Andre Holmes

Broncos Place Lindsay, Holmes On IR

A formality at this point, the Broncos ended their starting running back’s season. Phillip Lindsay is now on IR, and late-season wide receiver addition Andre Holmes will join him.

Denver added outside linebacker Aaron Wallace and cornerback Horace Richardson to take their roster spots. Neither player was on the Broncos’ practice squad previously. Richardson will come to Denver from the Chiefs’ practice squad, while Wallace previously resided on the Bengals’ taxi squad.

Lindsay became the first UDFA offensive player to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie and will conclude his first NFL season as the Broncos’ first rookie 1,000-yard back since Clinton Portis in 2002. Lindsay is signed through the 2020 season; because of his UDFA status, the Denver native’s contract can be renegotiated after next season.

Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker will take handoffs for the Broncos against the Chargers, and the tandem may well be the Denver OTA ball-carriers. Lindsay is expected to need as many as four months to recover from the wrist surgery he is scheduled to undergo Friday, per Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter).

Claimed off waivers just after Emmanuel Sanders tore one of his Achilles’ tendons, Holmes caught one pass during his Broncos tenure. He is under contract through 2019, but that deal has no additional guaranteed money left on it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Hawks, 49ers, Broncos, Chiefs

Before he signed with a one-year, $8MM deal with the Vikings in March, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson received a $4-5MM offer to stay with the Seahawks, as he explained to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link). “The contract they offered me was terrible. It wasn’t what they told me when I left after the exit meetings,” Richardson said. “When my agent told me the offer, I told him, ‘They can keep that.’” Richardson has excelled for Minnesota this season: Pro Football Focus currently grades him as the league’s No. 36 interior defender, while Richardson is tied for sixth among defensive tackles with 14 quarterback hits. Given that he only inked a one-year pact, Richardson will be able to hit the free agent market again in 2019 at the age of 28.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • In her first comments to the media after Reuben Foster was arrested on domestic violence charges in Tampa last month, Foster’s ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis indicated the 49ers attempted to intervene during Foster’s arrest. It’s unclear whether Ennis was referring to San Francisco staffers or other players, but the club has issued a statement nonetheless. “The 49ers fully cooperated with authorities, assisted in locating Mr. Foster and in no way impeded their investigation,” said the team. San Francisco, of course, immediately waived Foster following the arrest, but he was claimed by the Redskins. Tampa Police are still reviewing the case against Foster, but an arraignment is tentatively scheduled for January 3, tweets Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The Broncos lost one of their most important offensive players in Emmanuel Sanders on Wednesday, but they did get a little lucky in acquiring fellow receiver Andre Holmes off waivers from the Bills, as Mike Klis of 9News explains (Twitter link). Sanders went down with a torn Achilles at 12:06 MT, and Denver’s doctors had diagnosed him 14 minutes later. When practice ended at 1:20, Broncos offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave relayed to the club’s personnel department that he had coached Holmes while the two were in Oakland. Five minutes before the waiver deadline, the Broncos put in a claim on Holmes.
  • Austin Reiter‘s two-year extension with the Chiefs has a maximum value of $5.5MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Reiter, a reserve offensive lineman, will receive a $1MM signing bonus that, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com notes (via Twitter) will prorate over three seasons given that Reiter signed his new deal before the close of the 2018 campaign. Reiter, 27, was projected to become a restricted free agent next spring, but he’ll now get a little more financial security instead of a non-guaranteed RFA tag. He started four games at center for Kansas City earlier this year while Mitch Morse was injured.
  • Seahawks guard D.J. Fluker is expected to miss several weeks with a hamstring strain, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Fluker, who inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Seattle this year, hasn’t played very well during his first season in the Pacific Northwest, as PFF grades him as a bottom-15 guard among 79 qualifiers. Former undrafted free agent Jordan Simmons will take over at right guard for the time being.

Broncos Claim WR Andre Holmes

The Broncos claimed wide receiver Andre Holmes off waivers, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Broncos will turn to Holmes for receiving help after the loss of Emmanuel Sanders to an unfortunate Achilles injury. 

Prior to being released by the Bills on Tuesday, Holmes had 12 catches for 157 yards on the season. He’ll have to quickly get familiar with his new team, but his time with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave in Oakland should help.

Holmes played his best football in Oakland, including a 2014 season in which he caught 47 passes for 693 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, he’s been much more of a role player and has not amassed more than 14 grabs in a season. But, in Denver, he may have a chance to shine now that Sanders is out of action and Demaryius Thomas is in Houston.

Holmes will have an opportunity to make his Broncos debut on Sunday against the Niners.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Release WR Kelvin Benjamin

The Bills released wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes, according to a team press release. The release of Benjamin is particularly shocking given his resume. 

Benjamin came to the Bills in a blockbuster trade deadline deal last year. Since then, Benjamin has logged just 40 catches in 19 games, including the team’s low-scoring playoff loss to the Jaguars.

Because this year’s trade deadline is in the rear view mirror, both Benjamin and Holmes will be subject to waivers, even though they are both vested veterans. Benjamin is likely to find a new home whether he’s claimed or not, and that will mark his third team in 13 months.

Any team claiming Benjamin off waivers would be responsible for the remaining prorated portion of his base salary, which comes out to a little under $2MM. It’s a high price to pay, but Benjamin could make for an interesting rental since he is due for unrestricted free agency in March. Of course, if he is not claimed, the Bills will be on the hook for that cash.

There was no weird behind the scenes incident to prompt the release of either player, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Rather, the Bills simply wanted to get younger and audition players who factor into their plans for 2019 and beyond.

Benjamin, 27, has just 23 catches for 354 yards and one touchdown in 12 games this season, numbers that are a far cry from his best seasons with the Panthers. His conditioning has been questioned by many, his route running errors been glaring, and he no longer appears to be on the path to superstardom. A change of scenery may help Benjamin, but he’ll have to really explode down the stretch in order to position himself for a lucrative free agent deal.

Holmes, 30, was barely involved in the offense for Buffalo. In his 12 games, Holmes had just 12 grabs for 157 yards and zero scores.

In related moves, the Bills also promoted defensive end Mike Love and cornerback Denzel Rice to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Place WR Andre Holmes On IR

The Bills have lost one of their receivers for the year as the team has decided to place Andre Holmes on the injured reserve with a neck injury, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter link). We learned yesterday that backup running back Travaris Cadet was out for the year as well after suffering an ankle injury in Week 16. The team has also placed him on the IR today. In response to the injuries, Buffalo has promoted running back Marcus Murphy and wide receiver Malachi Dupree from their practice squad.

Andre Holmes (Vertical)

Holmes, 29, was not a huge part of the Bills passing game this season, but still did have his brief moments. Holmes’ best game came against the Raiders in late October when he caught 3 passes for 51 yards and his second touchdown of the season.

With the injury, the Bills will continue to use Deonte Thompson and Brandon Tate as backups to Kelvin Benjamin and rookie Zay Jones. Buffalo needs to win in Miami and get some help in Week 17 in order to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Bengals, Flacco, Boldin, Landry

PFR sends best wishes to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who “will be taking time away from the team to focus on a minor health issue,” according to a club announcement. Specifically, Lewis is dealing with a Baker’s Cyst on his ankle, but the initial fear was that he had a blood clot, per Stacey Dales of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Bengals expect Lewis to return sometime this week, fortunately, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons will hold the reins as long as he’s out.

More from the AFC:

  • There’s no comeback date for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s dealing with a back injury, but a second opinion last week yielded news that was “positive for a slow return,” a league source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). The Ravens can afford to be patient with Flacco because he’s a 10-year veteran who has a full understanding of their offense, noted head coach John Harbaugh. “Every play we’ve run, he’s run before numerous times,” Harbaugh said.
  • The Bills’ signing of Anquan Boldin could help put them in position to land a third-round compensatory pick next offseason, writes Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. Because the Bills signed seven free agents and lost five prior to May 9, the cutoff date for the compensatory formula, they aren’t poised to receive a pick at the moment. But Boldin may make one of those signings, wideout Andre Holmes, expendable, and Rodak lists fellow FA additions Vlad Ducasse (guard) and Ryan Davis (defensive end) as release candidates. Parting with all three would give the Bills more losses than signings (five to four), thus netting them a valuable pick for 2018.
  • This week, the girlfriend of Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry issued a statement regarding the allegations that were raised against him earlier this year (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). “In March of 2017 the father of my child and I had a vocal disagreement that resulted in someone calling 911. I, myself did not call the police. When the police arrived they determined that there was no cause for any arrests nor was there any concern for my physical well-being. There were no arrests made, there were no criminal charges, I was not in any way physically harmed Yes, we are going through a civil family court case and emotions are high, but I would like to make it very clear that Jarvis would never, ever do anything to harm me or anyone else. Jarvis and I are happily raising our beautiful daughter and I would like to make a plea to the media that they refrain from spreading this completely false story.”

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC Notes: Chiefs, Browns, Kap, Bills

The latest news and notes from the AFC:

  • The Chiefs have announced several changes to their front office, including the hiring of Tim Terry as director of pro personnel and the promotion of Ryan Poles from college scouting coordinator to director of college scouting. Terry is joining his second NFL organization after spending the first 13 years of his career in Green Bay, where he was most recently the team’s assistant director of pro personnel. General manager John Dorsey was in the Packers’ front office before the Chiefs hired him in 2013, so he’s already familiar with Terry. Kansas City’s Dorsey-led front office also pried Chris Shea away from Philadelphia. Shea, the Chiefs’ new salary cap and legal executive, previously served as the Eagles’ director of scouting administration.
  • Former NFL head coach and current 49ers assistant Eric Mangini believes that Colin Kaepernick would be a great fit for the Browns.  “I think as the market settles and people start looking at these young quarterbacks they brought in and start evaluating the quarterback situation, they might realize it may not look as good as they hoped it would be,” Mangini told PFT. “I always thought he would be a good fit for the Browns. Hue [Jackson’s] system is multiple shifts and motions, and that’s what he did in San Francisco. Hue has an element of quarterback-driven runs, I think Colin is excellent as that. As a candidate, him vs. RGIII a year ago, I’d take Colin 10 times out of 10.” So far, the Browns have shown no interest in Kaepernick. To date, only Seattle has given him a real look.
  • Currently, the Bills are not projected to receive any 2018 compensatory picks because they signed more unrestricted free agents (seven) to qualifying contracts than they lost to other teams (five). However, the Bills can change that, as Mike Rodak of ESPN.com writes. By releasing a total of four of their seven signed free agents between now and Week 10, the Bills would be projected to tack on two compensatory picks – one being a third-rounder for losing cornerback Stephon Gilmore plus a fourth-rounder for losing wide receiver Robert Woods. The most likely UFAs to go, in Rodak’s estimation, are defensive end Ryan Davis, offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse, and wide receiver Andre Holmes. To secure that fourth-round pick, they could also cut fullback Patrick DiMarco or kicker Steven Hauschka.

North Notes: Vikes, Lions, Bengals, Packers

While the Vikings made contact with free agent Andre Holmes before he signed with the Bills, Minnesota “never got serious” about inking the veteran pass-catcher, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The Lions had also been mentioned as a potential suitor for Holmes (and even had him in for a visit), but Detroit likely bowed out because Anquan Boldin may re-sign for the 2017 campaign, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the NFC North:

Bills Sign Andre Holmes

It looks to be the real thing this time. Andre Holmes is signing with the Bills, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The former Raiders wide receiver drew an offer from Buffalo this week, one that was mistaken for an agreement by the NFLPA. The Bills announced the move.

It’s a three-year pact worth $6.5MM, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This proves interesting since the Bills’ leaked offer was for three years and $4.5MM. This stands to provide the Bills a pass-catcher with some experience, albeit with a bit of an inconsistent track record. This appears to conclude an interesting situation, one that revealed the terms of Buffalo’s offer to the sixth-year wide receiver before he actually agreed to terms. Three days later, though, Holmes looks to be on his way to western New York.

The 28-year-old Holmes played the past four seasons as a member of the Raiders, drifting downward in Oakland’s pass-catching pecking order as the team continued to stock its receiving corps. The Raiders re-signed Holmes on a one-year deal last spring but used him as their No. 4 receiver. Previously having accumulated a 693-yard, four-touchdown season on a less talented 2014 Raiders team, Holmes caught just 14 passes for 126 yards while playing behind Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Seth Roberts last season. A former UDFA, Holmes did haul in three touchdown passes in 2016.

He actually commanded considerable interest this offseason, with as many as six teams pursuing the UFA wideout. Holmes visited the Lions but opted to sign on with the Bills as one of Sammy Watkins‘ sidekicks.

He joins a Bills team that lost No. 2 man Robert Woods in free agency and saw Percy Harvin retire again. Holmes should have a better path to regular playing time in Buffalo, which added potential supporting-casters Corey Brown and Jeremy Butler this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

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 offensive 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 offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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