Al Woods

Colts Sign DT Al Woods

Al Woods is going from the Titans to a division rival. The Colts are signing the defensive tackle, according to his agents at SportsTrust (on Twitter). It’s a two-year contract worth $5MM in total, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.Al Woods

Woods was released by the Titans earlier this month before a $1.25MM portion of his base salary would have become fully guaranteed. By dumping Woods, the Titans saved a little over $2MM against the cap versus $1.5MM in dead money. Now, they’ll have to face him multiple times in 2017.

Woods was a part-time starter for the Titans in his three years there. Before that, he spent time with the Bucs, Seahawks, and Steelers. Last year, he was limited to just 245 snaps thanks to a calf injury. This year, if he stays healthy, he should see considerably more playing time for the Colts in a similar role to what Zach Kerr filled in 2016. Kerr was not tendered an offer and left to sign with Denver earlier this week. He appeared in nearly a third of Indy’s defensive snaps.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

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 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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Titans Release Al Woods

The Titans created more cap room going into free agency by releasing defensive tackle Al Woods, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Tennessee makes this move before a $1.25MM portion of his 2017 base salary would have become fully guaranteed on Monday, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets.

This cut will create just more than $2MM in cap savings for the Titans, who now stand to possess more than $63MM in available funds as free agency looms in just more than 24 hours. Woods had two years left on his Tennessee deal, one he signed just last year, and will eat up $1.5MM in dead money as a result.

Woods served as a part-time starter for the Titans during his three-season tenure in Nashville. The former Saints fourth-round draft pick played with three different teams — the Buccaneers, Seahawks and Steelers — before joining the Titans in 2014. The 29-year-old nose tackle made 18 tackles last season. He played just 245 snaps in 2016, a season limited by a calf injury Woods suffered early in the campaign.

AFC Notes: Siemian, Watt, Cutler, Bengals

The Broncos tabbed Trevor Siemian as their emergency quarterback after he left Sunday’s game. Denver’s first-year starter suffered what an AC joint sprain on his non-throwing shoulder, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Siemian will undergo additional tests before the team determines the course of action.

Gary Kubiak categorized Siemian as day-to-day, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post (via Twitter). The Broncos, who received 170 passing yards and one touchdown from Paxton Lynch in relief, host the Falcons in Week 5.

Here’s more from the AFC as its signature game of Week 4 continues its one-sided course.

  • J.J. Watt underwent surgery on the same disk he injured during the spring, Rapoport reports. The Texans defensive end herniated the disk again this season despite passing the tests needed to play. Per Rapoport, Watt felt like he’d regressed back to where he was before the first back surgery this summer. He will stay in Los Angeles to rehab and be able to resume training in two months. However, the 27-year-old perennial All-Pro will still be out for the season despite the call to resume workouts during it. Rapoport adds the Texans don’t have any long-term concerns about Watt.
  • While Ryan Tannehill hasn’t impressed in Adam Gase‘s system, the last quarterback who did is not a target for the Dolphins. Any Jay Cutler-to-Miami talk “has never come up,” with a source close familiar with the Dolphins’ thinking telling Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that scenario is “never happening.”
  • Former Dolphins DC Kevin Coyle did not draw rave reviews from his Bengals secondary charges, according to a report earlier this week. However, the Bengals — who beat the Dolphins 22-7 on Thursday night — refute the report the new Cincinnati defensive backs coach is unpopular among his players, per Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Bengals “blew off” that contention, instead pointing to the usual adjustment period associated with new coaches. The Dolphins fired Coyle midway through last season.
  • Titans nose tackle Al Woods will miss at least a month of action after pulling his calf muscle on Sunday, Mike Mularkey told media, including Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com. Woods is in his third season with the Titans but the first of a three-year, $10.5MM deal he signed to stay in Tennessee this offseason.

AFC Contract Details: L. Miller, D. Johnson, Woods

Here are several of the latest contract details from around the AFC on recently agreed-upon and signed deals. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

  • Lamar Miller, RB (Texans): Four years, $26MM. $14.5MM guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus. $3.5MM roster bonus due on March 16. $750K in annual per-game active roster bonuses in 2018 and 2019 (all Twitter links).
  • Derrick Johnson, ILB (Chiefs): Three years, $21MM. $9.75MM guaranteed. $5.25MM signing bonus. $1MM in per-game active roster bonuses in 2017 (Twitter link).
  • Al Woods, DT (Titans): Three years, $10.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $2.25MM signing bonus. $250K in per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Prince Amukamara, CB (Jaguars): One year, $5.5MM. $3MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $500K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Rod Streater, WR (Chiefs): One year, $810K. $110K guaranteed. $10K signing bonus. $1MM in incentives based on touchdowns, catches, and yards (Twitter link).
  • Kellen Davis, TE (Jets): One year, minimum salary benefit. $230K guaranteed. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Jamell Fleming, DB (Chiefs): One year, minimum salary benefit. $40K signing bonus. $40K first-game 53-man roster bonus (Twitter link).

Titans, Al Woods Agree To Three-Year Deal

SATURDAY, 10:45am: The three-year deal is worth $10.5MM with $5MM in guaranteed money, tweets NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. There’s another $2.25MM worth of incentive money, boosting the potential value to $12.75MM.

FRIDAY, 10:50pm: After spending the last two seasons in Tennessee, defensive tackle Al Woods will continue his career with the Titans in 2016. Woods’ agency, SportTrust Advisors, announced today (via Twitter) that the veteran defender has agreed to terms on a new three-year contract with the Titans.Al Woods

Woods, who turns 29 later this month, picked up 22 tackles in 14 games (nine starts) for the Titans in 2015. With fellow nose tackle Sammie Lee Hill recovering from a knee injury to open the season, Woods saw most of the playing time at the position, earning 362 defensive snaps to Hill’s 190 for the season. While Pro Football Focus ranked Woods just 88th out of 123 interior defenders, PFF gave him a solid grade as a run defender, and he’s primarily used on early downs.

With a new deal in place to keep him in Tennessee, Woods has a leg up on the Titans’ starting nose tackle job for the 2016 season, at least for the time being. John Glennon of The Tennessean indicated near the end of the 2015 campaign that it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team retain Woods rather than Hill, who is also a free agent.

While financial terms of Woods’ deal aren’t yet known, he’s coming off a two-year, $4MM pact, and I’d expect him to match or exceed that per-year salary. Before agreeing to terms with the Titans, Woods reportedly paid a visit to Seattle to meet with the Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Visits: Seahawks, Lions, Chiefs, Pats, Titans

After being released recently by the Jaguars, veteran edge defender Chris Clemons is expected to pay a visit to the Seahawks soon, and could sign with the team during that visit, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). In fact, Condotta suspects that Clemons will sign.

If it happens, it would be a reunion for the two sides, as Clemons enjoyed the best years of his NFL career in Seattle. Although he was slowed down by injuries during his final year with the team in 2013, he recorded at least 11 sacks as a 16-game starter in each season from 2010 to 2012. At age 34, Clemons is unlikely to reach those totals again, but he could be a solid situational pass rusher if he rejoins the Seahawks.

Here’s more on potential free agent visits:

  • While the Patriots would like to bring back defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, the veteran free agent is exploring his options, and those options include a pair of NFC North teams. In addition to making a previously-reported visit to the Bears, Hicks is planning to visit the Lions over the weekend, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Defensive tackle Al Woods is visiting the Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Seattle is bringing in both Woods and – as previously reportedCam Thomas, as the team explore possible replacements for Brandon Mebane.
  • The Chiefs may still get a chance to meet with wide receiver Rod Streater, tweets Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Streater, who met with the Patriots on Thursday, is planning to head to Kansas City after visiting the Jets.
  • Free agent cornerback Antwon Blake is scheduled to visit the Patriots and Titans this weekend, per Ralph N. Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). Blake’s agent is also negotiating with four other teams, says Paulk. The 25-year-old has spent the last three seasons with the Steelers.

Free Agent Rumors: Jaguars, Wisniewski, Branch

The latest free agent rumors:

  • Jaguars GM David Caldwell says that he’s “not done” adding to the team’s offensive line (Twitter link via John Oehser of Jaguars.com). Caldwell went on to say that the door is not closed on Stefen Wisniewski either (Twitter link via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union).
  • Defensive lineman Andre Branch is on his way to visit Washington, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • The Titans have been talking with the reps for nose tackle Al Woods and are hoping to get something done, Tiffany Blackmon of NFL Network tweets.
  • Free agent tackle Bradley Sowell has a visit scheduled with the Seahawks, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Before signing punter Brad Nortman, Caldwell says the Jaguars offered a new deal to incumbent Bryan Anger (Twitter link via O’Halloran).

Combine Updates: Browns, Buccaneers, Titans

General managers and head coaches around the league are speaking to the media on Wednesday and Thursday at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, and while most of them will only generally address their pending free agents or other noteworthy contract situations, a handful have revealed some interesting tidbits.

Here are a few updates from the sessions so far:

Cleveland Browns:

  • Browns head coach Hue Jackson, who said the team will take a hard-line stance when it comes to not tolerating off-field behavior like Johnny Manziel‘s, was also asked about players like Josh Gordon (suspended) and Armonty Bryant (arrested). Jackson said he has spoken to Bryant, and will meet with Gordon if and when he’s reinstated, stressing that he wants high-character players and will evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis (Twitter links via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com and Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal).
  • Jackson guaranteed that the Browns will come out of this year’s draft having picked a quarterback. However, he cautioned that the team might not use the No. 2 overall pick to select a signal-caller (Twitter link via Cabot).
  • Jackson conceded that if the fit is right, he would value potential free agents who had previous experience in his system (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich). Bengals wideouts Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu might fit that bill.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said today that the team doesn’t have any indication of whether veteran guard Logan Mankins is leaning toward retiring or playing in 2016. That decision won’t affect the Bucs either way though, according to Licht, who says the team expects to hear from Mankins within the next few weeks (Twitter links via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times).
  • Licht will meet with Doug Martin‘s agent this week, and said he’s optimistic about the possibility of working out a new deal for the running back (Twitter link via Stroud).
  • If the Bucs don’t re-sign Martin, they’ll be prepared to address the position either in free agency or the draft, says Licht (Twitter link via Stroud).
  • Licht expects to concentrate primarily on defensive players in the draft, but that won’t stop the Bucs from grabbing an offensive player if he’s the top player on their board (Twitter link via Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune).

Tennessee Titans:

  • Titans head coach Mike Mularkey views Brian Schwenke‘s injuries as a potential cause for concern, and said the team won’t rule out the pursuit of a veteran center (Twitter link via Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com).
  • Defensive tackle Al Woods is one of the Titans pending free agents that the team is talking to and wants to keep, according to Mularkey (Twitter link via McCormick).
  • Mularkey doesn’t believe the Titans’ moves in free agency will tip off what the team plans to do with the No. 1 pick in the draft, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com. “I don’t know that it’s a telltale sign — if we do this, we won’t do that,” Mularkey said.
  • The Titans don’t currently plan on making any more roster cuts prior to the start of free agency, Mularkey said (Twitter link via McCormick).
  • If the Titans ultimately decide to trade the first overall pick in the draft, they’ll be looking for a “fair deal,” not necessarily one that lines up with the old draft-pick value chart, per GM Jon Robinson (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com).

AFC Notes: Raiders, Flacco, A. Mack, Bills, Titans

The Raiders need to find a running back to complement Latavius Murray, opines Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. Bair lists Chris Johnson, Tim Hightower, Matt Forte, James Starks and Ronnie Hillman as potential fits through free agency.

Earlier tonight, PFR’s Rory Parks previewed the Raiders’ offseason in depth and, like Bair, named RB as a position the club could address. Click here for the rest.

More from the AFC:

  • Reworking quarterback Joe Flacco‘s deal and cutting $9MM off his $28MM-plus cap hit for this year would go a long way toward helping the Ravens make improvements, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes. As of Wednesday morning, the Ravens and Flacco haven’t discussed a restructuring.
  • The notion that Browns center Alex Mack has a clause in his contract preventing the team from placing the franchise or transition tag on him is untrue, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports. Corry notes (via Twitter) that Mack does have a no-trade clause, though. The 30-year-old is expected to opt out of his current deal in the coming weeks and become a free agent.
  • A pair of escalators affecting the Bills‘ salary cap have been triggered, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets (Twitter links). Tyrod Taylor‘s cap number this season has increased from $1.3MM to $3.3MM based on an escalator and how his ’16 playtime incentive is treated. Bills center Eric Wood also hit an escalator that increases his 2016 cap number by $650K.
  • Out of their pending free agents, the Titans are prioritizing nose tackle Al Woods and tight end Craig Stevens, Terry McCormick of Cover32.com reports. Woods made a career-high nine starts last season. Stevens has been a Titan since 2008 and is discussing a new deal with the team, per McCormick.
  • Chiefs backup quarterback Chase Daniel is scheduled for free agency, but the club has too many other needs to worry about investing a decent chunk of money in a reserve signal caller, writes Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. Teicher believes it’s time for either Aaron Murray or Tyler Bray to step up and take over for Daniel as Alex Smith‘s top understudy. Although the two have been Chiefs for a combined seven years, neither has appeared in a regular-season game.
  • In a Monday roundup of Ravens news and notes, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun discusses the possibility of the team trading down from the No. 6 pick, and reexamines the likelihood of cornerback Kyle Arrington being released.

Sam Robinson contributed to this post.