Akeem Spence

Eagles Sign DT Akeem Spence

In the wake of Malik Jackson‘s season-ending injury, the Eagles are adding some reinforcements on the defensive line. The team is signing veteran defensive tackle Akeem Spence to a one-year deal, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link).

Spence had been with the Dolphins in camp, but didn’t survive final cuts. He originally entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Bucs in 2013, and has a good amount of starting experience. He signed a three-year, $9MM deal with the Lions in 2017, but was traded to the Dolphins after just one season. He spent 2018 in Miami, and ended up starting all 16 games for them. For his career, he has 179 tackles and 10.5 sacks in 88 games and 57 starts.

The loss of Jackson was a tough blow, but the Eagles still have a very solid defensive interior. They have one of the league’s best defensive tackles in Fletcher Cox, and Timmy Jernigan should step up and play a bigger role in Jackson’s absence. Ideally, Spence won’t be much more than depth this season.

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Dolphins Cut Jordan Mills, Clive Walford

The 53-man roster deadline isn’t until Saturday, but the Dolphins are getting ahead of the game. On Tuesday, the Dolphins released tackle Jordan Mills and tight end Clive Walford with injury settlements. The club also cut defensive tackle Akeem Spence and waived/injured linebacker Chase Allen

Mills, a free agent acquisition, was disappointing in minicamp and was leapfrogged at right tackle by Jesse Davis. The Dolphins gave him a shot at redemption in training camp, but he was unable to regain his footing.

Walford was most recently with the Jets, but New York decided to non-tender him earlier this month, leading him to the Fins. He had two stints with the Jets and one stint with the Colts in 2018, appearing in only a single game. Walford showed some promise during his first two years in the league, hauling in 61 receptions for 688 yards and six scores across the 2015-16 seasons with the Raiders.

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Dolphins Likely To Cut Quinn, Parker

Major changes are coming in Miami. This offseason, the Dolphins are expected to cut defensive end Robert Quinn (saving $12.9MM against the cap), defensive end Andre Branch (saving $7MM, $2MM in dead money) and wide receiver DeVante Parker ($9.4MM savings), according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald

Naturally, the upheaval won’t stop there, but the Dolphins have some big decisions to make on significant contracts in the coming weeks and months. Ryan Tannehill is likely done in South Beach and players like defensive tackle Akeem Spence ($2.5MM cap savings) and guard Ted Larsen ($1.9MM) could also be dropped from the roster, Jackson hears.

And, if the Dolphins really want to turn over a new leaf, they may decide against retaining unrestricted free agents like Frank Gore and Cameron Wake and move on from receiver Danny Amendola, whose entire $6MM cap hit can be washed out. Jackson adds that the future of veterans like guard Josh Sitton and safety T.J. McDonald is also in question.

Quinn, 29 in May, came to Miami via a spring trade with the Rams. The former first-round pick notched 6.5 sacks and 38 tackles, but graded out as just the No. 42 ranked edge defender in the NFL per Pro Football Focus. Branch, meanwhile, was one of the lowest-ranked DEs out of 108 qualified players.

Parker was once viewed as the team’s future at wide receiver, but injuries have hampered his progress over the last four years. This year, he managed just 24 catches for 309 yards and a touchdown in eleven games.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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