A.J. McCarron

Bills Notes: McCarron, Draft, Free Agency

After trading Tyrod Taylor to the Browns before free agency opened, the Bills suddenly had a need for a starting quarterback. They filled that void with Bengals backup A.J. McCarron, who was among the last signal-callers remaining after the deals of Case Keenum, Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater.

Though McCarron is a relative unknown as a starter, the MMQB’s Albert Breer believes it was a great deal for the Bills (via Twitter). Breer notes that McCarron’s contract — $5MM base salary in 2018 with $2MM in incentives — helps save the team between $9-11MM. Not only did the team save considerable coin, it also picked up the No. 65 pick, which can be used to move up in the NFL Draft in search of the team’s quarterback of the future.

It’s hard to disagree with Breer. The team and Taylor were on the outs, and the fact that the team landed a presumably solid starter, save money and acquire draft capital in the process can only be viewed as a win.

Here’s more with the Bills:

Bills Notes post (bulleted)

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane said they are now in the range of Top 15 prospects, and “it’s not necessarily quarterback,” ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets. Though the team could definitely stand to upgrade at multiple positions, it’s had to see the team passing on one of the top quarterbacks should they fall.
  • With all the team’s assets, the general consensus is that the team will attempt to move up in the draft. That fact is not lost on Beane, who said via WKBW’s Joe Buscaglia (Twitter link): “Everybody assumes that we’re going to go higher [in the draft]… I don’t know that yet.” It’s not surprising that he doesn’t know that yet, seeing how the draft is still over a month away. But all the signs still point to some kind of move.
  • One thing is for sure, the team will not be adding many more impact free agents. From Rodak (via Twitter), Beane said, “We’re very low on money. We can do some lower-level things, but nothing that’s going to hit the ticker.” If they want impact players, the Bills will more than likely have to address it in April.

Contract Details: McCarron, Green, Jones, Bushrod, Davis

Let’s take a look at the details from the latest contracts signed in the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

  • A.J. McCarron, QB (Bills): Two years, $10MM. $3MM in 2018, $7MM in 2019. $1.1MM of ’19 salary guaranteed for injury. 2019 salary fully guaranteed on Day 5 of 2019 league year. Bills would incur $2MM dead-money charge by cutting McCarron after one season (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com).
  • DaQuan Jones, DE (Titans): Three years, $21MM, $14MM fully guaranteed at signing. $6MM base salary for 2019 fully guaranteed (per Caplan).
  • Virgil Green, TE (Chargers): Three years, $8.6MM, $5.9MM fully guaranteed, which covers the first two years of this deal (per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com, on Twitter).
  • Cody Davis, S (Jaguars): Two years, $5MM, $2.5MM fully guaranteed. Deal contains option bonus due 22 days before the start of the 2019 league year (via Caplan).
  • Jermon Bushrod, OL (Saints): One-year deal (via Herbie Teope of NOLA.com)

Bills To Sign A.J. McCarron

The Bills have signed A.J. McCarron, per a team announcement. It’s a two-year deal for the former Bengals signal caller. ProFootballTalk.com reports (via Twitter) that it’s a two-year deal worth $10MM, with $6.5MM “upside based on playing time.”

McCarron, for now, projects as the Bills’ new starting quarterback following the trade of Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. The 27-year-old only started three career games playing behind Andy Dalton in Cincinnati, but the quarterback certainly looked capable during his time on the field.

In 11 career games, McCarron has completed 64.7-percent of his passes for 920 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. During his brief starting stint in 2015, the quarterback also compiled 31 rushing yards on 14 carries. That season, McCarron started the Bengals’ playoff loss to the Steelers, throwing for 212 yards, one touchdown, and one pick.

Despite his starting inexperience, McCarron was still one of the top-ranked quarterbacks available in free agency. The Broncos and Cardinals had previously been connected to the former fifth-rounder, but both of those teams ultimately added other players at the position. McCarron was ranked 12th in our list of the top-50 free agents, and he was listed fourth in our positional rankings. Earlier today, Zach Links ranked him as the sixth-best remaining free agent.

The Bills presumably signed McCarron as their starting quarterback next season. Other than the free agent addition, Buffalo is rostering Nathan Peterman.

[RELATED: Bills Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Top 25 Remaining NFL Free Agents

Many of this year’s top free agents came off of the board during the legal tampering period, including Kirk Cousins, Trumaine Johnson, Sammy Watkins, and Allen Robinson. Still plenty of the names from our list of the Top 50 Free Agents remain, including some new additions. Here’s a rundown of the players to keep an eye on as free agency officially begins, ranked roughly by their expected contract value:

1. Ndamukong Suh, DT (Dolphins): The Dolphins bailed on Suh’s mega contract midway through, freeing him up to sign another high-priced contract. He won’t get anything close to a six-year, $114MM deal this time around, but he should settle in at an AAV that keeps him among the best compensated players at his position. Last year, Pro Football Focus ranked Suh fifth among 122 interior defenders. 

2. Tyrann Mathieu, S (Cardinals): The Cardinals worked feverishly to hammer out a new contract with the Honey Badger, but the two sides could not come to terms on a deal to lessen his 2018 cap hit. He has been released, allowing him to hit free agency as the best safety available. The Jets are not believed to be interested, despite his connection with head coach Todd Bowles. The other tenant of the Meadowlands, however, could have interest thanks to the presence of former Arizona DC James Bettcher.

3. Sheldon Richardson, DT (Seahawks): Richardson may have lost some luster following the trade that sent him from the Jets to the Seahawks, but he among the best defensive tackles currently available. With plenty of cap space remaining, Richardson should find a lucrative deal, though it probably won’t come from Seattle. Our own Dallas Robinson estimates that Richardson will fetch about $9MM/year.

4. Dontari Poe, DT (Falcons): Poe missed out on a big payday last year when teams shied away from him due to lingering back issues. After turning in his second consecutive 16-game season, things could be different this time. For the record – Poe has missed only two regular season games over the course of his career, so he boasts a better attendance record than a lot of other veterans on this list. He’s unlikely to circle back to Atlanta.

5. Josh Sitton, G (Bears): With Andrew Norwell off of the board, Sitton stands as the best guard on the market. He’s missed six games over the last two years, but he has four Pro Bowl appearances to his credit. He’s set to meet with the Dolphins.

6. A.J. McCarron, QB (Bengals): It’s difficult to peg McCarron’s value heading into free agency. Outside of some quality starts in 2015, there isn’t much film out there on McCarron, despite that fact that he has spent four years in the NFL. Hue Jackson was itching to reunite with McCarron, but the Browns no longer seem a likely destination for him after the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor. It’s also hard to see him landing with the QB-needy Jets after they re-signed Josh McCown and added Teddy Bridgewater. McCarron will find a home, but it may not be as a starter. [UPDATE: McCarron has signed with the Bills]

7. E.J. Gaines, CB (Bills): Injuries in the fall limited Gaines to just 11 games last season, but he proved to be a quality return for the Bills in the Watkins trade, in addition to the second-round pick that came with him. Gaines graded out as the No. 13 cornerback in the league last year, per PFF, and he just turned 26 in February. Gaines missed all of ’15 due to injury and didn’t look all that sharp in ’16, but timing is everything in free agency. You can expect multiple teams to call on him and the Texans could still have interest, even after inking Aaron Colvin.

8. Eric Reid, S (49ers): Reid is just 26 and is undoubtedly a starting quality safety. He has both youth and versatility on his side, but it’s possible that his anthem protest participation could hurt him when it comes to some suitors. Injuries over the last two seasons will hurt his market as well.

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McCarron Possible Broncos Backup Plan?

A Kirk Cousins-to-Denver path has lost some steam over the past week or so, and although nothing’s been decided yet, the Broncos appear to have multiple contingency plans.

Having been linked to Case Keenum throughout the offseason, the Broncos may now have A.J. McCarron on their radar. McCarron could be a target for the Broncos if Cousins signs elsewhere, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (Twitter link).

The obvious connection here would be McCarron and Vance Joseph, a former Bengals defensive backs coach during part of the quarterback’s time in Cincinnati. While McCarron could be seen as a mid-tier option on this quarterback market, he figures to receive a chance somewhere since several teams are going after Cousins and the runners-up will need backup plans.

Based on his game inexperience, McCarron profiles as a buyer-beware option. He did play well in an overtime loss in Denver in 2015 while Andy Dalton was out, but Brock Osweiler outplayed him that night. And the latter is not believed to be a consideration for the Broncos as a possible Week 1 starter.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reaction To Browns Trades

In a span of less than two hours on Friday, the Browns completely retooled their offense and added a piece to their secondary by acquiring Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor and Damarious Randall from the Dolphins, Bills and Packers respectively.

The flurry of moves drastically improves the teams offense and provides a veteran stopgap quarterback — assuming no longterm deal is made — that can bridge to the signal-caller the team is presumably going to tab with one of its two first-round picks.

Leaving Cleveland was 2017 second-round pick DeShone Kizer, who was sent to Green Bay in the Randall deal. The teams also agreed to swap fourth- and fifth-round picks in the upcoming draft. For Landry, the Browns only parted with a 2018 fourth-round pick (No. 123) and 2019 seventh-round selection. In the Taylor deal, Cleveland sent one of its third-round picks (No. 65) in exchange for the turnover-averse passer.

These deals can not be officially completed until Wednesday, the first day of the 2018 season.

Here’s more on Cleveland’s busy day:

  • The Browns do not have a long-term deal in place for Landry at the moment but both sides are interested, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweets. Jackson also notes (Twitter link) that Landry likes the situation in Cleveland and is excited to work with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
  • Sticking with Landry, the Ravens, Titans and Jets were all involved in talks for the receiver late this week before the Browns landed him, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets. The Ravens were widely reported as suitors for the dynamic slot receiver, but both the Jets and Titans flew under the radar.
  • ESPN’s Pat McManamon believes the trade of Kizer and the acquisition of Taylor emphasizes the Browns believe in one of the quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. He writes the plan is for Taylor to hold the spot in 2018 and let the drafted passer take the role in 2019.
  • Several other teams were interested in adding Taylor, including the Cardinals and Broncos, the Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci reports (Twitter link). Both teams were not willing to meet the Browns’ offer of a third-round pick. Kent Somers of AZ Central Sports, however, hears that the Cardinals were not involved in talks for the quarterback (Twitter link).
  • Heavily linked with Cleveland due to his ties with head coach Hue Jackson, A.J. McCarron will have to find a new suitor. ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link) noted the obvious candidates — Arizona, Denver and now Buffalo — as potential landing spots for the former Alabama signal-caller.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents For 2018 1.0

There will be tons of free agents available in March, but only a some of them can be real difference makers for your favorite team. To help separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve assembled our early list of the Top 50 NFL Free Agents for 2018.

Our early version of the NFL’s top 50 free agents may include players who will be re-signed between now and March 14. When we update this list next week, a few of the big names will be spoken for while new high-profile names will join the fray as veterans become cap casualties.

Recently, we broke down the top free agents by position on both offense and defense, but our rankings below may not have each player listed in the same order. Those position lists took the short-term value of a player into account more heavily, meaning many players in their 30s received prominent placement. Our overall top 50 list favors longer-term value, and is more about forecasting which players will be in highest demand when it comes to years and dollars.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2018:

1. Kirk Cousins, QB (Redskins): At long last, Kirk Cousins is headed towards unrestricted free agency. You may or may not regard Cousins as a star, but he is the best quarterback in recent history to reach the open market and QB-needy teams will be rolling out the red carpet for him. The Jets, Vikings, Broncos, and Cardinals have been named as the top suitors for his services, but the NFL is full of surprises this time of year and we would not be surprised to see other teams get involved. The cash-flush Browns are reportedly keen on signing a lower-cost vet and drafting a QB early, but who’s to say they won’t change course and get in on the Cousins sweepstakes? The Bills, Giants, Dolphins, Bucs, and Colts could also consider kicking the tires here, but there are obstacles in that bunch ranging from established starters already in place (Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, and Andrew Luck) to financial constraints. No matter where he goes, it’s almost certain that Cousins will become the league’s highest-paid player of all-time. That is, until another top-tier QB signs a contract extension soon after.

2. Drew Brees (Saints): There are multiple possibilities for Cousins but it’s hard to see a scenario in which Brees actually leaves the Saints. Brees has already said that he does not plan on testing free agency, so he’ll likely put pen to paper before things begin on March 14. As far as we can tell, the only way Brees will think about leaving is if he is lowballed to an extreme degree by the Saints, but that seems improbable based on his history with the team

3. Case Keenum (Vikings): One year ago, no one ever would have expected Keenum to be one of 2018’s most sought-after free agents. The Vikings signed the former Rams signal caller to a one-year, $2MM deal in March with the idea that he would back up Sam Bradford and, eventually slide down to third on the depth chart when/if Teddy Bridgewater returned to full health. When Bradford went down in September, Keenum exceeded all expectations and put together the best season of his career. The 30-year-old graded out as Pro Football Focus’ ninth-ranked QB in 2017, putting him above the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota, Matthew Stafford, and Tyrod Taylor. With Keenum at the helm, the Vikings earned a first-round bye and beat the Saints in a playoff thriller before succumbing to the Eagles in the NFC championship game. Of course, after four seasons of mediocrity, teams are wondering whether this was an aberration or a real sign of things to come. Teams know that Keenum is not a lock, but he’s also the best Plan B for any team that loses out on Cousins or doesn’t have the means to sign him.

4. Andrew Norwell, G (Panthers): There was a time when tackles were the only offensive linemen to really cash in on the open market. That’s no longer the case, as evidenced by the contracts of Kevin Zeitler (five years, $60MM) and Kelechi Osemele (five years, $58.5MM). Osemele inked his free agent deal with the Raiders in 2016 and Zeitler signed his in the 2017 offseason. Given the cap increase and the natural progression of the market, Norwell figures to reset the market for interior linemen. Keenum figures to gross no less than $20MM/year on his next contract, so he’s slotted behind him, but an average annual value of $13-14MM is not out of the question for the former undrafted free agent.

5. Nate Solder, OT (Patriots): Solder isn’t coming off of his best season and he might be the least sexy name in the top ten. Still, there’s a dearth of tackles league-wide and Solder has been among the league’s best at his position for quite some time. The Patriots are bracing for Solder to leave as they fear he’ll garner offers of $12MM/year. No other tackle in this year’s free agent crop is even close to him in terms of ability, so we’re also buying into the hype. Injuries contributed to Solder’s up-and-down season, particularly early on, so teams will take that into account when evaluating him.

6. Allen Robinson, WR (Jaguars): The Jaguars opted against using the franchise tag on Robinson, which is understandable since they have limited cap space. Robinson missed almost all of 2017 with an ACL tear, but his 2015 season (and even his so-so 2016 campaign) gives teams reason to believe that he can be a quality WR1. Robinson is one of only two such players on the unrestricted market, so expect him to get paid. Robinson probably couldn’t do worse than Kenny Britt‘s four-year, $32MM deal with the Browns from last season (and he should do a whole lot better), but if he is underwhelmed by the multi-year offers he receives, he could always go the Alshon Jeffery route. Jeffery inked a one-year, $9.5MM prove-it deal with the Eagles and that turned out to be a smashing success for both parties. Jeffery was rewarded with a four-year, $52MM extension in December, so Robinson’s camp will surely be open to a pillow contract if necessary. 

7. Sammy Watkins, WR (Rams): Some may view Robinson and Watkins as 1A and 1B in this year’s wide receiver class, particularly since Robinson missed all of 2017 and Watkins, despite his own injury history, played in all but one of the Rams’ games. Unfortunately, Watkins did not have the platform year he was hoping for as he caught just 39 passes for 593 yards. If we strike Robinson’s lost year and Watkins’ down year from the record, the breakdown favors the Jags receiver – Robinson averaged 77 receptions for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns per 16 games in that set versus Watkins’ 66 grabs for 1,063 yards and seven scores. These two should come pretty close in average annual value, but we give the edge to Robinson.

8. Trumaine Johnson, CB (Rams): Players often bemoan the franchise tag, but Johnson can’t really complain after receiving two consecutive tags from the Rams and earning more than $30MM between 2016 and 2017. The Rams, rightfully, did not consider a third consecutive tag for Johnson at a cost of ~$20MM and they already have his replacement in Marcus Peters. That’s one suitor down, but plenty of other teams will be eager to speak with Johnson, who profiles as the best cornerback in a deep class.

9. Sheldon Richardson, DT (Seahawks): Richardson gave the Jets lots of headaches, but he also gave them high-end production. He didn’t quite match that production in Seattle, but Richardson is positioned for a massive payday anyway since impactful defensive linemen are at a premium. Our own Dallas Robinson estimates that Richardson will garner about $9MM/year, but I would say that is his floor. The top-end of free agency rarely yields team-friendly deals, so Richardson could easily creep into eight figures in AAV, particularly since he does not turn 28 until November.

10. Dontari Poe, DT (Falcons): Poe thought he was in for a monster contract last offseason, but concerns about his lingering back issues forced him to take a one-year, $8MM deal with Atlanta. Teams may still worry about his back being a ticking time bomb, but perhaps they’ll view him in a different light now that he has played back-to-back 16 game seasons and has only missed two regular season contests over the course of his career.

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Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:


  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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Peter King On Browns, McCarron, Tannehill

Here’s the latest from Peter King of The MMQB:

  • The Browns have four picks in the top 35 of this year’s draft, but coach Hue Jackson is still pushing for the team to acquire A.J. McCarron, King hears. If the team does go for McCarron in March, the plan would be for the team to also draft a rookie quarterback to be groomed behind him. The Browns, of course, nearly landed McCarron before last year’s trade deadline before a paperwork snag tanked the deal. One has to wonder if McCarron would be skeptical about the Browns’ level of commitment to him in such a scenario, particularly after seeing how Mike Glennon‘s arrangement worked out with the Bears. Then again, McCarron might be faced with a similar scenario with any team that shows interest him.
  • It has been said that the Dolphins are committed to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback, but King is not convinced after speaking with executives at the combine. Miami is look at QBs at No. 11 overall and several people who spoke with King believe they’ll select a signal caller there. Tannehill has missed the last 19 Dolphins games with back-to-back ACL tears.
  • After speaking with several GMs, scouts, and coaches, this is King’s rough consensus for the top ten player’s in the draft: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, USC quarterback Sam Darnold, North Carolina State edge rusher Bradley Chubb, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward, and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.

QB Notes: Brees, McCarron, Winston

Last offseason, the Bengals offered quarterback AJ McCarron to the Jets. The team ultimately declined the trade, but ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini believes the organization could have more interest in the free agent this offseason.

The writer believes McCarron is the team’s backup plan to Kirk Cousins, and he anticipates that the 2014 fifth-rounder will receive a deal that exceeds Mike Glennon‘s three-year, $45MM contract ($18.5MM guaranteed) from last year. Ultimately, considering the Jets would have to invest in a quarterback with only three career starts, Cimini believes the team would be better off rolling with Josh McCown for another season.

Let’s take a look at some more quarterback notes from around the NFL…

  • March 14th is essentially the deadline for the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees to come to an agreement on a new contract, writes ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano. The final three seasons of the veteran’s contract will void on that day, and if they wish to keep Brees for another season, they’d be required to tolerate his salary and his “$18 million worth of signing bonus prorated on this year’s salary cap.”
  • Meanwhile, Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com says if Brees ends up reaching free agency, the Browns could be a serious suitor. The team is rostering a talented wideout in Josh Gordon and a veteran tackle in Joe Thomas, and they’re armed with $110MM in cap space and several alluring draft picks. While Brees may not want to consider an organization that just completed a winless season, the writer believes a one-year, $50MM might not be out of the question.
  • Until he inks a new deal, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com will continue to regard Brees as the top free agent quarterback. The writer rounds out his list of the top signal-callers with Cousins, Case Keenum, McCarron, and Sam Bradford.
  • Jameis Winston will surely receive a hefty payday from the Buccaneers, but Rick Stroud of TampaBay.com wonders if the new deal “will cost the Bucs more than money.” Considering the type of deal Winston will sign, the writer wonders if the contract could limit the organization’s ability to extend several of their young core players. As a result, Stroud believes the team should make it a priority to sign receiver Mike Evans, center Ali Marpet, tackle Donovan Smith and linebacker Kwon Alexander to new deals as soon as possible.