Akeem Spence

NFC Notes: Seahawks, Austin, Vikings, Spence

The Seahawks released defensive end Cliff Avril with a failed physical designation yesterday, but it doesn’t sound like the decision was an easy one. Speaking with reporters following the first day of rookie minicamp, coach Pete Carroll reflected on the veteran’s impact on the organization.

“He’s been a great leader. He’s been a bit of a statesman for us. He always says the right thing, stands for the right stuff and been a really high character guy that you can always count on,” said Carroll (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson). “A great competitor in the program. I love him and would like to keep him connected with our club as long as we can because he’s just exactly what you hope to represent you. He’s had a great career with us.”

Avril, 32, said he wants to continue his NFL career.

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

  • Speaking of injured Seahawks, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets that safety Kam Chancellor has more neck scans scheduled in June. The veteran landed on the injured reserve last season due to an unspecified neck injury, and reports indicated that the 30-year-old may be forced to retire.
  • The Rams bailed on wideout Tavon Austin, sending him to the Cowboys for a sixth-rounder. While the receiver never lived up to his four-year, $42MM contract, his former organization doesn’t believe his tenure was a failure. “[The deal] was never necessarily to be, hey, a No. 1 receiver,” said general manager Les Snead (via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez). “But he was a weapon for us on special teams and in the offense. He led our team in touchdowns, and he had a lot of special-teams touchdowns called back. He was just a unique weapon on offense.”
  • The Vikings re-signed veteran cornerback Terence Newman last week, and Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune has details on the new deal (via Twitter). The 39-year-old will earn a $1.015MM base salary and a $90K workout bonus. However, there’s no guaranteed money, and the contract accounts for a $720K cap hit.
  • The undisclosed 2019 pick that the Lions acquired from the Dolphins in the Akeem Spence trade is a conditional seventh-rounder, tweets ESPN’s Field Yates. Miami originally acquired the selection in the deal that sent Jarvis Landry to the Browns.

Lions Trade DT Akeem Spence To Dolphins

The Lions have traded defensive tackle Akeem Spence to the Dolphins. The Lions will receive an undisclosed 2019 draft pick in return. 

Spence agreed to rework his contract with Detroit on Thursday morning in a move that made little sense at the time. Now, we know that the contract was adjusted in order to facilitate a trade to Miami.

Spence now joins a revamped Dolphins defensive line that no longer includes Ndamukong Suh. With Spence, Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux, Vincent Taylor and end/tackle William Hayes in the fold, the Dolphins have a solid group in the middle, albeit one with a lot less name recognition.

Last year, Spence had three sacks while playing on the interior and 39 tackles overall. Spence graded out as the 65th best defensive tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus, which portrays him as a solid reserve on the interior defensive line.

The Lions may explore other free agent defensive tackles after dealing Spence. After the departure of Haloti NgataA’Shawn Robinson stands as the only significant holdover from last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Rework Akeem Spence’s Contract

The Lions and defensive tackle Akeem Spence have agreed to a reworked contract, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Spence’s base salary has been rolled back from $3.15MM to $2.575M, though he can bridge the gap through incentives. The adjustments to the deal will give Detroit $500K in cap space. 

As Mike Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets, this is an unexpected move by the Lions. Spence played well in 2017 and earned playing time bonuses that boosted his 2018 salary in the first place.

Spence joined the Lions last year on a three-year, $10.5MM deal. In his first season in Detroit, Spence appeared in every game and made eleven starts at defensive tackle. He finished out with three sacks and 39 total tackles while the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus scored it as his best season to date.

Spence projects to serve as the primary backup at defensive tackle behind starters A’Shawn Robinson and Sylvester Williams. For a complete look at the Lions roster, you can view their depth chart on Roster Resource.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Lang, Jones, Jeffery, Cyprien

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • Free agent guard T.J. Lang will not be visiting the Broncos following the team’s signing of lineman Ronald Leary, tweets Mike Kliss of 9News. The second-best free agent interior lineman still has plenty of suitors, as he’s set to meet with the Lions and Seahawks. The Packers, his former team, also have interest.
  • Had the Cardinals not extended Chandler Jones, the pass rusher would have eaten up over $14MM of spending space as their franchise player in 2017. He’ll instead take up around $10MM of cap room in 2017, tweets Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.
  • Alshon Jeffery‘s one-year, $14MM deal with the Eagles is the largest non-franchise tag one-year pact in NFL history, according to the NFL Media Research Group (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Jeffery’s pact eclipsed Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s one-year, $12MM deal with the Jets.
  • The Jaguars didn’t make a contract offer to strong safety Jonathan Cyprien, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets. After spending four seasons in Jacksonville, the 26-year-old joined the Titans on a four-year, $25MM contract.
  • The Rams‘ release of defensive end Eugene Sims came with a failed physical designation, Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch tweets. The 31-year-old was let go by the team early this morning.
  • Akeem Spence said the Buccaneers expressed interest in bringing him back next season, but the defensive tackle needs a “fresh start,” tweets ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. Spence ultimately inked a three-year, $10.5MM deal with the Lions.
  • Rudy Ford ran a 4.25 at today’s Auburn Pro Day, tweets agent Blake Baratz. The safety was told earlier this week that he wasn’t healthy enough to participate at the combine. Baratz declares Ford “the most underrated prospect in the draft.”

Contract Details: Garcon, Baker, Klein, Jones

Let’s take a look at some details of the free agent contracts signed today:

  • Chris Baker, DL (Buccaneers): Three years, $15.75MM. $9MM guaranteed. $1MM in sack incentives each season (Twitter link via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post).
  • Jack Crawford, DL (Falcons): Three years, $10.3MM. $3.75MM in 2017 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com).
  • Pierre Garcon, WR (49ers): Two years, $23MM. $17MM guaranteed. Options for 2019 ($6MM), 2020 ($8.9MM), and 2021 ($9.6MM) (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Landry Jones, QB (Steelers): Two years, $4.4MM. $600K signing bonus (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com).
  • A.J. Klein, LB (Saints): Four years, $24MM. $4MM signing bonus. $9.4MM guaranteed. 2020 season will void Klein is on Saints roster on last day of 2019 league year (via Nick Underhill of the Advocate).
  • Jeff Locke, P (Colts): Two years, $3.45MM. $1.25MM guaranteed (Twitter links via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com and Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Ryan Mallett, QB (Ravens): One year, $2MM. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Akeem Spence, DL (Lions): Three years, $9MM. $3.5MM guaranteed. $1MM available via escalators (Twitter link via Peliserro).
  • D.J. Swearinger, S (Redskins): Three years, $13.5MM. $9MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Kinkhabwala).

Lions To Sign Akeem Spence, Cornelius Washington

The Lions have agreed to sign defensive lineman Akeem Spence to a three-year, $10.5MM deal, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Detroit has also inked fellow DL Cornelius Washington, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s a two-year, $6MM deal for Washington, with a max value of $8MM, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Spence, 25, has spent the past four seasons in Tampa Bay after being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. He’s started 30 games during that time, but most of those starts came during his rookie campaign. Since then, Spence has become more of a rotational piece. In 2016, Spence appeared in all 16 games, managing 10 tackles and a half sack.

Washington, meanwhile, has been with the Bears for four years. The former sixth-round pick has followed a career path similar to that of Spence, as Washington has mostly served as a depth option in Chicago. Last year, he appeared in 15 games (two starts), and posted 14 tackles and two sacks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2016 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.

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 is projected to be $1.696MM in 2016. 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 2016 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:Keenan Allen (Vertical)

49ers: Gerald Hodges, LB

Bears: Marquess Wilson, WR

Buccaneers: William Gholston, DE; Mike Glennon, QB; Akeem Spence, DT

Cardinals: Andre Ellington, RB; Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S; Alex Okafor, LB

Chargers: Keenan Allen, WR

Colts: Sio Moore, LB; Hugh Thornton, G

Cowboys: J.J. Wilcox, S; Terrance Williams, WR

Dolphins: Jelani Jenkins, LB; Dallas Thomas, T; Dion Sims, TE; Kenny Stills, WR

Eagles: Bennie Logan, DT

Falcons: Kemal Ishmael, S; Levine Toilolo, TE

Jaguars: Josh Evans, S; Dwayne Gratz, CB

Jets: Brian Winters, G

Lions: Larry Warford, G

Packers: David Bakhtiari, T; Micah Hyde, S

Patriots: Duron Harmon, S; Chris Jones, DT; Logan Ryan, CB

Raiders: Mychal Rivera, TE

Rams: T.J. McDonald, S

Ravens: Ricky Wagner, T; Brandon Williams, DT

Saints: Terron Armstead, T; John Jenkins, DT

Seahawks: Luke Willson, TE

Steelers: Markus Wheaton, WR

Titans: Brian Schwenke, C

Washington: Jordan Reed, TE

Bucs Place Akeem Spence On IR

Akeem Spence‘s third season will end with a trip to injured reserve, with the Buccaneers shelving one of their starting defensive tackles, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).

The third-year starter alongside Gerald McCoy had been ruled out for Sunday’s game due to an ankle injury. Running back Mike James will take Spence’s place on the 53-man roster.

Spence began the season on the PUP list with a back malady, but returned to play in eight games this season (seven starts). The 2013 fourth-rounder notched 11 tackles and his fifth career sack this season.

A starter for five games last year and 14 as a rookie, Spence will enter his contract year next season on the heels of a down campaign. Pro Football Focus rated the 24-year-old interior defender 92nd in that category this season, behind both McCoy and teammate Clinton McDonald, who was placed on IR earlier this season.

Tony McDaniel and Henry Melton will see more time in Tampa Bay’s remaining two games as a result.

James has played 19 games, all of which coming in the 2013-14 slates. His most extensive NFL work came as a rookie in ’13, when he took over for an injured Doug Martin and rushed for 295 yards (4.9 per carry). James also caught 10 passes for 43 yards before going down for the year himself.

The 24-year-old ex-sixth-round pick didn’t factor in much last season, gaining just 37 yards in 11 games.

 

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/25/15

Today’s minor NFL signings, cuts, and other moves, with the latest news added to the top of the page throughout the course of the day:

  • The Buccaneers have officially activated DT Akeem Spence from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and they have waived OT Jeremiah Warren, per a release from the team’s official website.
  • The Chiefs continue to play musical chairs with wideouts Fred Williams and Kenny Cook. Per Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star (via Twitter), the team has re-signed Cook and has cut Williams.

NFC Notes: Kilgore, Carroll, Thompson, Fells

49ers center Daniel Kilgore suffered a broken left leg in a loss against the Broncos one year ago, but his 2015 debut doesn’t appear to be imminent, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. When asked if he could sit out the 2015 season, Kilgore didn’t rule out that scenario.

“I wouldn’t suspect that, but there’s always that possibility,” Kilgore said. “A year ago, I wouldn’t have said I would be in this situation. So you always have that possibility.”

Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the NFC….

  • Joining a chorus of NFL head coaches who have had to shoot down college rumors in recent weeks, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that a return to USC is “not happening,” as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.
  • Good news for the Panthers: Shaq Thompson appeared to suffer a serious injury on Sunday, but a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) that it turned out to only be a sprained MCL for the rookie linebacker.
  • Cardinals tight end Darren Fells may miss two or three weeks with a sprained shoulder, a source tells ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter). Fells had an MRI on Monday morning to better assess the damage.
  • As we detailed yesterday, the Buccaneers have two players now eligible to begin practicing, and the club announced today that both Demar Dotson (IR-DTR) and Akeem Spence (PUP) will rejoin their teammates on the practice field beginning Tuesday. Tampa Bay will have a three-week window to activate the duo.
  • Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com feels that Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery is worthy of a long-term investment. Jeffery’s performance in Detroit – eight receptions for 147 yards and one touchdown – reinforced his importance to the team in the view of Dickerson, who says Chicago should not let the wideout reach the open market next spring. Dickerson doesn’t view Jeffery as an elite receiver, but he does feel that he is in the next tier, along with guys such as T.Y. Hilton, Mike Wallace, Vincent Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. I’d agree with that assessment, though Jeffery has to stay healthy in order to justify that type of money.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.