Alshon Jeffery

Reactions From Bills’ Two-Trade Day

The Bills reshaped their team and 2018 draft with two trades on Friday afternoon. Buffalo unloaded Sammy Watkins to the Rams for E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick. The Bills then shipped Ronald Darby to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third-rounder. Here’s the latest fallout from these deals.

  • Eagles GM Howie Roseman said the team didn’t shop Matthews but acknowledged the fourth-year wideout being in trade rumors since March accelerated the actual trade. Roseman, per Zach Berman of Philly.com (on Twitter) said when trade rumors are out there, “people call.” Roseman added Darby — a 2015 second-round pick — having two years left on his rookie contract cemented the deal for the Eagles. “The big factor for us was we weren’t getting a free agent back, too,” Roseman said (via Berman, on Twitter). “We wouldn’t have done the trade if a player had one year left.”
  • A perpetual injury risk, Watkins seeing another team take a chance on him in a contract year indicates belief he can stay healthy, ESPN.com’s Stephania Bell tweets. Bell adds a member of the Bills medical staff is now with the Rams. Watkins missed eight games last season and three in 2015. He played in all 16 games as a rookie.
  • ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano picked up a vibe while visiting Eagles camp the team was worried about their cornerbacks, and he notes the team is high on 2015 first-round wideout Nelson Agholor as a late-blooming talent. Although, he added the caveat of Agholor’s camp emergence could partially be due to Philly’s substandard corner situation. Graziano adds the Bills were worried about being too young at corner as well. Buffalo has overhauled its cornerback corps this offseason, cutting Nickell Robey-Coleman, letting Stephon Gilmore defect to New England and now trading Darby. The Bills added Shareece Wright, Tre’Davious White, Leonard Johnson and now Gaines. Darby is the latest Bills corner to join the Eagles, following Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks. Graziano notes Darby is a higher-ceiling talent than anyone the Eagles previously had.
  • Graziano added Jordan Matthews not receiving a contract extension so many of his teammates did recently was a bad sign for his future in Philly. Berman points out (via Twitter) Alshon Jeffery is the receiver the Eagles will try to keep long-term. Jeffery signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia in March. A Matthews re-up may have gotten in the way of that for an Eagles team that’s seen the aforementioned extensions tie up its 2018 cap for the time being. The Eagles as of now are projected to have just $1MM in 2018 space.
  • The Rams were the only team to not receive a cornerback in these trades, but Wade Phillips is confident in his group. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) that means Kayvon Webster as well. The 2013 third-round pick’s a bit of an enigma in being buried behind Denver’s dominant trio for three seasons, but he’s in line to start in Los Angeles now. Robey-Coleman and Webster are now the top two candidates to play opposite Trumaine Johnson.
  • LeSean McCoy weighed in on the deal and praised his outgoing teammate while tabbing Matthews — his teammate in Philly for a year — as an inferior receiver to Watkins. “If you compare the two, it’s obvious you can agree who is better,” the Bills running back said, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. McCoy added (via Rodak) he can relate to Watkins being traded for a player who he’s “probably better than” from the Eagles-Bills 2015 swap of McCoy and Kiko Alonso.
  • Watkins was due a $2.4MM bonus last week, according to OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald (on Twitter). He notes unless there was an unreported adjustment in the contract, the bonus was the Bills’, and not the Rams’, responsibility.

Extra Points: Raiders, Steelers, Jeffery

The city of Oakland is attempting a last-ditch effort to keep the Raiders in advance of what promises to be a seminal vote Monday at the owners’ meetings. But this latest $1.3 billion proposal may not be enough to stop the owners from green-lighting a Las Vegas move. Oakland’s updated pitch “did not move the chains forward” with the NFL, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News reports (on Twitter). The league is reviewing the proposal, but Bonsignore adds (Twitter link) the core issues at the root of the NFL’s reluctance regarding this project are not resolved. Bonsignore does not estimate the project can move forward (Twitter link) as presently constructed, setting the stage for a possible third Raiders relocation. This belief would stand to continue the league’s pessimism on the Oakland front.

Here’s the latest from Oakland and the rest of the NFL.

  • The Fortress Investment Group’s involvement in this project may not be a plus investment for the Raiders, who would “have to be in desperate straits” to sign up for an arrangement in which the team wouldn’t have much stake in its own stadium, Stanford economics professor Roger Noll said, via J.K. Dineen of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Even if Las Vegas doesn’t work out, the Raiders could get a better deal in San Diego or St. Louis,” Noll said. “There has never been a major league sports team that has had a deal like this where a third party is the main financier of the stadium and the main beneficiary of the revenue it generates.” The project would in large part be financed by a Fortress loan of $600MM, along with another $500MM loan backed by seat licensing fees, Dineen reports.
  • Dont’a Hightower agreed to take less money from the Patriots than he would have gotten from the Jets as a UFA, but the Steelers also offered the linebacker a better deal, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Pittsburgh offered the sixth-year linebacker a deal that would have paid him more then $9MM per year. He signed to stay with the Patriots for $8.7MM AAV. However, both the Steelers and Jets were concerned with Hightower’s health. This led to the Jets pulling their offer after Hightower’s physical. La Canfora adds the Jets and Steelers felt they were being used as leverage during this process.
  • Mark Sanchez‘s one-year Bears deal is worth $2MM, with $1MM guaranteed, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter). The journeyman backup can earn another $2MM in incentives.
  • A thorough piece on Adam Schefter — by TheMMQB.com’s Tim Rohan — revealed a phone conversation ESPN’s chief NFL reporter had with Alshon Jeffery during the first day of free agency. Rohan reports Jeffery called Schefter asking him how much money the other UFA wide receivers were going to sign for. “It’s all about the guarantee, Alshon,” Schefter said, per Rohan, who noted players sometimes call the longtime NFL reporter with similar queries. “It’s all about the guarantee … Your average per year could be $100 million. It doesn’t matter. If they’re going to guarantee you the majority of the contract, that’s what you want.” Jeffery, who signed with the Eagles, does not remember the events unfolding like this. “I NEVER sought advice from media before I decided to sign my contract with the Eagles,” Jeffery tweeted. The wideout who is attempting to shake off an injury- and suspension-marred past two years signed with Philadelphia for one year and $9.5MM ($8.75MM guaranteed).

Alshon Jeffery’s Deal Worth $9.5MM

Following reports that wideout Alshon Jeffery had signed with the Eagles, we heard that the receiver had signed a one-year deal worth $14MM. Well, we’re now learning that that’s the contract’s peak value.

Alshon Jeffery (vertical)ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets that Jeffery will actually be making $9.5MM on his next contract, and the deal can max out at $14MM. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle adds (via Twitter) that the receiver has a $1MM base salary (guaranteed) and a $7.75MM signing bonus. There’s also a $750K workout bonus and up to $4.5MM in incentive bonuses.

Jeffery was hampered by injures and a suspension over the past two seasons, but he’s still one of the most dynamic wideouts in the NFL. In 2013, Jeffery caught 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven touchdown, and he followed that up with a campaign where he hauled in 85 catches for 1,133 yards and ten scores.

We learned yesterday that the veteran didn’t even consider the Bears, his former team.

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.”

A.J. Bouye, Alshon Jeffery Didn’t Consider Signing With Bears

The Bears will emerge from the opening of free agency having added Mike Glennon, Dion Sims, Markus Wheaton and Will Demps, but Thursday didn’t go according to plan for the franchise, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

A.J. Bouye (vertical)

Chicago attempted to use its boatload of cap space to sign more established players, including top cornerback Stephon Gilmore and A.J. Bouye and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, but the team swung and missed on all counts. While the Bears looked like the favorites to ink Gilmore as recently as Tuesday, he instead joined the Patriots on a mega-deal. Meanwhile, prior to landing his own enormous payday with the Jaguars, Bouye didn’t even give the Bears serious consideration, a source told Biggs.

Like Bouye, Jeffery had no interest in signing with the Bears, multiple sources informed Biggs. He ultimately took a one-year, $14MM offer from the Eagles to leave Chicago, where he spent the first five seasons of his career and emerged as one of the NFL’s top pass catchers.

Should the Bears could continue scouring the open market for potential solutions at either position, some appealing options remain in a dwindling class of free agents. Logan Ryan, Prince Amukamara and Morris Claiborne are among the league’s still-unsigned corners, while Terrelle Pryor is the best wideout without a contract. It’s unclear, though, whether the Bears are interested in any of those players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Rumors: Romo, Baker, Jeffery, Eagles

Tony Romo was “never being waived” by the Cowboys, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). We presume the source means “cut” rather than “waived” since vested veterans cannot be waived in the offseason. Word on Wednesday was that the Cowboys would release Romo, allowing him to sign with another club. Then, on Thursday, it was reported that the Cowboys were expecting to trade the quarterback to the Broncos or Texans. For now, things remain in a holding pattern for Romo.

Here’s more from around the league on Day 1 of official free agency.

  • The Redskins did not end up making an offer to Chris Baker, who agreed to a deal with the Buccaneers, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. Baker joined DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon as higher-end free agents who left Washington this week.
  • Alshon Jeffery looks to be a believer in Carson Wentz. The sixth-year wideout turned out a turned down a multiyear deal with greater security from the Vikings to sign with the Eagles, Ian Rapoport tweets.
  • Torrey Smith‘s Eagles deal is for one year and $5MM, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter), adding that the contract contains two option years. Both option years are worth $5MM apiece. Smith will collect a $500K bonus from what will be his third NFL employer.
  • Chance Warmack signed with the Eagles for one year and $1.51MM, per Pelissero (on Twitter). This looks like a value-re-establishing season for the former Titans first-rounder, who will receive a $500K signing bonus.
  • The SeahawksLuke Joeckel deal is for one year and up to $8MM, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The guaranteed money here isn’t known yet, but Joeckel could do well for himself after seeing seeing the Jaguars pass on his 2017 option in 2016 and then going on IR.
  • New Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall said four teams were on his top tier in terms of giving him the best chance to win: the Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Seahawks, per Art Stapleton of The Record (on Twitter). Marshall has never made the playoffs in 11 seasons. The Giants made their first playoff berth in five years in 2016.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Eagles Sign Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles are signing Alshon Jeffery, according to ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson (on Twitter). The deal will be for one-year and $14MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Alshon Jeffery (Vertical)

The former Bears star is coming off of a so-so year that included a four-game ban for performance-enhancing drugs, but he’s still a major talent and a proven performer. In 2013, Jeffery flashed his full potential when he caught 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns. In the following season, he had 85 catches for 1,133 yards and ten scores. Injuries slowed him in 2015 and he struggled in the Bears’ sluggish offense last season, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that he can rebound in the right system.

Jeffery, 27, has been linked to the Eagles for some time, as Philadelphia was known to be targeting more weapons for quarterback Carson Wentz. Having already signed Torrey Smith, the Eagles have now added Jeffery, the top wide receiver on the market and the No. 2 free agent overall. They’ll get Jeffery at a one-year cost of $14MM, roughly $3MM less than what Jeffery would have earned on a second franchise tag in Chicago

The Titans, 49ers, and Vikings were all thought to be interested in securing Jeffery. Terrelle Pryor is now the best free agent receiver on the board, along with the likes of Terrance Williams, Markus Wheaton, and Cordarrelle Patterson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Interested In Alshon Jeffery

Time to add another team to the Alshon Jeffery sweepstakes. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the Vikings have “entered the fold” for the talented wideout. The reporter notes that the receivers is currently in talks with the Colts, Bears, and Eagles. We’ve heard these names thrown around previously.

Alshon Jeffery (vertical)A suspension and poor quarterback play led to one of the least productive seasons in 2016 for Jeffery, as the wideout hauled in a career-low 52 receptions for 821 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, the 27-year-old would still be an intriguing option for Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense. The team’s receiver depth chart is currently headlined by Stefon Diggs and Jarius Wright, followed by Laquon Treadwell and Isaac Fruechte.

Restricted free agent Adam Thielen led all Vikings receivers last season with 967 receiving yards. Diggs finished the campaign with a team-leading 84 receptions, while tight end Kyle Rudolph caught seven touchdowns.

We listed Jeffery as the best free agent wideout, and Zach Links projected that the receiver would earn the second-highest contract among all free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Alshon Jeffery Leaning Toward Signing With Eagles

Alshon Jeffery is leaning toward choosing the Eagles when free agency starts, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. At last check, both the Colts and Eagles were making “strong pushes” to sign the wide receiver. Now, he could be Philly bound, leaving the Colts and Bears to look elsewhere.

The Eagles found a deep threat receiver on Thursday morning when they agreed to sign Torrey Smith. After that, we got word that they were easing up on their pursuit of a Brandin Cooks trade. Ultimately, a Cooks trade would have cost the Eagles a boatload of draft compensation on top of having to work out a new deal with Cooks at some point in the next two years. If they can sign Jeffery and Smith, they will have given two serious weapons to Carson Wentz without hurting their draft situation.

Remaining in these wideout pursuits despite having one of the worst cap situations in the league, the Eagles would be in a better place offensively by signing Jeffery. With the Bears in 2013 and ’14, the big target surpassed 1,100 yards — going for 1,421 in a Pro Bowl ’13 slate — before injuries and a suspension limited him the past two seasons.

Jeffery rated as PFR’s No. 2 overall free agent. The Eagles showed interest in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt. By adding Smith and Jeffery, they could possibly put Jordan Matthews in the slot full-time and have a layered passing attack, one that also includes Zach Ertz.

Latest On Alshon Jeffery

While the Bears are still discussing a possible re-up with Alshon Jeffery‘s representatives, the market’s top wide receiver is drawing aggressive interest from elsewhere. Both the Colts and Eagles are making “strong pushes” to add the sixth-year wideout, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Rapoport notes (on Twitter) Jeffery continues to discuss a deal to stay in Chicago but is weighing multiple other offers.

The Eagles have been connected to just about every marquee receiver on the market but have watched DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Stills and Kenny Britt agree to sign with other teams. A Jeffery addition would salvage what’s been a wideout-geared offseason for the Eagles thus far.

Indianapolis has more than $47MM in cap space, much more than Philadelphia, but doesn’t have as big of a need at wideout. T.Y. Hilton profiles as a different type of receiver than does Jeffery, but he still led the league in receiving in 2016. The Colts also employ solid No. 2 man Donte Moncrief and drafted Phillip Dorsett in the first round two years ago.

Some trepidation from teams regarding Jeffery’s availability history may be affecting his market, and Jeffery’s best two seasons came in 2013 and ’14 as a No. 2 wideout. But the previously franchise-tagged target figures to cash in, probably for more than $10MM per year based on this layered interest. The Bears, though, would be hit hard if Jeffery left, considering Kevin White has not proven to be reliable. The former first-round pick has missed almost every game during the first two years of his career.