A.J. Cann

2018 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Jay Ajayi (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.908MM in 2018. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2018 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Trent Brown, T; Eli Harold, LB

Bears: Adrian Amos, S

Bengals: Tyler Kroft, TE; Josh Shaw, DB

Bills: John Miller, G

Broncos: Max Garcia, G; Trevor Siemian, QB

Browns: Duke Johnson, RB

Buccaneers: Kwon Alexander, LB

Cardinals: David Johnson, RB; J.J. Nelson, WR

Chargers: Kyle Emanuel, LB

Chiefs: Chris Conley, WR; Steven Nelson, CB

Colts: Henry Anderson, DE; Mark Glowinski, G; Denzelle Good, OL

Dolphins: Bobby McCain, CB

Eagles: Jay Ajayi, RB; Jordan Hicks, LB

Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT

Jaguars: A.J. Cann, OL

Lions: Quandre Diggs, CB

Packers: Jake Ryan, LB

Panthers: Daryl Williams, T

Patriots: Trey Flowers, DE; Shaq Mason, G

Raiders: Clive Walford, TE

Rams: Jamon Brown, G

Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, LB

Redskins: T.J. Clemmings, OL; Jamison Crowder, WR

Saints: Tyeler Davison, DT

Seahawks: Tyler Lockett, WR

Steelers: Jesse James, TE

Vikings: Stefon Diggs, WR; Danielle Hunter, DE

OverTheCap.com was essential in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. 

AFC Notes: Kizer, Jackson, Bowles, Whitehead, Jags, Grissom

The Browns are in the midst of another season in the cellar of the league and while the 49ers are also winless, the teams’ quarterback situations have Cleveland looking like a much less hopeful franchise moving forward. The Browns struggles in finding a franchise quarterback have been been well documented over the years, but despite a botched midseason trade for A.J. McCarron, head coach Hue Jackson still believes that current rookie starter DeShone Kizer has the ability to end the team’s long QB issues, reports Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal.

“I think this guy is going to be a really good player in time, but there’s work to be done,” Jackson said. “We all want the instant success, but it’s going to take a little bit of time because I think it’s not just him. I think the whole offensive team has to do their part, too. But does he have to play better? Yes, he does.

Ulrich relays that while Jackson did push for the McCarron trade, it was was a move that the head coach wanted to make in order to help better his team in the short-term, full knowing that Kizer still had a lot of development to do this season.

“My job as a head coach is to always push for better talent on this football team,” “You’re talking about a young player in the National Football League who has had [seven] starts, compared to other players who have either played for me or players that I have seen that have done it week in and week out. I don’t think that’s a knock on DeShone.”

  • Sticking with the Browns quarterback situation, Mark Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com explained the team’s potential interest in some veteran signal callers this offseason in a video posted to the website. Cabot didn’t shoot down the notion that the Browns could conceivably after names such as Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins and Alex Smith, which would be a major upgrade over what the franchise has this season. The reporter even threw out Andrew Luck as being a potential target if the Colts were to make him available if they have interest in a QB prospect at the top of the draft. She does also note that the team could look at taking another signal caller high in the 2018 NFL Draft. There will be many quarterback options available, but it’s looking likely that the Browns may have a few new faces on the QB depth chart by the time their 2018 training camp begins.
  • While the Browns have performed close to their already low expectations, the Jets have been one of the bigger surprises in the NFL thus far. After seemingly starting the year trying to tank, the Jets are right in the thick of the AFC wild card race after beating the Bills last week for their fourth victory of the season, which has Ralph Vacchiano of theJetsBlog already saying that head coach Todd Bowles has proven that he’s the man to lead this team into the future. Vacchiano argues that although the Jets are just sniffing the playoff hunt, this season was never really about winning, but instead proving to the front office that he is the right head coach for the years to come. He notes that Bowles has the team playing loose and free after a tumultuous 2016 season. The third-year head coach has one more year left on his current deal, but Vacchiano states that he thinks the Jets should invest longer than even 2018 given the way the team has overachieved over the first nine weeks. There is still lots of games to be played and the Jets schedule does get tougher from here, but there is no doubt that the team is playing harder and better even with so many unproven players all over the roster.
  • The Jets will have to shake up special teams return unit for this Sunday’s game with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley suspended. To potentially remedy this, the team will bring in veteran return man Lucky Whitehead in for a visit on Saturday, according to Howard Balzer of Sports on Earth (Twitter link). Whitehead, 25, fielded 25 punt returns for Dallas last season and would make for an easy slot-in given his experience level with returning in his third year in the league.
  • The Jaguars have three starting lineman listed as questionable for Sunday’s affair vs. the Chargers, according to the team’s website. Guards Patrick Omameh and A.J. Cann, along with tackle Jermey Parnell are uncertain to play, which would make it much more difficult for the team to establish a ground game even with Leonard Fournette likely returning after missing the team’s last two games with an injury and suspension due to team rules. Jacksonville has five reserve offensive lineman on the roster, so depth is not a huge issue even if the offense is missing 3/5th’s of its normal group up front.
  • Recently released Patriots defensive end/special teamer Geneo Grissom has cleared waivers, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Grissom was removed from the active roster to make room for new signee Martellus Bennett, who made some interesting comments today with how he perceived the Packers medical staff misguiding him with his injury. Meanwhile, Reiss notes that New England can now bring Grissom back to the practice squad if they so choose.

AFC South Notes: Mahomes, Titans, Jack

Earlier today, Deshaun Watson‘s Texans visit schedule became known. He will have some company, it appears. Patrick Mahomes is also meeting with Texans brass, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Mahomes is already in Houston and will be visiting with the Texans tonight and on Monday, John McClain of the Chronicle adds (via Twitter).

The Texas Tech product is one of the fastest-rising commodities in this draft. He’s had 18 visits and private workouts thus far, but this one is among the more interesting for the high-volume college passer because of the Texans’ status as a two-time reigning division champion and void at quarterback.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noted earlier this month Mahomes was unlikely to slip past the Texans at No. 25, and the team is now doing some work on him. Houston would have a better shot at drafting the strong-armed former Big 12 signal-caller at No. 25 than Watson, but the former looks to have gained extensive ground and could be a priority for a team holding a higher pick — or one that trades up in front of the Texans — at this point.

Here’s more from the AFC South.

  • Corey Davis made a trip to Nashville, Tenn., today to visit with the Titans, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Davis will meet with the Titans tonight and Monday before flying to Baltimore for a Monday-Tuesday Ravens summit, per Rapoport. The Titans recently met with fellow first-round wideout prospects John Ross and Mike Williams. The franchise holds two first-round picks (Nos. 5 and 18) and is believed to be targeting wideout help. Their aggressive Brandin Cooks pursuit made this rather apparent.
  • The Jaguars will have some movement at linebacker, it appears. Last year’s second-round pick, Myles Jack has already learned middle and strong-side linebacker and is set to supplant Paul Posluszny in the middle, relocating the career-long middle ‘backer to the strong side. But the Jags view Jack as a natural fit on the weak side long-term, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Telvin Smith currently occupies that position and is expected to start there again in 2017. However, Smith is slated to be a 2018 UFA, and another Jack move would stand to impact Jacksonville’s decision on Smith. O’Halloran adds that Smith extension talks could pick up after the draft, but the fourth-year linebacker’s spot could be tenuous if Jack is viewed as the future at that position.
  • The Jags could also be exploring the idea of moving A.J. Cann to left guard, per O’Halloran. A third-year player, Cann’s been the Jags’ right guard starter the past two seasons. Recently re-signed Patrick Omameh and former Cardinal Earl Watford are the team’s other top guards presently. Jacksonville made a push for Kevin Zeitler but saw him sign with the Browns.
  • After picking up his fifth-year option, the Texans are expected to pursue an extension for Jadeveon Clowney. But they are waiting to see if he can deliver a repeat showing of last year’s Pro Bowl campaign.

Jags Sign A.J. Cann, Lock Up Draft Class

The Jaguars have signed third-round offensive lineman A.J. Cann, the last of the team’s 2015 draft picks to officially ink his rookie contract, the team announced today (via Twitter). With Cann under contract, Jacksonville becomes the 27th club to finish locking up its draft class.

Cann, the 67th overall pick in this year’s draft, was one of a handful of players selected at the start of the third round who had yet to sign their contracts heading into June minicamps. Raiders tight end Clive Walford, the 68th overall pick, put pen to paper yesterday. Meanwhile, Colts cornerback D’Joun Smith (No. 65) and Titans offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi (No. 66) remain unsigned.

According to Over the Cap’s data, Cann will get a four-year contract of about $3.082MM, including a signing bonus worth just shy of $802K. He’ll count for approximately $635K against Jacksonville’s cap for the 2015 league year.

Now that the Jaguars have finished signing their draftees, only the Colts, Patriots, Giants, Raiders, and Titans need to do the same, per our tracker.

Extra Points: Texans, Jaguars, Bucs, Kraft

Let’s run down some bits and pieces from the league from Saturday.

  • The Lions acquired Haloti Ngata via trade to plug one of their defensive tackle holes vacated by the departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, and CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora notes (on Twitter) Detroit could make a similar play to find more help on its defensive interior. Detroit picked Gabe Wright in Round 4 and signed Tyrunn Walker, he of one career start, from the Saints, so a need obviously remains.
  • Blake Bortles‘ offseason development choice was working with the same motion analysis specialists Tom Brady has in the past, Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union writes. The columnist reports Bortles, who rushed for 345 yards as a rookie with the Jaguars, dropped from 250 pounds to 238.
  • Jags remaining unsigned draft choices T.J. Yeldon and A.J. Cann should agree to terms this week during OTAs, Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union notes.
  • The Texans are the favorites to be this year’s featured team on HBO’s Hard Knocks, reports ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli (on Twitter).
  • Johnthan Banks figures to present a tough challenge for veteran Mike Jenkins to reclaim his starting cornerback job alongside Alterraun Verner with the Buccaneers, writes ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinkas. Although Pro Football Focus doesn’t rate Banks, a starter for most of his two NFL slates, as a particularly good cover man (93rd among corners last year; subscription required), the third-year player did intercept four passes and deflect 10. A Pro Bowler with the Cowboys in 2009, Jenkins is entering his age-30 season. Although only on a one-year contract after not being tendered as a restricted free agent by Dallas, Sterling Moore should be in this conversation as well after his breakout 2014.
  • Yasinkas also expects Charles Sims to give the suddenly mediocre Doug Martin a stiff challenge for the Bucs’ top ball-carrying job. Sims averaged just 2.8 yards per tote as a rookie in limited duty, while Martin averaged 3.7 per carry on 134 carries.
  • Justin Smith‘s retirement didn’t exactly catch the 49ers in an experience sinkhole like Suh and Fairley’s did for the Lions, with Darnell Dockett and Glenn Dorsey (234 starts between them) fronting the competition. But other candidates loom in what could be more of a committee-type arrangement, writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. First-round pick Arik Armstead and Tank Carradine are among those potentially able to supply depth after the loss of the unit’s leader. Dorsey rated ahead of the departed Ray McDonald — via PFF during his last healthy season in 2013, but both McDonald and Smith boasted top-flight marks last season.
  • The Boston Globe’s Christopher L. Gasper argued Patriots owner Robert Kraft put his own legacy ahead of his team’s immediate future in withdrawing from a potential battle with commissioner Roger Goodell over the team’s Deflategate penalties. The Pats boss backed Goodell on the Saints’ Bountygate punishment and his initial ruling in the Ray Rice domestic-abuse incident before objecting to sanctions against his own team.

Pauline’s Latest: Mannion, Grayson, Sample

With day two of the NFL draft getting underway, Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net points out a few players to keep an eye on tonight. Here are the highlights from Pauline:

  • The representatives for Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion are “pretty confident” he’ll come off the board quickly in the second round, writes Pauline. As for Garrett Grayson, there’s a chance he lands in the third round — the Bills and Jets are looking hard at Grayson, and the Rams, Broncos, and Washington are also in the mix.
  • According to Pauline, many people believe Florida Atlantic cornerback D’Joun Smith will be selected in the second round tonight, which would be much earlier than expected.
  • Safety James Sample, who is receiving interest from the Seahawks and Ravens, could also come off the board earlier than anticipated, per Pauline.
  • South Carolina guard A.J. Cann likely won’t last long tonight. The Dolphins would love to nab Cann at No. 47, but the Jets have him graded highly and pick 37th, writes Pauline.

West Notes: Bennett, Rams, Waynes

Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett is not expected to be in attendance for the Seahawks’ voluntary workouts, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times writes. Bennett denies that he’s seeking a trade out of Seattle but sources have said he would like the team to redo his contract. Bennett is entering the second year of a four-year deal worth $28.5MM signed last spring. When asked if he’s happy with is deal, the veteran replied: “I can’t really say that, but I mean I don’t know anybody that is happy with the amount of money that they’re making. But at this point, I’m just trying to be a good Seahawk.” Here’s more from the AFC and NFC West..

  • The Rams will host Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes on Tuesday and South Carolina offensive guard A.J. Cann on Wednesday, according to Nick Wagoner of the Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). The Rams pick at No. 10 and they have the opportunity to jump the Vikings at No. 11, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes (via Twitter).
  • Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson says that he hopes to play for another 3-5 years, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). The Chiefs could create $5.2MM in cap savings by releasing Johnson, but team chairman Clark Hunt recently said that he expects that the veteran will stay put.
  • In addition to Justin Houston and Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were also absent from Chiefs camp due to academics, Paylor tweets.
  • Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith is in Denver today visiting the Broncos, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link). Smith visited the Vikings in Minnesota earlier in April.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Draft Notes: Raiders, Williams, Winston

Peter King of The MMQB doesn’t believe in mock drafts, but today he gave us his “best guess” draft. Going by “the look in coach Ken Whisenhunt’s eyes when he talked about the pick last week at the league meetings,” King projects that the Titans will take Marcus Mariota at No. 2 after Jameis Winston is taken with the top pick. After that, he rounds out the top five with the Jaguars taking Florida outside linebacker Dante Fowler at No. 3, the Raiders selecting USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams at No. 4, and Washington taking West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White at No. 5, before trading him to the Rams for the No. 10 and 72 picks. Here’s a look at today’s draft news..

  • The Raiders are high on Williams and could trade up to land him, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Oakland is in the pivot spot at No. 4 and although people have pegged them to land a wide receiver, they want the USC superstar and fear that he’ll be gone by No. 3. If they can’t get up land him, Cole says that they could move back to still take White or Amari Cooper while adding another asset.
  • The NFL is still concerned about Winston’s maturity, according to Cole (video link). King (on Twitter) adds that the Bucs have done major homework on the FSU star. Their private eyes have interviewed more than 75 people in Winston’s past.
  • Winston isn’t the only FSU product tied to the Buccaneers. Guard Josue Matias said he is scheduled to visit the Bucs next week as well, as Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com writes. Matias is viewed by draft experts as a second- or third-round pick. The Bucs, meanwhile, have a glaring need at right guard and their offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL in 2014.
  • Former South Carolina guard A.J. Cann is drawing a ton of pre-draft interest, Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports tweets. Right now, Cann has visits and/or workouts scheduled with 14 different teams. Getlin adds that the Ravens, Saints, Vikings, and Buccaneers are among the teams the young lineman will meet with (link).
  • South Carolina running back Mike Davis would be a great fit for the Patriots and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) hears that he indeed has a visit lined up with them.
  • Albany tight end Brian Parker will work out for the Eagles and visit the Bengals, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Parker has also drawn interest from the Vikings, Bills, and Seahawks. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder caught 39 passes for 500 yards and five touchdowns last season.
  • The Buccaneers worked out Idaho defensive lineman Quayshawne Buckley on Wednesday, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (via Twitter). Pauline describes him as a sleeper and a strong fit for Tampa Bay’s system.
  • University of Miami tight end Clive Wafford has visits or workouts lined up with the Saints, Falcons, Dolphins, 49ers, Ravens, Chiefs, and Buccaneers, according to Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel (via Twitter).