-Scantling’s $18MM guaranteed includes a $6MM signing bonus and a fully guaranteed 2022 base salary ($2.56MM), Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. The Chiefs have some flexibility in 2023. MVS has $6.4MM of his $8.6MM 2023 salary guaranteed for injury at signing; that shifts to a full guarantee if the wideout is on Kansas City’s roster on Day 3 of the 2023 league year. Valdes-Scantling’s $11.6MM 2024 base is nonguaranteed.
  • Rasul Douglas, CB (Packers): Three years, $21MM. The Packers gave Douglas a $5.3MM signing bonus and have him tied to base salaries of $1.1MM, $2.25MM and $6.25MM, Wilson tweets. Douglas will collect a $2MM roster bonus if he is on Green Bay’s roster on Day 3 of the 2023 league year.
  • Derek Barnett, DE (Eagles): Two years, $13.2MM. Barnett will see $7MM fully guaranteed, which includes $5.5MM in Year 1 and $1.5MM in Year 2, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes (Twitter links). The Eagles guaranteed $1.5MM of Barnett’s 2023 salary and will guarantee $2MM more of that $7.5MM figure if he is on their roster on Day 3 of the 2023 league year. There are $9MM in incentives available, Wilson tweets.
  • Malcolm Butler, CB (Patriots): Two years, $9MM. The Patriots only guaranteed the recently unretired cornerback $750K, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets. That comes via a $500K signing bonus and a $250K guarantee of Butler’s 2022 base salary. Butler’s cap numbers check in at $2.22MM and $2.75MM.
  • Patrick Peterson, CB (Vikings): One year, $4MM. In addition to the $3.5MM guaranteed Peterson will collect, Wilson notes the Vikings included $1MM in playing-time and playoff incentives (Twitter link). The team tacked a void year onto the deal.
  • Anthony Harris, S (Eagles): One year, $2.5MM. The Eagles are guaranteeing $1MM of Harris’ $2MM base salary, Wilson tweets.
  • Jabrill Peppers, S (Patriots): One year, $2MM. The Patriots are giving Peppers a $300K signing bonus and guaranteeing his $1.1MM base salary, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The deal includes $3MM in playing-time incentives.

Saints To Bring Back G Forrest Lamp

The Saints will give Forrest Lamp another opportunity. Although the former second-round pick played just one game with the team last season, he committed to another New Orleans deal Thursday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

A Chargers draft choice in 2017, Lamp has seen injuries largely define his career. He missed all of his would-be rookie season in 2017, suffering a torn ACL during training camp, and went down with a season-ending malady midway through the 2019 season. The Bills placed Lamp on IR during the preseason slate last year, leading him to the Saints.

New Orleans returns its starting interior offensive line — Andrus Peat, Cesar Ruiz, Erik McCoy — and has swingman James Hurst still rostered. Lamp figures to compete for a depth role with the Saints, who allowed longtime left tackle Terron Armstead to join the Dolphins, creating a key question for what has been one of the league’s most stable O-lines.

Lamp, 28, established some momentum by starting all 16 games for the 2020 Chargers, but it did not lead to a key 2021 role. The Western Kentucky alum will nevertheless have another chance to contribute.

Steelers Re-Sign S Karl Joseph

Karl Joseph bounced on and off the Steelers’ active roster last year, but the team will give the former first-round pick another shot. Joseph agreed to re-sign with the Steelers on Thursday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Steelers have announced the one-year agreement.

The ex-Raiders first-rounder and Browns starter played just two games as a Steeler last season, being involved in a few promotions from Pittsburgh’s practice squad. But Joseph has a year in the Steelers’ system and 49 career starts to his credit.

Las Vegas cut the veteran safety just before last season, leading the West Virginia alum to the Steelers on a practice squad agreement. Joseph made just two tackles in his first Steelers season, which came after he registered 67 in 14 games (eight starts) with the playoff-bound Browns.

Joseph has intercepted five passes in his career and recovered five fumbles, but the one-time top prospect has never been able to establish himself as an upper-echelon starter. As a result, a lucrative free agency deal has eluded him. The Raiders passed on Joseph’s fifth-year option, and he has now signed one-year deals during each of the past three offseasons.

The Steelers have been monitoring the safety market for a bit now. Longtime starter Terrell Edmunds hit free agency earlier this month but has not signed anywhere. Pittsburgh has been unusually active on the market this year, adding multiple new O-linemen (James Daniels and Mason Cole) and adding likely starters on defense (Myles Jack, Levi Wallace). Mitchell Trubisky headlined Pittsburgh’s March spending. Joseph does not appear to be the answer alongside Minkah Fitzpatrick, but the 29-year-old defender certainly makes sense as a backup for the talented defense.

Falcons Sign S Dean Marlowe

The Falcons have added another veteran to their secondary. The team announced on Thursday that they have signed safety Dean Marlowe on a one-year deal. 

The 29-year-old has spent six seasons in the NFL to date. He was in Carolina for two years after joining the team as a UDFA. It was after he followed many other ex-Panthers to Buffalo, however, that he took on a significant defensive role. His most productive campaign in Western New York came in 2020, where he totalled 22 tackles, 1.5 sacks and his only two career interceptions.

That led to a one-year pact in Detroit last offseason. In his lone season in the Motor City, Marlowe made a career-high nine starts and 16 total appearances. 2021 marked the only time he played over half of a team’s defensive snaps, staying on the field for 70% of Detroit’s plays. He made 67 tackles and registered two pass deflections.

In Atlanta, Marlowe will join a secondary which has already added Casey Hayward. The team’s pass defense was the strongest element of that unit, ranking 18th in the league last season. The James Madison alum will join a safety group already featuring Erik Harris, but also recent draftees Jaylinn Hawkins and Richie Grant. His special teams experience should at least make him a third phase contributor, though he has shown an ability to be a role player on defense as well.

Buccaneers Re-Sign QB Ryan Griffin

Since coming into the NFL in 2013, Ryan Griffin has thrown four career passes. But he has impressed the Buccaneers for years. The veteran quarterback landed another deal with the team Thursday. Griffin signed for near the league minimum again, with The Athletic’s Greg Auman tweeting the sides agreed to a one-year, $1.1MM deal (Twitter link).

The Bucs announced they another Griffin contract. He joins a team that has seen its quarterback situation go from uncertain to stable in recent weeks, with Tom Brady coming back. Blaine Gabbert remains unsigned, however, and Griffin will rejoin Brady and Kyle Trask on Tampa Bay’s QB depth chart.

Griffin, 32, signed with the Bucs last year but did not make their 53-man roster, instead spending the season on the practice squad. Tampa Bay carried Gabbert and Trask as its Brady backups in 2021. Bruce Arians has consistently talked up Gabbert, who played under the Super Bowl-winning coach in Arizona and Tampa. But Arians stepped down as Bucs HC on Wednesday, leaving the former first-rounder’s path unclear. Trask, last year’s No. 64 overall pick, currently resides as Brady’s backup.

Griffin’s Bucs arrival predates Gabbert’s by a few years. He caught on with the team back in 2015, being claimed off waivers from the Saints. One of two Ryan Griffins who entered the NFL in 2013, the former Tulane quarterback saw his lone game action in 2019. But he has been with the team under Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter, Arians and now Todd Bowles. The Bucs tendered Griffin as an RFA in 2018 and gave him a two-year deal in 2019; he collected a Super Bowl ring on the latter contract.