The Falcons agreed to sign offensive tackle Austin Pasztor to a one-year deal, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Pasztor, 28 next month, was with the Falcons last year, so he’s already familiar with the club’s blocking schemes.
Last year, the veteran didn’t land a free agent contract until August, and went on to appear in only seven games as a reserve for the Falcons. This year, he was with Atlanta through the offseason, but missed the team’s final cut.
Pasztor’s career has taken him through a few different cities and multiple positions. In 2016, he turned in an excellent year as the Browns’ right tackle, but garnered little interest as a starter in the offseason. Prior to that season, he moved between left guard and right tackle for the Browns and Jags.
The Falcons are banking on Pasztor and others to fortify their starting line in the wake of multiple injuries to the front five. On Tuesday, right guard Brandon Fusco joined left guard Andy Levitre on IR, prompting the Falcons to pluck Rees Odhiambo from the Colts’ taxi squad. For now, Ben Garland seems likely to start at RG with Wes Schweitzer continuing on the left side.
Here’s a rundown of today’s NFL workouts. Each workout comes from Howard Balzer’s (on Twitter), unless noted otherwise:
- G Oday Aboushi, TE John Phillips, TE Gavin Escobar, G Austin Pasztor, S Rolan Milligan, S Fish Smithson
- RBs Charcandrick West, RB Devante Mays, LB Corey Nelson, CB Jalen Myrick (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of SiriusXM)
- CB Tony Lippett
Los Angeles Rams
Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. Links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise noted.
- C Jake Eldrenkamp (visit), WR Chad Hansen, WR Blake Jackson, WR Korey Robertson, WR Damore’ea Stringfellow (link)
Kansas City Chiefs
- DE Will Clarke, DT Winston Craig, T Antonio Garcia, DE Alec James, T Dieugot Joseph, DT Lewis Neal, T Corey Robinson, DT DeShawn Williams (link)
New York Jets
- WR J.J. Jones, S Charlie Miller, RB Donnel Pumphrey, C Jon Toth, T Toby Weathersby, RB Ralph Webb (link)
- LB B.J. Bello, S Ibraheim Campbell, DT Winston Craig (visit), CB Dexter McDougle, CB Quinten Rollins (Twitter links via Balzer and Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- DTs Josh Banks, Henry Mondeaux, Aziz Shittu; TEs Pharoah Brown, Donnie Ernsberger; LBs Obum Gwacham, Calvin Munson, Jacob Pugh; DEs Anthony Lanier, Damontre Moore; CB Kalan Reed
- WR Reggie Davis; S Marwin Evans; CB D.J. Killings; DE Cameron Malveaux; OTs Rees Odhiambo, William Poehls, De’Ondre Wesley
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Looks like the Browns are searching for defensive help, working out a slew of players on that side of the ball. Jones working out for the Patriots is interesting, as he isn’t really young enough to be seen as a developmental project, and Brian Hoyer is entrenched as Tom Brady‘s backup.
Today’s workout updates, with all links going to NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s of Twitter account unless otherwise noted:
- G Jonathan Cooper, G Dillon Day, G Jamil Douglas, C T.J. Johnson, G Austin Pasztor, G Ian Silberman, T Darrell Williams. (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley)
- S Quin Blanding, DT Joshua Frazier, S Mike Mitchell, DT Elijah Qualls, DE Charles Tapper (Twitter links via Balzer and Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan)
- S Andrew Adams, CB David Amerson, CB Alex Carter, CB Michael Hunter, CB Jeremy Lane (via the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, on Twitter)
- CB Johnathan Alston, CB De’Vante Bausby, S Kurtis Drummond, Jackson Porter, CB Josh Shaw (Visit, link)
New York Jets
- CB De’Vante Bausby, DT Michael Bennett, WR Jace Billingsley, T Gerhard de Beer, LB Azeem Victor, Adolphus Washington (link)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- TE Nick O’Leary (link)
The Falcons have released veteran offensive tackle Austin Pasztor, the club announced today.
Pasztor, 27, was excellent as the Browns’ right tackle in 2016, but he surprisingly hasn’t garnered any interest as a starter since that season. Last year, he didn’t land a free agent contract until August, and went on to appear in only seven games as a reserve for the Falcons.
In addition to releasing Pasztor, Atlanta reached an injury settlement with cornerback Leon McFadden and cut him from injured reserve.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Pasztor, 27, was excellent as the Browns’ right tackle in 2016, but he surprisingly hasn’t garnered any interest as a starter since that season. Last year, he didn’t land a free agent contract until August, and went on to appear in only seven games as a reserve for the Falcons. Capable of playing both tackle and guard, Pasztor will likely continue as a backup in 2018, although he could compete to start at guard.
McFadden, a former third-round pick, signed with the Falcons in December but never played in a contest with the club. He’ll offer depth in the secondary, but his primary role will be on special teams if he makes the roster.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.
Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they 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 are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.
We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.
Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:
- Kirk Cousins
- Drew Brees
- Case Keenum
- A.J. McCarron
- Sam Bradford
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Colin Kaepernick
- Josh McCown
- Mike Glennon
- Drew Stanton
- Jay Cutler
- Chase Daniel
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Brock Osweiler
- Tom Savage
There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.
Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.
Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.
There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.
What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.
Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.
Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.
Browns coach Hue Jackson announced that DeShone Kizer will start the team’s third preseason game against Tampa Bay. This as a sign that Kizer is in the lead for the Browns’ starting QB job, despite talk of Brock Osweiler being in the catbird seat this summer.
“He is certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season,” said the coach.
In two preseason games, the Notre Dame product has completed 19-of-31 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown. Kizer also added 47 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. The Browns’ season begins on Sept. 10 when they face the Steelers in Cleveland.
Here’s more from around the NFL:
- Newly signed Falcons tackle Austin Pasztor is dealing with a pectoral injury, as D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. He will not play in Saturday’s preseason game and there is no definitive word on his status for Week 1 one way or the other. He is expected to serve as the first tackle off of the bench behind starters Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder.
- As expected, Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has been officially charged with first degree misdemeanor battery, criminal mischief, and petty theft, per TMZ Sports. Fowler was originally arrested in St. Petersburg, Florida in mid-July following an incident of apparent road rage. Subsequent reports have indicated Fowler was also arrested in March 2016 after an altercation with a police officer. If convicted, Fowler could face a year in jail.
- Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell announced that he’ll be joining the team next Friday.
Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.