Today’s minor transactions:
- Activated off reserve/COVID-19 list: C Alex Mack
Today’s minor transactions:
Here are the minor moves from 2020’s final day:
Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Chargers
New England Patriots
Although Michael Bennett went through a nomadic late-2010s stretch after the Seahawks traded him in 2018, he remained productive. The veteran defensive lineman has registered 15.5 sacks over the past two seasons and is a free agent for the first time since 2013. Bennett, who signed with the Seahawks in 2013, would like to return to the team to which he’s most linked. Asked if he would want to play for the Seahawks again, the 34-year-old defender said “hard yes.” Bennett, though, has not yet committed to playing a 12th NFL season.
“I would love to end my career in Seattle,” Bennett said, via Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest. “It’s not up to you, though. It’s up to the team.”
The Seahawks gave Bennett two contracts, including a three-year, $31.5MM extension in 2016. That contract was set to run through 2020, but after the Eagles and Patriots traded him, Bennett and the Cowboys restructured the deal to direct him toward free agency this year. Seattle has most of its pass rushers — including Jadeveon Clowney and Jarran Reed — as impending free agents, so the franchise will have critical decisions to make in the next week and change.
Here is the latest from around the league, moving first to the reconfigured NFLPA:
No surprise here, but Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is expected to miss Sunday’s season opener against Indianapolis as he continues his holdout, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Donald is presently at home with his family on the east coast and the two sides are not close to an agreement.
Holdouts typically do not drag into the regular season, but Donald has less to lose by staying home than other players fighting for a better contract. Le’Veon Bell, in theory, could have tried to drum up leverage by taking his holdout into mid-September, but that would have meant forfeiting game checks on a $12.12MM salary. Donald, meanwhile, is slated to earn only a fraction of that – $3.225MM – in 2017.
While we wait to see how things shake out between Donald and the Rams, let’s take a look at more news from the NFC:
Sam Robinson contributed to this post.
Falcons star receiver Julio Jones may need toe surgery this offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. However, even though recovery from such a surgery would take months, it would not be expected to delay his 2017 season.
Of course, Jones has been battling a toe injury all year, and he missed two games during the regular season as a result. But he still managed to put up 1,409 receiving yards, the second-best total in the league, and six scores. The injury is not expected to impact offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan‘s play-calling in any way during Super Bowl LI.
Per Rapoport, Jones will receive a full evaluation after the Super Bowl, and depending on the source, surgery is either likely or possible. The procedure would fix torn ligaments associated with turf toe.
Jones has dealt with foot injuries in the past, but the present injury is unrelated to his prior ailments. He is also battling a sprained ankle, although that will not require surgery. He has admitted that he is in pain, but he has done his best to downplay it, calling himself “full go” for the Super Bowl even though he was officially listed as a limited participant in practice.
Perhaps even more troubling for the Falcons’ immediate prospects is the fact that starting center Alex Mack will play Super Bowl LI with a fracture in his left fibula that he suffered in the NFC Championship Game. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that, if this were the regular season, Mack could miss six to eight weeks, and while the Falcons are confident Mack will hold up in pass-blocking, they are uncertain whether he will be effective on downfield blocks or whether his leg will even hold up for a full four quarters.
The fracture occurred above the plate that Mack had inserted in his left leg after he broke his fibula in 2014, though Schefter does not mention what the offseason holds for Mack. Mack will join an impressive list of players who played in the Super Bowl despite a similar injury. Jack Youngblood played in Super Bowl XIV with a broken fibula; Charles Woodson played in Super Bowl XXVII after having surgery for a crack in his right fibula a month earlier; and Terrell Owens played in Super Bowl XXXIX with a fractured fibula and torn ligament in his right ankle.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Contrary to some megadeals for one player, the 2011 Julio Jones trade ended up benefiting the team that sacrificed draft picks instead of the franchise that acquired them. And this might come up during Super Bowl LI on Sunday since Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff made the trade against the urging of former boss Bill Belichick.
“Bill was very open about it. He felt it was something he would not do. He said, ‘Thomas, are you sure you want to do this? You’re gonna be tied to this for the rest of your career,'” Dimitroff said, via Michael Silver of NFL.com. “We talked for 30 or 40 minutes. I remember coming back around at the end, saying, ‘All due respect — if and when you see we’re gonna pull the trigger on this tonight, your words didn’t fall on deaf ears.’ And in my mind I was thinking, [Forget] it: We’re doing this. It was surreal. Here’s a Hall of Fame coach and team-builder telling me not to do it, and I’m doing this anyway!”
The Falcons held the No. 27 selection after joining the Patriots as 2010 No. 1 seeds ousted in the divisional round. They surrendered four picks to the Browns for the No. 6 selection. Dimitroff authorized two first-round selections to go to Cleveland in the deal. No players remain on the Browns from that exchange.
Here’s more coming out of the NFC champions’ headquarters on the eve of their first Super Bowl in 18 years.
The Bears and receiver Alshon Jeffery didn’t agree to a multiyear contract by the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players, meaning they won’t be able to negotiate a new deal until the end of the season. Despite a report that the Bears aren’t keen on giving big money to Jeffery, general manager Ryan Pace is “optimistic” the two sides will eventually work something out (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). Jeffery will first have to stay healthy in 2016, though, Pace said. Jeffery accomplished that from 2013-14, appearing in all 32 of the Bears’ games, but he missed six as a rookie and seven last year.
Here’s more from the NFC:
Here are some of the latest details on many recent agreed-upon and signed contracts from out of the NFC (all links via Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post unless otherwise indicated)…
3:21pm: The Falcons officially announced the signing.
“We knew we needed to add an established presence along our offensive line,” said general manager Thomas Dimitroff. “Alex is a three-time pro bowler and is an ideal scheme fit for our offense. We understand the importance of solidifying the center position and we have been able to do that today. We are pleased to be able to add Alex to our roster and believe he will be an anchor to our line.”
12;26pm: Mack has agreed to sign with the Falcons on a five-year deal, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
12:20pm: If he signs, Mack’s deal with the Falcons would pay him an average of $9.5MM, per Peter King of SI (on Twitter). Mack could have made $500K more per season with Cleveland, but he is leaning towards the Falcons because of a few factors, including the presence of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
11:33am: The Falcons are closing in on an agreement for Mack, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, who cautions (via Twitter) that nothing is done yet.
9:48am: The Falcons are the frontrunners for center Alex Mack, Michael Silver of NFL Network tweets. The Browns, he adds, could make a late push to keep him. Earlier this week it was reported that Atlanta had “extensive interest” in Mack.
Mack voided the final three years on his contract with the Browns earlier this month. Still, he indicated that he would be open to a Cleveland return. Mack stands as the top center on the free agent market and will aim to exceed $10MM+ per year on a new deal.
Mack, 30, has been one of the NFL’s most reliable centers since he entered the league in 2009. The veteran lineman has been Cleveland’s full-time starter since joining the team, starting all 16 regular-season games for the franchise in all but one of his seven NFL seasons. He has also earned three Pro Bowl nods.
Two years ago, when Mack first became eligible for free agency, the Browns used their transition tag on the center, who then signed a five-year, $42MM offer sheet with the Jaguars. Cleveland ultimately took advantage of the right of first refusal and matched the offer, but since the language of the contract included an opt-out for this winter, it was essentially a two-year deal rather than a five-year pact. This time around, the Jags reportedly do not plan on making a play for Mack.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The latest free agent rumors: