Month: June 2024

Buccaneers To Decline Joe Tryon-Shoyinka’s Fifth-Year Option

The final pick of the 2021 first round won’t have his fifth-year option exercised. The Buccaneers won’t pick up Joe Tryon-Shoyinka‘s option for the 2025 season, according to Greg Auman of FOX Sports.

This move will make the linebacker a free agent following the 2024 campaign. Tryon-Shoyinka would have been attached to a fully guaranteed $13.25MM for the 2025 season had the Buccaneers picked up his fifth-year option option.

This isn’t a huge surprise considering the former 32nd-overall pick’s lack of production through three NFL seasons. Tryon-Shoyinka has yet to top 50 tackles or 10 tackles for loss in a season, although he has compiled at least four sacks in each of his three campaigns.

That includes a 2023 season where the linebacker finished with 45 stops, five sacks, and seven QB hits in 17 games (12 starts). Pro Football Focus ended up ranking the 25-year-old 71st among 112 qualifying edge defenders, with the site giving him some hope for his pass-rush ability.

Tryon-Shoyinka should continue manning one of the starting OLB spots in 2024 opposite YaYa Diaby. However, the organization has started to add some depth to the position, as the Buccaneers selected Chris Braswell in the second round of last weekend’s draft.

‘Considerable Support’ In Place For Move To 18-Game Schedule

Roger Goodell made some headlines during draft week, expressing an openness to an 18-game regular season. On the fringes for over a decade, this long-running NFL talking point may become a front-burner matter in the not-too-distant future.

NFL owners are believed to largely support Goodell’s preference for 18 games — with a preseason contest being removed from the schedule — according to the Washington Post’s Mark Maske, who reports the league may be eyeing an effort to lengthen the regular season well before the current CBA expires. Agreed to in 2020, this CBA runs through the 2030 season.

Considerable support exists among ownership for a move to 18, Maske adds. While a rumor about support for an 18-game season emerged earlier this year, that report pointed to CBA’s expiration as the point this matter will be decided. It appears, however, we are in for a 2020s effort here.

Seeing as the NFL schedule stood at 16 games from 1978-2020, moving from 17 to 18 so soon would mark a major change. It would also require a significant concession from the NFL to the NFLPA, and a union source informed Maske an expectation the owners bring forth such an offering in the next “12 to 18 months.” Goodell stopped short of saying he would actively pursue a change to 18 games, but the veteran commissioner certainly did not do much to indicate the 17-game schedule is the setup for the long haul.

I think we’re good at 17 now,” Goodell said during an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. “But, listen, we’re looking at how we continue. I’m not a fan of the preseason … the reality is, I’d rather replace a preseason game with a regular-season game any day. That’s just picking quality. If we get to 18 and 2, that’s not an unreasonable thing.”

The 2020 CBA states, “The League and/or Clubs shall not increase the number of regular season games per Club to eighteen (18) or more games,” which would set the stage for a battle between the league and the union. The NFLPA has stood against an 18-game season dating back to the 2011 CBA talks, and owners shifted to a 17-game goal when the union opposed 18 during the 2020 CBA talks. But it will be interesting to learn what concessions the NFL would make in order to make this long-sought-after number a reality.

How the schedule would be structured represents another central component here. Goodell pointed to the Super Bowl falling on Presidents’ Day weekend as a key measure. We heard years ago the NFL would target Presidents’ Day for its finale, but rumblings about a double-bye season did not lead to that logical plan being implemented. The NFL tried the two-bye setup just once — in 1993 — but networks felt that format weakened the schedule, and that view appeared to remain during the discussions pertaining to a 17-game season. If the NFL were to seriously consider 18 games, a two-bye season would almost have to be considered due to the injury-based resistance the NFLPA will likely show.

The NFL has held its season opener the Thursday after Labor Day since 2002. Removing a preseason game from the schedule and starting the regular season one week early would not add up with regards to the season extending to Presidents’ Day weekend. This would seemingly reopen the door for a two-bye season, and it probably should not be ruled out more safety-based measures — potentially surrounding the offseason schedule or in-season practices — could be concessions offered to the NFLPA.

The NFL is considerably safer than it was during previous eras; practice restrictions lead to a fraction of the contact work in practice past NFL generations endured. But players will certainly voice opposition to the schedule moving from 16 to 18 games in the same decade. The league’s increased safety measures and the salary cap growth that has taken place — and the money that would come from adding a game — is expected to be part of the owners’ push to players in a potential negotiation, Maske adds.

But the NFL has already adjusted the trade deadline, pushing it back one week (to the Tuesday following Week 9), but Browns GM Andrew Berry’s effort to slide the deadline past Week 10 came about because of the rumored 18-game push. It does not appear this topic will die down anytime soon. New NFLPA ownership — led by executive director Lloyd Howell and president Jalen Reeves-Maybin — will be tasked with leading the discussions on the players’ side.

Jaguars Release WR Zay Jones, K Joey Slye

Zay Jones‘ time with the Jaguars has come to an end. The veteran wideout was released by Jacksonville on Tuesday, per a team announcement.

Jones joined Jacksonville on a three-year, $24MM pact in 2022. During the first year of that accord, the 29-year-old posted career highs in receptions (82) and yards (823), scoring five touchdowns. The 2023 campaign did not go according to plan, however. Jones missed considerable time due to injury, and in December he was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.

While the former Bill and Raider returned in time for the regular season finale, his final statline (34-321-2) reflected his time on the sidelines as well as his reduced role in Jacksonville’s offense. The team did lose Calvin Ridley in free agency, but Gabe Davis and Devin Duvernay were among the receivers added to help replace him. Jacksonville also used a Day 1 selection on LSU product Brian Thomas Jr. during the 2024 draft.

With those new faces in place, the Jags will move on and Jones will now join the list of veterans in search of a post-draft agreement. The former second-rounder was due a non-guaranteed base salary of $7MM this year, and he was set to carry a cap hit of $10.75MM. This move will generate a larger dead money charge ($6.56MM) than cap savings ($4.18MM) if processed immediately. Designating Jones a post-June 1 cut, though, would free up more than $7.7MM in space against a dead cap charge of only $3MM.

Jacksonville also announced the release of veteran kicker Joey Slye. The 28-year-old spent the past two full seasons in Washington, going a combined 44-for-54 (81.4%) on field goal attempts during that stretch. He signed with the Jaguars early in free agency after Jacksonville lost Brandon McManus to the Commanders. Before even taking part in a training camp competition, however, Slye is once again on the open market. The Jags were among the teams which selected a kicker in last weekend’s draft, adding Cam Little in the sixth round. The latter is now joined by Riley Patterson as the only two kicking options on the team’s roster.

Broncos To Decline Zach Wilson’s Fifth-Year Option

As expected, the Broncos won’t be committing to Zach Wilson for the 2025 campaign. According to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold, the Broncos have informed Wilson’s camp that they won’t be picking up the quarterback’s fifth-year option.

[RELATED: 2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Considering the $22.41MM commitment that the option would have required, it’s not a surprise that the Broncos won’t lock themselves into that salary. Wilson will now hit free agency following the 2024 campaign, and he’s set to earn more than $5MM in what will be the final season of his rookie contract (the Jets are picking up a portion of that tab).

The Broncos acquired the former second-overall pick last week, swapping a sixth-round pick for a seventh-round pick along the way. Things have already changed since that acquisition, as the Broncos reached a bit for Bo Nix in the first round. The rookie could end up leading the depth chart in 2024, with only Wilson and Jarrett Stidham standing in the way.

Wilson, of course, will be seeking a fresh start in Denver. Following two underwhelming seasons to begin his career, the Jets made a major pivot last offseason when they acquired Aaron Rodgers from the Packers. The veteran suffered a season-ending injury in his first drive with his new squad, forcing Wilson back into the limelight. The third-year quarterback ended up going 4-7 under center, completing 60.1 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The Jets allowed Wilson to seek a trade elsewhere this offseason, although the market was predictably light considering the player’s lack of production and $11MM cap charge. They eventually found a taker in the Broncos, but following today’s move, this could prove to be only a one-year stop in Denver for Wilson.

Packers Sign Eight UDFAs

After leaving this past weekend with one of the league’s largest draft classes, the Packers are continuing to add rookies to their roster. The team announced that they’ve signed eight undrafted free agents:

South Florida offensive lineman Donovan Jennings earned a significant pay day to join the Packers. The rookie got a $10K signing bonus and $100K in guaranteed salary to catch on with Green Bay, per Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston. As Wilson notes, that signing bonus is higher than any the organization handed out in 2023, and the Packers also didn’t give any of their UDFAs guaranteed money last offseason.

Elsewhere on offense, the team added Arizona State’s Messiah Swinson. The tight end had 15 catches during his first season in Arizona in 2022, but he followed that up with only six receptions in 2023.

On the other side of the ball, the Steelers added a pair of pass rushers in James Ester and Rodney Mathews. Ester compiled eight sacks and 16 tackles for loss during his final three seasons at Northern Illinois, while Mathews collected 14.5 tackles for loss in his final three seasons with the Bobcats.

Steelers Sign Five UDFAs

After adding seven players in the draft, the Steelers have added five more rookies to their roster. The team announced that they’ve signed five undrafted free agents:

After adding one linebacker in the third round (NC State’s Payton Wilson), the Steelers have added another two players at the position. Jacoby Windmon is the more accomplished of the two UDFAs, with the linebacker collecting 119 tackles and 6.5 sacks with UNLV in 2021. However, he didn’t see nearly as big of a role after transferring to Michigan State in 2022, compiling 41 stops across two seasons with the team. Julius Welschof was a situational defensive lineman during his time at Michigan and Charlotte, and the Steelers are apparently looking to switch the prospect to a new position.

After three seasons of mostly sitting on the bench at Ole Miss, John Rhys Plumlee caught on with UCF as their starting QB between 2022 and 2023. He got into 23 games over the past two seasons, completing 63 percent of his passes for 4,857 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. He also added 1,367 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns on 265 carries. In Pittsburgh, he’ll learn from a pair of prolific runners (one former, one current) in Russell Wilson and Justin Fields.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/30/24

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Waived: WR Kaden Davis, CB Quavian White

Dallas Cowboys

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: P Seth Vernon

New England Patriots

The Patriots have added some linebacker depth in Oshane Ximines, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Giants. A third-round pick in 2019, Ximines ended up getting into 48 games during his time in New York, compiling 71 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He was limited to only three games this past season while alternating between the Giants practice squad and active roster.

In New England, he’ll be reunited with outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins, who previously served in the same role with the Giants. The Patriots will be hoping the new addition can provide some depth at strongside linebacker behind the likes of Matt Judon and Josh Uche.

Cardinals To Decline Zaven Collins’ Fifth-Year Option

Zaven Collins will be a free agent following the 2024 campaign. Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort revealed that his team won’t be picking up the linebacker’s fifth-year option, per Darren Urban of the team’s website.

Had the Cardinals picked up Collins’ 2025 option, they would have been on the hook for a $13.25MM cap hit. It seems that the lofty financial commitment is the biggest reason why the fifth-year option won’t be picked up, and Ossenfort acknowledged that Collins remains in the organization’s plans.

“We want to keep Zaven around here,” Ossenfort told the “Burns and Gambo” show (via Urban). “It’s just the fifth-year option, it removes some flexibility in terms of the (salary) cap. We’re going to have some discussions here. Love Zaven, love where he’s at, love what he brings for our defense and hopefully (we) keep him around here for a long time.”

The 16th-overall pick in the 2021 draft spent most of his rookie season in a backup role, but he compiled 100 tackles in 16 starts as a sophomore. The Cardinals moved him to outside linebacker for the 2023 campaign, and Collins proceeded to compile 41 tackles and 3.5 sacks while getting into 58 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. Pro Football Focus ended up grading him 44th among 112 qualifying edge defenders, although his pass-rush grade left plenty to be desired.

The Cardinals intend to keep Collins on the edge once again in 2024, meaning the impending free agent could only increase his value with a strong performance. At the very least, Collins will have two paths to joining teams (ILB and OLB) when he hits free agency after the season.

Rams Sign RB Boston Scott

The Rams have added a veteran to their running backs room. The team has signed long-time Eagles back Boston Scott, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It’ll be a one-year pact for Scott.

The former sixth-round pick has spent the majority of his career in Philadelphia, appearing in 75 regular season games and eight postseason contests. He saw a significant role between 2019 and 2021, averaging nearly 500 yards from scrimmage per season. Scott also made a name for himself with his continued dominance against the Giants, with the RB tallying 10 of his 17 career touchdowns against the division opponent.

He only started two of his 30 appearances over the past two years, averaging 185 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per season. This included a 2023 campaign where Scott finished with 138 yards from scrimmage, his lowest total since he was shut out in two games as a rookie.

Kyren Williams will be back to lead the Rams RB corps in 2024, but his backups will look different. Neither Royce Freeman nor Darrell Henderson were retained, and the team added Blake Corum in the third round of this year’s draft. Scott will likely compete with Ronnie Rivers and Zach Evans for a spot on the bottom of the depth chart.

Falcons Sign 10 UDFAs

After finishing the weekend with one of the more questionable draft approaches, the Falcons have rounded out their rookie class with 10 undrafted free agents. The team announced that they’ve added the following UDFAs:

  • Ryan Coll, OL (Richmond)
  • JaQuae Jackson, WR (Rutgers)
  • John Paddock, QB (Illinois)
  • Nolan Potter, OL (Northern Illinois)
  • Jayden Price, CB (North Dakota State)
  • Anthony Sao, CB (MidAmerica Nazarene)
  • Ryan Sanborn, P (Texas)
  • Austin Stogner, TE (Oklahoma)
  • Trey Vaval, CB (Minnesota State-Mankato)
  • Isaiah Wooden, WR (Southern Utah)

The Falcons added another rookie QB to their roster in Illinois signal caller John Paddock. The prospect got a chance to start during his final season at Ball State before transferring to the Fighting Illini in 2023. At Illinois, Paddock only took over late in the season but still managed to finish the campaign with 1,278 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The Falcons weren’t finished adding to their offense, signing three skill players to the roster. It’s actually the tight end, Austin Stogner, who has the most accomplished resume of the group. Stogner collected 84 receptions in a college career that saw him bounce from Oklahoma to South Carolina back to Oklahoma. This included a 2023 campaign where he finished with 17 catches for 196 yards.

The organization may be setting up a punting competition by adding Ryan Sanborn to the depth chart. Sanborn spent four years at Stanford before joining Texas for the 2023 campaign. The Falcons are still rostering last year’s starter, Bradley Pinion.