Adrian Amos

North Notes: Green, Bears, Mack, Steelers

A.J. Green is entering the final season of a four-year, $60MM contract. He is also coming off another injury-shortened slate, with a toe malady cutting it short. Bengals owner Mike Brown said earlier this year he would be interested in Green staying in Cincinnati on another deal. Green expressed the same sentiment over the weekend.

Cincinnati is home for me,” Green said, via FOX 19 in Cincinnati (video link). “I’ve been here nine years. This is home as much as South Carolina. All I know is Cincinnati. I can’t see myself playing anywhere else or playing in a different city. Hopefully I can be here for a couple more years, so we’ll see on that part.”

Green is entering his age-31 season and has missed 13 games over the past three years, but the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has proven to be one of the best players in Bengals history. The Bengals extended two other cornerstones last year, in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, and Brown called the wideout a “proven commodity” earlier this year. No known talks have commenced between Green and Bengals. The receiver also said, via FOX 19, he has been cleared from the toe surgery he underwent in December. It is not certain if he will participate in Cincinnati’s minicamp next week.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • During the 2018 Khalil Mack pursuit, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy began calling their Raiders counterparts (Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden) about the All-Pro edge defender once training camp began last year. But the Bears’ prevailing thought as of late July 2018 was, in the words of player personnel director Josh Lucas, “What are we doing? They’re not going to trade this guy,” Lucas said (via J.J. Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago). But shortly before Chicago’s final preseason game — which occurred a day after the Aaron Donald extension, and as the Raiders’ patience with Mack was running out — Bears brass were told to submit their best offer. That proposal (a package fronted by two first-round picks and a third-rounder) won out. “I think we had an advantage because they wanted him to get out of the AFC, so being an NFC team, I think we had a pretty good chance,” Lucas said. “I don’t think the Raiders thought we were going to be any good last year, so they wanted our first-round pick. So I think that played a part of it.
  • After Adrian Amos and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix started the 2018 season as Bears and Packers safeties, the respective back-line defenders switched cities this year. Clearly on a roll at the Bears100 Celebration this week, Lucas added (via Stankevitz, on Twitter) the Bears consistently graded Clinton-Dix as superior to Amos. Pro Football Focus would disagree with the Bears’ assessment, particularly in 2017 (when the site gave Amos a 90.9 grade and Clinton-Dix a 71.5 mark). The Bears also landed Clinton-Dix for far cheaper (one year, $3MM) than the deal the Packers gave Amos (four years, $36MM), pointing to other teams sharing PFF’s view.
  • Sean Davis switched agents in advance of his contract year, moving from MBK sports management to Drew Rosenhaus, the safety confirmed (via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Davis said no extension talks have occurred between he and the Steelers and noted the safety market’s 2019 explosion as a reason he may bet on himself this season. “I just felt like I needed a change,” Davis said, via Fittipaldo, of switching from Eugene Lee to Rosenhaus. “Drew is a top agent, man. … The safety market went up this year. That puts a little more pressure on me to get the job done and to compete for those contracts.” After faring better as a free safety than he did at the strong safety spot in 2017, Davis will remain there this season.

Contract Details: Amos, Patterson, Carpenter, Brown

Let’s take a look at the details of a few freshly-signed contracts:

Packers To Sign Adrian Amos, Za’Darius Smith

This year, the Packers were serious about making noise in free agency. On Tuesday morning, they agreed to sign safety Adrian Amos, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The club also agreed to terms with former Ravens edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). 

Amos is getting a four-year deal worth $37MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport notes that it’ll pay him $21MM over the first two years. He was reported to have been seeking between $9-10MM annually, so he got what he wanted.

Amos, 26 in April, enjoyed the best season of his career at the perfect time. Starting in all 16 games, Amos finished out with 73 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defensed, a fumble recovery, and a sack in 2018. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus positioned Amos as the eighth-best safety in the NFL last year, though he placed even higher in 2017.

Smith has been an object of the Packers’ affection for some time now. A few years ago, they tried to trade for the former fourth-round pick. Years later, they got him, albeit at a bit of a premium. The 26-year-old (27 in September), also timed his breakout season well. Last year, the edge rusher finished out with 8.5 sacks and 45 tackles despite starting in only eight of his 16 games.

With these two signings, the Packers have managed to close the gap between themselves and the Lions, who spent some serious coin on Monday. They also stole Amos away from the rival Bears, who were hoping to retain him. Thanks to his link to new Broncos coach Vic Fangio, Amos had been heavily linked to Denver, but ultimately it was Green Bay who won the bidding. Amos was a bit unheralded coming out of college, and was a fifth round pick out of Penn State back in 2015. He became a near immediate starter, and this is a big loss for the Bears’ elite defense.

With the signing of Buster Skrine and the expected departure of Bryce Callahan, Chicago’s secondary will look quite a bit different next year. Smith is the latest in a series of departures from the Ravens’ defense, with linebackers C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs, along with safety Eric Weddle, all finding new homes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Mathieu, Texans, Bucs, Bennett, Bears

It sounds like the Texans tried to keep Tyrann Mathieu before he ultimately signed with the Chiefs. Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo tweets that Houston offered the safety a long-term deal that would have paid him around $9.5MM per season.

The reporter notes that the Texans and Chiefs were bidding for Mathieu until the end, and Houston’s final offer was close to Kansas City’s. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes that the organization was (and, presumably, is) “willing to spend liberally” on a veteran safety, and both general manager Brian Gaine and coach Bill O’Brien wanted to keep Mathieu.

The safety ended up inking a three years worth $42MM with the Chiefs. The Texans have reportedly shifted their focus to other safeties, including Earl Thomas.

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

  • Besides a safety, McClain notes that the Texans are also hunting for a pass-rushing “inside player.” The team could ultimately look towards the draft if nothing solidifies during free agency.
  • The Buccaneers reached out to linebacker Deone Bucannon, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 26-year-old had spent his entire career with the Cardinals, and he started all of his 41 games between 2015 and 2017. He took a bit of a step back in 2018, compiling 38 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 13 games (six starts). The linebacker played with new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during their stints in Arizona.
  • Following the Patriots‘ acquisition of Michael Bennett, there were some rumblings that his brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, would come out of retirement and return to New England. However, the Patriots’ new acquisition poured some water on the rumors this evening, saying that the whispers of Martellus coming out of retirement were “fake news” (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). After winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2016, the tight end split the 2017 season between New England and Green Bay.
  • The Bears are expecting a pair of defensive backs to go elsewhere this offseason. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that safety Adrian Amos is “close to having a deal in place elsewhere,” and it sounds like the team is already eyeing potential replacements. Meanwhile, Biggs notes that cornerback Bryce Callahan won’t be back with the Bears after they signed veteran Buster Skrine.
  • Before agreeing to a deal with the Broncos, safety Kareem Jackson was hoping he’d be back in Houston. However, the veteran didn’t receive a whole lot of interest from the Texans, leading to the player feeling “a little disrespected.” “They didn’t even approach me with an offer or any type of deal,” Jackson told Mark Berman of KRIV (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, they didn’t want me back or whatever the case may be. I’m not really sure. My agent was never approached by anybody from the Texans organization, so I wasn’t offered a deal of any sort. I kind of feel a little disrespected to be honest about it. At the end of the day, no hard feelings. I had a great nine years here. This will always be home for me. I definitely appreciate all the memories and all the opportunities. I appreciate the fans and everything I was able to build here. I’ll always have love for Houston.”

Broncos Rumors: Amos, Barrett, Paradis, James

Here’s the latest on the Broncos, with all links going to Troy Renck of Denver7’s Twitter:

La Canfora’s Latest: Mathieu, Ravens, Bucs

While the Texans are attempting to retain Tyrann Mathieu, both the Ravens and Buccaneers have “serious interest” in the veteran defensive back, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Baltimore just released fellow safety Eric Weddle on Tuesday, while Tampa Bay has been in need of secondary help for years. Mathieu inked a one-year, $7MM deal with Houston last year, but he’s expected to receive a significant raise on his next contract. Per La Canfora, Mathieu should be able to collect $24MM over the first two years of a new deal.

Here’s more from JLC:

  • Overall, the safety market is not expected to be as depressed as it was a year ago, when Mathieu, Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, and others were forced to settle for one-year pacts. Earl Thomas will set the market and is asking for $13MM annually, per La Canfora. Meanwhile, former Giants safety Landon Collins — now on the market after New York declined to franchise him — will likely come in below Thomas, and Bears defender Adrian Amos is searching for $9-10MM per year.
  • While there aren’t any clear-cut, No. 1 wideouts available this offseason, slot receivers are aplenty, and they should get paid, says JLC. Golden Tate is looking for $13MM per season, while Adam Humphries may be targeting $10MM annually and has already been deemed too expensive to return to the Buccaneers. Cole Beasley could also get $10MM per year, while John Brown wants $8-9MM per season.
  • Offensive tackle Daryl Williams is expected to reach the open market, and La Canfora reports Williams’ price has already “soared” above where the Panthers are comfortable paying. Both the Bills and Giants are expected to target Williams, and both connections make sense. Buffalo employs former Carolina staffer Brandon Beane as its general manager, while ex-Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is in charge in New York.
  • The Raiders have already been mentioned as a potential suitor for Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams, and the Colts could also join the fray, per La Canfora. Williams is expected to earn more than $12MM per year on his new deal.

Adrian Amos In Talks With Bears

This year, Adrian Amos profiles as one of the best safeties available in free agency. Ideally, the Bears would like to keep him from the open market, and they’ve opened up talks with 25-year-old to try and keep him in the fold. 

At this point it’s really the waiting game. I want to be back in Chicago. Chicago has been talking back and forth, they want me back,” Amos told SiriusXM. “But we’ll see how things shake out. Nothing is certain right now. It’s still a little early. Over the next couple weeks, I guess we’ll find out a lot more.”

Amos, 26 in April, enjoyed the best season of his career at the perfect time. Starting in all 16 games, Amos finished out with 73 tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defensed, a fumble recovery, and a sack. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus positioned Amos as the eighth-best safety in the NFL last year, though he placed even higher in 2017.

For his part, Amos says he’d like to return to Chicago.

I would like to be back, but the business part of it, it’s complicated sometimes,” Amos said. “Things still could happen, but I have to be prepared for all scenarios. I’m not writing anything off and that was the team I was drafted to as well. There could be a chance that I’m back and there could be a chance I’m anywhere. That’s the crazy thing about this situation where my contract’s up so anything could really happen. I’m just sitting back and really waiting to see what happens.”

Meanwhile, he also recognizes that the Broncos would be a good fit now that his former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is Denver’s new head coach.

I don’t know, but obviously that would be a fit where I know the defense and things like that,” Amos said. “But it’s not something that I’m pinpointing like, ‘Hey, I want to go there,’ or anything like that. I’m just keeping all options open. First and foremost, I’m a Bear right now, so that’s a main focus early on. But if that doesn’t work out, then I have to explore what team fits me best, what team gives me the best opportunity to take care of my family as well as progress on the football field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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. 

Bears Sign Three Draft Picks

The Bears have historically moved quickly to sign their draft picks, and this year is no different. The latest deals out of Chicago..

  • The Bears agreed to terms on four-year contract with fourth-round pick Jeremy Langford, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com (on Twitter). The running back out of Michigan State rushed for a career-high 1,522 yards last season and tied the school record with 22 rushing touchdowns.
  • The Bears have agreed to terms with fifth-round pick Adrian Amos on a four-year contract, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com tweets. The safety out of Penn State will earn $2.512MM over the course of the deal with a $232K signing bonus, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets.
  • The Bears and tackle Tayo Fabuluje have agreed to terms on a deal, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Recently, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune caught up with TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who raved about the young talent. Patterson says that Fabuluje will be a steal for Chicago if he maintains a relatively low weight.

Draft Notes: Goldman, Ravens, Washington

As the draft approaches, many prospects will be invited to team’s local prospect days for an opportunity to display their talents. The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson has collected a bunch of those workout notes, which we’ve collected for you below…

  • Florida State defensive lineman Eddie Goldman will be meeting with the Jaguars. The projected late first-round pick will also meet with a variety of other teams (Twitter link).
  • Penn State safety Adrian Amos was invited to the Ravens local prospect day. He had a private workout with Chip Kelly and the Eagles earlier this week (Twitter link).
  • Delaware linebacker David Mackall has also been invited to the Ravens local prospect day. The former Maryland transfer finished last season with 84 tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery (Twitter link).
  • Wake Forest wideout E.J. Scott was invited to the Ravens local prospect day. The fifth-year senior finished 2014 with 50 catches for 513 yards and four touchdowns (Twitter link).
  • Maryland linebacker Cole Farrand was also invited to the Ravens local prospect day. The All-Big Ten honorable-mention finished last season with 118 tackles last season, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries (Twitter link).
  • Bowie State tight end Khari Lee has been invited to the Ravens local prospect day. Lee already worked out for 24 teams during his pro day (Twitter link).
  • New Mexico running back Crusoe Gongbay has been invited to Washington‘s local prospect day. The senior ran for 354 yards and three touchdowns last season (Twitter link).
  • Stony Brook receiver Adrian Coxson will attend Washington‘s local prospect day. The Maryland transfer previously attended the Jets and Giants local pro days (Twitter link).
  • West Georgia quarterback Austin Trainor has Pro Days with the Buccaneers, Raiders and 49ers. The signal-caller went undrafted during last year’s draft (Twitter link).