Aaron Colvin

Contract Details: Colvin, Saints, Thompson

Details on a couple of recent NFL deals (Twitter link via ESPN’s Field Yates unless otherwise specified):

  • Aaron Colvin, CB (Redskins): One year. Veteran salary benefit. $910K base salary, $137.5K signing bonus.
  • Ty Montgomery, RB (Saints): One year. Veteran salary benefit. $910K base salary, $137.5K signing bonus.
  • Patrick Omameh, OL (Saints): One year. Veteran salary benefit. $1.05MM base salary, $137.5K signing bonus.
  • Chris Thompson, RB (Jaguars): One year. $1.05MM base salary. $250K signing bonus, $100K available in roster bonuses.

Redskins Re-Sign CB Aaron Colvin

Aaron Colvin will be back in Washington for another season. The Redskins announced today that they’ve re-signed the cornerback.

The 28-year-old started the 2019 season with the Texans, but he was released after allowing a key catch to Ted Ginn Jr. during Houston’s Week 1 loss to the Saints. Colvin subsequently signed with the Redskins, and he proceeded to appear in six games (two starts) for his new team, compiling 10 tackles and two passes defended.

The 2014 fourth-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jaguars, including a 2015 campaign where he started a career-high 15 games. Colvin signed a four-year, $34MM contract (including $18MM guaranteed) with the Texans prior to the 2018 campaign.

Washington’s secondary will look a whole lot different next season, as both Quinton Dunbar and Josh Norman are gone. The Redskins brought in Ronald Darby and Kendall Fuller to take their place, and they can also turn to Colvin and former third-rounder Fabian Moreau.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Mariota, Moncrief, Colvin, Garrett

After an ugly loss to the Jaguars this past Thursday, Mike Vrabel said that the Titans are not considering a quarterback change at this time.

Marcus Mariota, who has been struggling this season, may have cleared 300 yards against the Jaguars, but his performance was underwhelming for the majority of the game. On the season, Mariota is averaging career-low marks in completion rate (61%) and QBR (38) despite being surrounded with arguably the most talented supporting cast of his career.

In fairness to the ex-Oregon star, Mariota has been sacked more times than anyone in league history through the first three weeks of the season. Still, the Titans offense has been dreadful, having scored just seven points in their last 79 minutes of play dating back to Week 2 against the Colts.

Ryan Tannehill, who was traded to the Titans this past spring, figures to get a chance under center sooner rather than later if Mariota continues to struggle.

Heres more from the AFC:

  • The Steelers started the season with high hopes for new receiver Donte Moncrief, but after he dropped five passes in the first two games, Mike Tomlin is benching him for Sunday afternoon’s Week 3 game against the 49ers. Moncrief signed a two-year, $9MM deal with the Steelers back in March. Moncrief’s absence likely means an increased role for second-year wide receiver James Washington.
  • The Texans will carry less dead money against their salary cap because Aaron Colvin signed with Washington after his $34MM contract was terminated by the organization. Colvin signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with Washington at an $805k rate. Because his contract contained offset language, Colvin is now due $6.742MM from the Texans, less than his guaranteed $7.5MM base salary for the season. Colvin, cut for performance issues after a rocky first season last year and a tough start to this year, has a $2MM cap charge in 2020 for the pro-rated portion of his $4MM signing bonus.
  • The NFL fined Myles Garrett $21,056k for each of his two roughing the passer penalties on Monday night in the Browns‘ victory against the Jets. The second penalty injured Trevor Siemian’s ankle, which ultimately ended his season“You do not want to put anybody out for the season,” Garrett said following the win. “That is their job. That is something that you do not do unless you love it, and you do not want to take that away from anybody. I hope [Siemian] comes back faster and stronger than he ever has. I wish the best for him.” Garrett was also fined $10,527k in Week 1 for hitting Delanie Walker in the face mask.

Redskins To Sign CB Aaron Colvin

Days after the Texans released Aaron Colvin, the veteran cornerback will land in Washington. The Redskins and Colvin agreed to terms, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

Best known for being the slot corner on the dominant 2017 Jaguars’ defense, Colvin struggled in Houston. The Texans benched him last season and cut him after Monday night’s loss, doing so despite his $7MM-plus salary being guaranteed for this season.

The Texans opted to play off coverage on a play that ended up getting the Saints into lengthy field goal range, with Colvin giving up a pivotal Drew Brees-to-Ted Ginn completion. Wil Lutz made a 58-yard field goal to down the Texans, who terminated Colvin’s four-year, $34MM contract the next day.

Colvin, who will turn 28 next month, has started 28 games in his five-plus-year career. The Redskins have Josh Norman in the fourth year of his mammoth contract, along with Quinton Dunbar and slot corner Fabian Moreau. Both Dunbar and Moreau are dealing with injuries going into Week 2. Moreau is doubtful to face the Cowboys, helping to explain Washington’s quick move to add an experienced slot cover man.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Release Aaron Colvin, Sign Phillip Gaines

In the wake of Monday night’s heartbreaking loss, the Texans are making a surprising move. Houston is releasing veteran cornerback Aaron Colvin, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

In a corresponding roster move the team signed fellow corner Phillip Gaines to a one-year deal, according to a tweet from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The Texans are taking a massive financial loss by cutting Colvin right now. Just last March, they signed him to a four-year, $34MM deal with $18MM in guaranteed money. As Schefter pointed out, he still had a $7.5MM guaranteed salary for 2019 which Houston will now be eating.

Colvin originally entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Jaguars back in 2014. After spending his first four years in Jacksonville, he landed the massive deal from his former AFC South rivals. The marriage was never a good fit from the start, and it was clear right away there were problems.

Colvin started only two games last year, and also missed time with an ankle injury. He started last night’s game against the Saints and that was apparently the final straw as Houston’s secondary struggled to contain Drew Brees. The Texans have been sniffing around for cornerback help for a while and have now settled on Gaines, a 2014 third-round pick of the Chiefs.

After four years in Kansas City, Gaines started six games for the Bills last year and also spent some time with the Browns. Colvin thrived as a nickel corner in Jacksonville, and should draw significant interest on the open market, albeit at a much cheaper price. As Adam Caplan of Sirius XM points out in a tweet, longtime Texan Johnathan Joseph and fellow starter Bradley Roby are both in the final year of their deals, so Houston’s secondary could look quite a bit different in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans’ Aaron Colvin Could Be Done For Year

Texans cornerback Aaron Colvin could be done for the year after suffering a serious ankle injury, coach Bill O’Brien told reporters (link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle). O’Brien is hopeful that Colvin could return later on this season, but nothing is definitive at this time. 

For however long Colvin is out, the Texans can turn to Shareece Wright to start opposite of Johnathan Joseph. The athletic Kayvon Webster is also an option, provided that he is ready to return from his Achilles injury.

I think Shareece did some good things,” O’Brien said of Wright when asked about his performance against the Colts. “Obviously, like everybody else, there’s some plays that he needs to improve on, but it’s good to have a veteran presence there. He’s a little bit banged up right now and a tough guy.”

If the Texans place Colvin on IR, they’ll have the opportunity to fill his roster spot with another cornerback. Per league rules, players can return from IR after eight weeks, so that may be their best course of action here. In that scenario, Colvin would be eligible to return for the Texans’ Week 13 game against the Browns on Dec. 2.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Sign CB Aaron Colvin

Former Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin is expected to sign a four-year deal with the Texans, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $34MM over the life of the contract, and receives $18MM in guarantees, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link). Colvin ranked as one of our 25 best available free agents available

We had Colvin slotted as the sixth-best cornerback in free agency last week, behind Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Gaines, and Morris Claiborne. Colvin has beaten them all to the punch by agreeing to terms.

Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye were the primary cornerbacks for the Jaguars last year, but Colvin performed well in his own right as a slot cornerback. Last offseason, the Jaguars stole Bouye from the Texans. This offseason, the Texans have flipped the script, to some degree, by signing Colvin.

Colvin looked likely to depart given the financial commitment the Jags made to Bouye and the one they likely will make to Ramsey in the future. For the Texans, this could impact their pursuits of Butler and Gaines. However, with Colvin playing in the slot, the team could still pursue one of those players.

Houston entered the day with $65MM in cap space, and Kareem Jackson is entering the final year of his contract. If necessary, he could be cut with $6MM-plus in savings. So, Colvin may represent the first piece of the puzzle to help a Texans team that may be retooling at corner. Johnathan Joseph, a Houston starter since 2011, is also a UFA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 Free Agents By Position: Defense

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. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These 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, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

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

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Extra Points: Chiefs, Jaguars, Williams

Andy Reid said the Chiefs might not have to choose between Charcandrick West or C.J. Spiller. The team might retain all four of its top running backs, Reid said (via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com).

If we only keep three, then somebody’s going to get a heck of a player,” Reid said of a running back competition fronted by Spencer Ware and rookie Kareem Hunt. “… If we can keep all four, then that’s great.”

This may not be an automatic indication Kansas City plans keep both West and Spiller, and one could well be trade bait since both smaller backs might not make sense as Nos. 3-4 options. The Chiefs signed Ware and West to identical contracts during the 2016 offseason, and West has two years and barely $3MM remaining on his deal. He received the initial crack at replacing Jamaal Charles in 2015 and led the Chiefs in rushing that season with 634 yards (4.0 per carry). He operated as Ware’s backup last season but possesses top-end straight-line speed that could be useful on a team with less backfield depth.

Spiller caught on with the Chiefs in February after being cut by several teams. The former first-round pick is making the league minimum. Kansas City also has veteran fullback Anthony Sherman in line to occupy a roster spot.

The Jaguars’ quarterback situation has become a key topic this week; here’s the latest on that and other key stories as preseason Week 2 winds down.

  • Doug Marrone opened up the Jaguars‘ quarterback competition after Blake Bortles continued to struggle. But Chad Henne looks like he will be the only in-house challenger, with Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union noting Brandon Allen‘s inexperience (zero regular-season snaps) won’t be ideal in Week 1 against a Texans defense that ranked No. 1 last season. O’Halloran anticipates Henne receiving the nod. The Jags are not currently looking at outside options for this job. Allen is a second-year player out of Arkansas.
  • Aaron Colvin has come off the Jags’ Active/PUP list and resumed practicing in team drills for the first time since December 2011, and O’Halloran notes he’s still expected to be the team’s top nickel option. The fourth-year player is slated to line up in the slot inside of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Colvin confirmed he experienced a rehab setback this offseason while recovering from an ankle injury that took more than seven months to heal sufficiently.
  • Brandon Williams is playing like he will come out ahead of recent UFA addition Tramon Williams, although he’s now unlikely to usurp Justin Bethel in the Cardinals‘ competition to see who starts opposite Patrick Peterson this season. Bruce Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com) Williams played “really well” in the Cards’ game against the Bears on Saturday.
  • The Giants will work out offensive lineman Matt Rotheram on Monday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Rotheram has bounced around the league for the past two seasons, residing on the Packers and Lions’ practice squads in 2015 and ’16, respectively. The Lions signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January but cut him earlier this week.
  • Before signing linebacker Kelvin Sheppard to a deal, the Bears worked out fellow ‘backer Michael Scherer, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets.