Alec Ogletree

NFC Notes: Lions, Ngata, Giants

Here’s a quick look at the NFC:

  • Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata inked a one-year, $2.6MM fully guaranteed deal ($3MM maximum value) with the Eagles this week, but he had the same offer on the table from the Lions, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (video link). He chose the Eagles because he felt they were a better scheme fit for him. In Philadelphia’s two-gap system, Ngata is hoping to get back to his old form as he backs up Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan.
  • The Giants restructured linebacker Alec Ogletree‘s contract to prorate the $7MM roster bonus he was due over the remaining four years of his contract, a source tells Dan Duggan of The Athletic (on Twitter). His cap hit will be reduced from $10MM to $4.75MM in 2018, according to ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan (on Twitter).
  • Bears tight end Dion Sims remained on the team’s roster today and now has $4MM of his $6MM base salary fully guaranteed for 2018, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter) notes.

Extra Points: Butler, Shead, Rams, Chiefs

It’s been a wild ride for the Seahawks defense the past week. After the team traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles and released Richard Sherman, it also decided to release cornerback DeShawn Shead.

This was noteworthy because the Seahawks told the player it would release him to allow him to become an unrestricted free agent despite the NFL saying his contract should toll for 2018.

Earlier today, Shead signed with the Lions but reportedly wanted a return to the Seahawks, the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta tweets. After Seattle honored its statement to make the cornerback a free agent, Shead wanted to give Seattle every chance to keep him, but the organization ultimately wouldn’t match the offer he received from the Lions.

Seattle now enters free agency without three of its top veterans and could be seeing the end of the Earl Thomas era, who has threatened to hold out if he doesn’t receive a new deal. The Seahawks could deal him this offseason and are reportedly looking for a first-round pick in return.

Needless to say, the Seahawks once-stingy defensive unit will look plenty different in 2018.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Rams general manager Les Snead said on Wednesday the team traded linebacker Alec Ogletree to accommodate the ensuing move for cornerback Aqib Talib, Alden Gonzalez tweets. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips prefers cornerbacks to linebackers in his scheme, and a big move had to be made to bring in the former Broncos corner, who will count $11 MM toward the cap.
  • Snead also said he sees ways the Rams can address run defense and the pass rush in free agency, Gonzalez tweets. Though he is weighing what will be available to fill those holes with rookies, he doesn’t want to just wait until the draft to fill obvious needs. The team received some insurance for its pass rush on Wednesday when it re-signed veteran linebacker Connor Barwin.
  • New Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler said he was worried his Super Bowl benching would hurt his value on the open market, USA Today’s Lindsay Jones tweets. Butler notoriously didn’t see the field against the Eagles in February when the Patriots allowed Nick Foles to shred their secondary. The 2015 Pro Bowl selection reached a deal with the Titans on Wednesday worth up to $61 MM over five years, with $30 MM of that being guaranteed.
  • Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said cornerback Marcus Peters‘ trade to the Rams had nothing to do with national anthem protests, Pro Football Talk passes along“This was a football decision. … This wasn’t just one game, wasn’t a month, this was three years of body of work, and we look for consistency. We felt that this was in the best interest of the team,” Veach said. 
  • Veach also touched on the Chiefs move for Sammy Watkins, saying the team pounced on the receiver in the first minute of free agency, the NFL Network’s James Palmer tweets. Veach said that if Watkins received a call before theirs, the other team would’ve had to call in 30 seconds before they did. The team was motivated to move on Watkins to add him to Tyreek Hill, giving strong-armed quarterback Patrick Mahomes a pair of dynamic, stretch-the-field receivers.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Lions, Eagles, Raiders

Before Alec Ogletree was traded to the Giants earlier today, the Rams also offered the veteran linebacker to the Chiefs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Los Angeles recently completed a Marcus Peters-centered trade with Kansas City, but it’s clear if Ogletree was part of those talks, or discussed in a separate deal. The Chiefs have already announced that team icon Derrick Johnson will not be re-signed, but Kansas City could still use another inside linebacker to play opposite Reggie Ragland in its 3-4 scheme. However, the Chiefs are one of the more-cap strapped teams in the NFL, so it’s unlikely they could have taken on Ogletree’s $10MM guarantee in 2018.

  • While the Lions now have until mid-July to work out an extension with recently franchise-tagged defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, a long-term could be a risky proposition for Detroit, argues Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Ansah will already be 29 years old when the 2018 campaign gets underway, and he’s dealt with nagging injuries and inconsistent play over the course of his five-year career. Additionally, Ansah will now earn $17.143MM in 2018, meaning he’s likely looking for a guarantee of $38MM (the value of two consecutive franchise tags). As Rothstein writes, Lions general manager Bob Quinn has shown a willingness to pay up for stars in the past, but it’s unclear if Detroit is willing to go all-in for Ansah.
  • In addition to confirming Mike Groh‘s previously-reported promotion to offensive coordinator, the Eagles have announced a series of staff moves. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland had had “run game coordinator” added to his title, Carson Walch was promoted to assistant wide receivers coach, and Trent Miles was promoted to offensive quality control/running backs.
  • The Lions have hired former NFL defensive back Steve Gregory as a defensive assistant, the club announced today. Gregory played under Detroit head coach Matt Patricia when both were in New England, and had spent the past several seasons as a special teams quality control coach at Syracuse, his alma mater. Per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link), Gregory has long wanted to coach in the NFL, and many of his former teammates were high on his future coaching potential.
  • Long snapper Jon Condo will not be re-signed by the Raiders, as Condo himself announced on his Twitter account. This was the expected result after Oakland inked two long snappers to futures deals this winter, tweets Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A two-time Pro Bowler, Condo had spent all but one season of his dozen-year career in Oakland.

Giants Acquire LB Alec Ogletree From Rams

The Rams are trading linebacker Alec Ogletree to the Giants, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will see Ogletree and the Rams’ 2019 seventh-rounder go to the G-Men in exchange for a fourth-round pick and sixth-round pick. 

Thanks to the extension he signed last fall, Ogletree is under contract through 2021. The Rams probably didn’t expect to part ways with him so soon even that the deal included $18MM in full guarantees with $33MM in cash flow over the first three years. L.A. is moving on from him, partially due to financial constraints, but the Giants believe they’re acquiring a quality playmaker on D.

Ogletree, a former first-round pick, started in all 15 of his games last season and racked up 95 tackles and two sacks. The advanced metrics have never been fond of him, but those who have watched him play disagree with the analytics.

Linebacker was one of the Giants’ biggest areas of need this offseason, particularly with Akeem Ayers, Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich, Devon Kennard, Keenan Robinson, and Kelvin Sheppard all headed towards free agency. Last year, the Giants’ run defense sagged and opposing tight ends had their way across the middle of the field. The Giants are hoping that Ogletree’s presence will help in both areas.

The acquisition of Ogletree gives new defensive coordinator James Bettcher a big-time weapon to work with. Ogletree spent much of his career in a 4-3 scheme, but he transitioned to a 3-4 set under Wade Phillips last year, similar to Bettcher’s. It’s worth noting, however, that Ogletree didn’t cleanly fit into 3-4, as Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com (Twitter link) writes.

This marks the latest deal in what has been a busy offseason for the Rams. In recent weeks, L.A. has acquired cornerback Marcus Peters from the Chiefs and shipped defensive end Robert Quinn to the Dolphins.

The Rams were not expected to part ways with Ogletree, but it’s a logical move for cap reasons. Moving Ogletree may allow the Rams to hold on to linebacker Mark Barron and re-sign wide receiver Sammy Watkins. There’s also the outside chance that the Rams find space to retain cornerback Trumaine Johnson and the extra breathing room could help the team in their bid to eventually extend Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald, and Jared Goff.

Per league rules, the trade will not become official until March 14.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cards, 49ers, Hawks, Rams

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has not made any decision regarding whether his career will continue past the 2017 season, sources tell Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. Arizona will now be without quarterback Carson Palmer for several weeks (if not the rest of the year), and given that the Cardinals appear set to miss the postseason for the second consecutive season, there was some thought that Arians could hang it up after the current campaign concludes. But Arians himself tweeted that any such rumors were “news” to him, although Weinfuss added that how Arizona finishes the season could factor into Arians’ decision on 2018.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Offensive tackle Joe Staley‘s name is often tossed out near the NFL’s trade deadline, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan says it would “take a whole lot” for the club to move the veteran lineman, per Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group (Twitter link). As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee writes, the Niners have surely discussed trading Staley, especially now that a contending club such as the Eagles is down a left tackle in Jason Peters. Staley, 33, is still playing well — No. 19 offensive tackle in the league, per Pro Football Focus — and is signed through the 2019 season at extremely affordable rates.
  • Conversations between the Seahawks and edge defender Dwight Freeney were initiated after fellow defensive lineman Cliff Avril suffered an injury, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). Avril is done for the season as he deals with a neck issue, and could possibly contemplate retirement. Freeney, who says he turned down other offers, will likely serve in a rotational capacity, and is expected to be active when Seattle faces Houston on Monday night. Even after adding Freeney, the Seahawks are still looking for more pass rushers.
  • The Rams picked up $2.5MM in 2017 cap space as a result of extending linebacker Alec Ogletree, according to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). That indicates that Los Angeles reduced Ogletree’s $8.369MM base salary, because his prorated $8MM signing bonus should account for $1.25MM on the Rams’ 2017 books. All told, Ogletree’s four-year extension is worth $42MM and contains $18MM in full guarantees. His $10.5MM average annual value places him behind only Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner among inside ‘backers.

Rams Sign Alec Ogletree To Extension

Rumored to be in the works for months, the Alec Ogletree Rams extension came to fruition on Thursday night. The Rams announced they’ve signed the linebacker to a four-year extension.

The through-2021 deal is worth $42MM, contains $31.4MM in total guarantees and $18MM in full guarantees, and comes with an $8MM signing bonus, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) this deal includes $33MM over its first three years.

Les Snead announced the re-up on the team’s website. The Rams will now have three well-paid linebackers. Ogletree follows Robert Quinn and Mark Barron, continuing a defensive fortification on a unit that also includes high-end contracts (or franchise tags) authorized recently for Michael Brockers and Trumaine Johnson.

Alec has evolved into a true leader of our football team and we are excited to sign him to this extension,” Snead said. “We look forward to Alec helping our team emerge as a consistent winner for years to come.”

In terms of per-year wages, Ogletree’s $10.5MM-AAV pact makes him the fourth inside ‘backer to earn eight figures annually — behind Kuechly, Bobby Wagner and alongside NaVorro Bowman.

Ogletree began his fifth season with the Rams last month. He’s now the second of the franchise’s 2013 first-round picks to have signed a four-year extension, joining Tavon Austin in that regard. The Rams picked up Ogletree’s fifth-year option in 2016 and had the inside linebacker under team control through this season at $8.369MM.

A fifth-year starter, Ogletree leads the Rams with 54 tackles. His deal will give the Rams two of the highest-paid non-rush linebackers in the league. Barron’s already signed for five years and $45MM.

Nothing’s emerged on additional progress having been made on the Aaron Donald front, but the Rams continued their trend of early-season extensions for defenders. Quinn and Brockers each signed re-ups in September, and now Ogletree has an October pact that will tie him to Los Angeles through the 2021 season.

This will eat into the funds available for Donald but also for potential Johnson or Lamarcus Joyner deals, however, but the Rams were slated to possess $62MM in cap space prior to the Ogletree contract. So, flexibility remains if the franchise wants to extend these players, which has been reported about Donald and Joyner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Alec Ogletree Extension “In The Works”

The Rams’ best player, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, is holding out as he seeks a new contract, but the news isn’t all bad: The team is working to lock up one of its other top defenders, linebacker Alec Ogletree.

Alec Ogletree

“I still don’t have a deal yet but it’s in the works,” Ogletree told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). “When it happens, it happens. It will get done eventually.”

The Rams have had interest in awarding a new deal to Ogletree since at least February 2016, and their extensive team control over him is likely a key reason why it hasn’t happened. That control is running out, though, as Ogletree is now in his fifth-year option season (at an $8.37MM salary). As such, the Rams are in danger of losing the 2013 first-round pick to free agency next winter.

Ogletree’s exit would cost Los Angeles one of its go-to guys, someone who started in all 16 games in 2016 and was the only one of its defenders to play all 1,090 of the unit’s snaps. In the process, the ex-Georgia Bulldog piled up impressive counting stats (136 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble), though Pro Football Focus ranked his performance a lackluster 56th among 86 qualified linebackers.

With the exception of his rookie season, PFF has typically assigned unfavorable marks to Ogletree. Nevertheless, aside from missing 12 games with a broken fibula in 2015, Ogletree is someone on whom the Rams have been able to rely. The 25-year-old has three 16-start, 100-tackle campaigns, 11 forced fumbles and five INTs under his belt, and the team apparently doesn’t want to let that type of production get away.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Want To Extend DB Lamarcus Joyner

Although the contract statuses of cornerback Trumaine Johnson and defensive tackle Aaron Donald may take precedence at the moment, the Rams also want to reach a long-term extension with defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. Los Angeles is interested in a new deal for linebacker Alec Ogletree, as well, per Gonzalez.Lamarcus Joyner (Featured)

Joyner, 26, will be seeing time at a new position this season, as he’ll be shifting to free safety after lining up at slot cornerback for the first three years of his NFL career. A second-round pick in 2014, Joyner has appeared in 40 games (14 starts) for the Rams, and last year managed 76 tackles, five passes defensed, and one sack. Overall, Joyner graded as the league’s No. 30 corner, per Pro Football Focus.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next spring, Joyner will earn a $1.106M base salary in 2017 and carry a cap charge of $1.601MM. While the Rams could conceivably use the franchise tag on Joyner next year if no extension is hammered out, that tender would come with a cost north of $11MM. While Joyner has been a valuable player during his time with the Rams, he’s probably not worth that price tag.

Los Angeles’ interest in extending Ogletree, meanwhile, dates back to at least February of 2016. Because he was a first-round selection, Ogletree is under team control in 2018 the fifth-year option, which will pay him $8.369MM. In 16 starts a season ago, Ogletree played nearly every defensive snap for the Rams, but only ranked as the No. 57 linebacker among 88 qualifiers, according to PFF.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Pick Up Options For Ogletree, Austin

The Rams have exercised their 2017 options for a pair of former first-round picks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who tweets that both linebacker Alec Ogletree and wide receiver Tavon Austin had their fifth-year options picked up.Alec Ogletree (Vertical)

[RELATED: Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker]

There was never much doubt that the Rams would exercise their 2017 option on Ogeltree, which is worth $8.369MM. Despite the fact that ankle issues cost him most of the 2015 season, the 24-year-old remains one of the more talented players on Los Angeles’ defense, particularly among non-defensive linemen. In his last full season, Ogletree recorded 111 tackles, two interceptions, 12 passes defended, and four forced fumbles in 2014.

As for Austin, that decision wasn’t quite as simple. The 25-year-old enjoyed his best season in 2015, establishing new career-highs in receptions (52), receiving yards (473), rushing yards (434), and touchdowns (nine). However, as a top-10 pick, Austin will be owed a $12.268MM salary for 2017 now that his option has been exercised. That’s a significant price for a non-traditional wideout who had never topped 500 receiving yards.

We heard back in February that the Rams are interested in getting extensions done with both Ogletree and Austin, so it’s possible that neither player will actually play out the 2017 season on the terms of his current contract. Working out agreements that extend Ogletree’s and Austin’s stays in Los Angeles beyond 2017 could allow the Rams to reduce both players’ cap numbers for ’17.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Schwartz, Bears, Love, Bucs, Rams

Geoff Schwartz‘s next stop on his free agent tour will be in Detroit, with the Lions hosting the eighth-year lineman, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).

This will be Schwartz’s second visit with the Lions. He did so in 2012 before signing with the Vikings, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). Schwartz will visit the Lions’ facilities on Wednesday, Birkett tweets.

Having already visited the Cardinals and Steelers, Schwartz continues to survey the market for a fifth team. Recently released from the Giants, Schwartz has proven to be an effective performer when healthy. The 29-year-old guard/tackle hasn’t been able to stay on the field the past two years, however, with his stay in New York limited to just 13 games in two seasons.

The Lions don’t have an immediate opening at guard, with Larry Warford and 2015 first-rounder Laken Tomlinson occupying those slots. Of course, the Steelers didn’t have a guard vacancy either. Detroit could use more help at tackle.

Here’s the latest coming out of the NFC.

  • John Fox acknowledged to media (including Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com) the Bears are in need of a swing lineman and will look to sign one during the latter stages of free agency. Second- and third-year players with limited experience pack the Bears’ tackle depth chart, but Fox clearly seeks someone with more seasoning. Chicago cut Jermon Bushrod in February before he signed with the Dolphins. Khalif Barnes, Jake Long and Nate Chandler are some of the players who could fit here that remain on the market. Dickerson also mentions Will Beatty in this group. Beatty remains in search of a job after the Giants cut the former well-paid left tackle starter along with Schwartz. But Beatty would profile more as a left tackle starter, with the Bears not exactly having an untouchable cog there in Charles Leno.
  • The Panthers still need a defensive tackle, a safety, and a nickel back, ESPN.com’s David Newton writes. Carolina is still having dialogue with free agent defensive tackle Kyle Love, but the team could also use a high draft pick to solidify the position, Newton notes.
  • The Buccaneers remain in the mix for kick-return man Kyle Williams, although the Broncos and Jets are also involved in the pursuit, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter) reports. Williams played for new Bucs coach Dirk Koetter at Arizona State. A former 49ers return man whose NFC championship fumbles identify him to most of the football landscape, Williams missed last season with an Achilles injury after signing with the Broncos. A return to Denver would be tricky given the Broncos’ limited cap space and having re-signed receiver/returner Jordan Norwood last week.
  • Los Angeles will have decisions to make regarding fifth-year options for Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree soon, and Jeff Fisher told media (including Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com) discussions are underway and the Rams would like to keep the duo around for a long time. Fisher previously acknowledged Ogletree’s option would probably be picked up, but with Austin being a top-10 pick and costing transition tag-type money ($12.27MM), Wagoner writes an extension would be a more prudent approach to retaining Austin than putting the gadget wideout on the Rams’ books for that amount in 2017.

Zach Links contributed to this report