Barkevious Mingo

West Notes: Broncos, Seahawks, Matthews

Sam Darnold‘s itinerary is starting to come into focus. He will spend Friday with the Broncos in Los Angeles working out for Denver brass, Albert Breer of SI.com reports (on Twitter). This will come after Darnold spends Wednesday in Cleveland visiting the Browns. Josh Allen is also expected to visit the Browns on Wednesday. As for the Broncos, they’ve now been linked to meetings or workouts with Darnold, Rosen and Baker Mayfield. And it would seem likely, judging by the type of quarterback prospects John Elway has invested in during his GM tenure, that the 6-foot-5 Allen will also meet with the Broncos. Denver signed Case Keenum but is participating in a thorough process to determine whether they should follow the 2016 Eagles’ or 2017 Bears’ routes by subsequently adding a high draft choice at football’s marquee position. Or, this could be partially about setting up a possible trade-down scenario.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions.

  • Eric Decker‘s best seasons came as Peyton Manning‘s No. 2 wideout, and the eight-year veteran remains a UFA. In Denver for non-football reasons, the 31-year-old receiver expressed interest in returning to the Broncos. “There’s no holdup on my end. Whoever you need to call for me, whoever you need to reach out to, please do,” Decker said in an radio interview with former Broncos wideout Brandon Stokley (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, Twitter link) this week. “Everything’s got to align; the stars have to kind of align for it to all work. But I’m very receptive to make it happen.” The Broncos have needed a No. 3 wideout since Wes Welker‘s exit, with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders having to carry most of the aerial attack’s load over the past three years. Decker caught 54 passes for 563 yards and a touchdown for the Titans last season, playing in all 16 games after suffering severe injuries in 2016.
  • Jordan Matthews is seeking a deal worth at least $5MM per year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com tweets. The Cardinals had an offer out to Matthews, but that was before news of their Brice Butler signing emerged. Matthews also visited the Packers and Patriots.
  • John Schneider said Barkevious Mingo was “pretty much” the Seahawks‘ top priority this offseason, and Pete Carroll detailed (via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com) what the former top-10 pick’s role will be in Seattle. Mingo will slide into the spot Bruce Irvin used to occupy, playing outside linebacker in base sets and shifting to defensive end on passing downs. Schneider said the former LSU standout will have more pass-rushing opportunities with the Seahawks than he’s had at other stops. Mingo has recorded two sacks over the past three seasons.
  • Despite Tom Johnson being a Vikings starter last season, the Seahawks want his former teammate who trekked to Seattle with him, Shamar Stephen, to be a starter over Johnson this year. Henderson notes Stephen, not Johnson, is in line to start alongside nose tackle Jarran Reed. Seattle’s eyeing the soon-to-be 34-year-old Johnson as a rotational presence. A 16-game starter for the 2016 Vikings, Stephen played a depth role behind Johnson and Linval Joseph last season.
  • Jordan Taylor is now the clubhouse leader to be the 2018 Broncos‘ punt returner, but he won’t have a chance to work with the team over the offseason. Multiple hip injuries required surgery on one hip labrum and rehab on the other. He won’t be available until training camp, per Troy Renck of Denver7.

Jets Targeted Jerick McKinnon, Weston Richburg, Others

The Jets looked to be Kirk Cousinsbackup plan, and the franchise had to move on to some its own contingency signings soon after. Most notably, the Jets sought a backfield option that ended up in San Francisco.

Despite entering free agency with more than $90MM in cap space, the Jets could not land Jerick McKinnon. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports the Mike Maccagnan-led franchise put a “full-court press” on the former Vikings running back, only to see him join the 49ers instead.

While McKinnon looked to be the main target that got away, the Jets also had interest in Weston Richburg, with “strong plays” for defenders DaQuan Jones and Barkevious Mingo also not working out for Gang Green, Mehta reports.

Once the Jets didn’t sign McKinnon, they moved on to Isaiah Crowell. However, Mehta reports the Jets agreeing to terms with McKinnon would not have precluded them from adding Crowell as well. Although, the team already has Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire.

Mehta reports the Jets felt their offer was strong enough to close a deal with the 25-year-old McKinnon, but the team also felt Kyle Shanahan was determined to win a bidding war. The end result shows that to be the case. The four-year, $30MM contract makes McKinnon one of the league’s highest-paid running backs.

The 49ers also beat the Jets on Richburg, but it doesn’t sound like the competition was as fierce between the two franchises as it was for McKinnon. New York eyed Richburg but knew the ex-Giants center was going to sign for more than what the team was willing to pay him. Despite having less cap space than the Jets, the 49ers signed Richburg for five years and $47.5MM.

Jones ended up re-upping with the Titans instead of replacing Muhammad Wilkerson on the Jets’ front, signing for three years and $21MM. Mingo will be one of the players the Seahawks turn to in an effort to replace Michael Bennett. The Jets’ interest in Mingo may not have been too strong, with it only taking a two-year, $6.8MM deal for the Seahawks to sign him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks To Sign Barkevious Mingo

Seattle is set to sign former Colts linebacker Barkevious Mingo to a two-year deal worth $6.8 MM, with $3.2 MM in full guarantees, ESPN’s Brady Henderson tweets.

The deal also includes a $2.2 MM signing bonus, base salaries of $1 MM (2018) and $3 MM (2019), and $300,000 in per-game active roster bonuses. There are also incentives tied to sacks, playing time and the Pro Bowl. Mingo’s cap number for 2018 comes out to be $2.4 MM.

The No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Browns, Mingo is coming off a two-sack campaign after signing with Indianapolis in the 2017 offseason. With Michael Bennett now in Philadelphia and defensive end Cliff Avril considering retirement, it made sense for Seattle to make a move for a pass rusher.

Mingo will team with Frank Clark and presumably Dion Jordan, who was tendered as a first-round pick, as Seattle’s rushers coming off the edge.

 

Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

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. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive 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 defensive position for 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Colts To Sign Barkevious Mingo

The Colts lost out on some marquee free agents on Day 1 of the NFL’s player-movement period but agreed to sign an auxiliary pass-rusher in Barkevious Mingo. The deal is for one year and $2.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets that the deal includes $500K in guaranteed money.Barkevious Mingo (Vertical)

Indianapolis entered free agency with a glaring need at the edge-rushing spots, with much of its 2016 sack total associated with UFAs or players that retired. Mingo will join the Colts as a former first-round pick but one who hasn’t lived up to his potential. Mingo registered seven sacks with the Browns in 2013-14 but none since, and the Patriots acquired him for a 2017 fifth-round pick.

Trent Cole and Erik Walden entered free agency, and Robert Mathis retired after the 2016 season. Those three were responsible for 18 Colts sacks last season. Mingo figures to play a depth role in Indy as he attempts to recapture some of the promise that made him the No. 6 pick in 2013.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Hidden Value Of Barkevious Mingo

The Twitter-verse was quick to decide a winner in yesterday’s trade of linebacker Barkevious Mingo from the Browns to the Patriots, with the new potential outcomes for the former sixth overall pick ranging from Pro Bowler to Hall of Famer. Bill Belichick has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to wringing out every last bit of talent from an unheralded player, but the New England head coach might be playing an entirely different game altogether: mastering the NFL’s compensatory pick system.Bill Belichick (Vertical)

[RELATED: Former Belichick protege (and current Lions GM) Bob Quinn had interest in Mingo]

While the league has never disclosed the formula that it uses when calculating which clubs receive compensatory selections, the basics of the process are known. Essentially, comp picks are granted to teams that lose more compensatory players than they sign during the free agent period. Each club can receive a maximum of four comp selections, and while the specifics of the method aren’t made public, analysts such as Nick Korte of Over the Cap have reverse-engineered the exercise to reveal that average salary and play time are key factors.

The Patriots, among other teams, have taken advantage of this arrangement for years by staying out of the big-ticket free agent market. As Bill Barnwell of Grantland explained last January:

By [not signing expensive free agents] and having other teams target their free agents, the Patriots come in line for various compensatory picks from the NFL’s obtuse, black-box system. These picks aren’t tradable (ed. note: comp picks will be tradable beginning in 2017), and no team can receive anything higher than a third-rounder as part of the league’s system, but their value can add up over time. The Patriots have made 25 compensatory selections during Belichick’s time with the team, and the estimated value of those picks — based on their draft slot alone — is roughly between the value of having the first overall pick and the second overall pick. All for not signing free agents.

But Belichick and the rest of the New England front office have also been targeting another ripe area of the NFL’s structure: the trade market, and more specifically, the trade market for players nearing the end of their contracts. Mingo is the latest example, but over the past several years, the Patriots have looked to acquire players who were close to reaching the free agent market, presumably in the hopes that yet another compensatory pick might come their way.

Read more

Lions Had Interest in Barkevious Mingo

Before he was traded to the Patriots, the Lions expressed interest in acquiring linebacker Barkevious Mingo from the Browns, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Barkevious Mingo (vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Trade Barkevious Mingo To Patriots]

The Patriots gave up a fifth-round pick to acquire Mingo, a price higher than you might expect for a player who was mostly relegated to special teams duty last season. With other teams like the Lions in need of linebacker help, the price for the former top ten pick creeped up.

Earlier this month, the Lions learned that linebacker Jon Bostic will be sidelined for a while following an unspecified surgery. While Bostic was not slated to start, he was expected to be a key reserve. The Lions are planning to start Kyle Van Noy, Tahir Whitehead, and DeAndre Levy with the likes of Josh Bynes, fifth-round pick Antwione Williams, Jerry Franklin, and Khaseem Greene in reserve.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Trade Barkevious Mingo To Patriots

The Browns have agreed to trade Barkevious Mingo to the Patriots, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Browns will receive a 2017 fifth-round pick in return, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (on Twitter). Both teams have confirmed the swap via press release.

Barkevious Mingo (vertical)

[RELATED: Download The Must-Have Trade Rumors App Today!]

With Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, and Shea McClellin nursing injuries, Mingo could be a valuable fill-in for New England. Of course, all of those injuries only further weakened the front seven after the Pats traded Chandler Jones to the Cardinals earlier this offseason.

Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft, had his fifth-year option for 2017 declined earlier this offseason. Mingo has basically become a special teams guy for the Browns – a far cry from what they expected from him a few short years ago. The LSU product was not considered a lock to even make the team this offseason and the Browns apparently will get something for him rather than nothing.

Last season, Mingo played 256 defensive snaps and did not record a single sack. He recorded 5.0 sacks as a rookie, but his production has decreased in every season since then.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Le’Veon, Steelers, Browns

Although Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell recently suggested through song that he’s worth $15MM annually, there’s almost no chance that he’d earn that salary on the open market. Adrian Peterson is currently the highest-paid running back on an average annual basis at $14MM, while LeSean McCoy, at roughly $8MM per season, is second. Bell, who would have to redefine the running back market in order to land $15MM, walked back his comments while speaking with James Walker of ESPN.com today.

“I’m not a real greedy guy. I don’t play football just for money or things like that,” said Bell, while also reiterating that he’ll be ready for training camp after spending the offseason recovering from a MCL/PCL injury. “I just want to be valued. Wherever it is — whether its $15 million or lower or higher, whatever it is – I think we will get to an agreement eventually. “Obviously, I want to be a Steeler for my whole life. My family grew up Pittsburgh Steelers fans, and it’s crazy I even got drafted there. So I want to be with them and hopefully we’ll reach an agreement. But that will take place once that time come.”

Here’s a few more items from the AFC North:

Browns Decline Option On Barkevious Mingo

The Browns will not pick up the fifth-year option on linebacker Barkevious Mingo, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Mingo is now entering his contract year in Cleveland. Barkevious Mingo (vertical)

Mingo, an LSU product, was taken with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2013 draft. That draft, of course, was guided by the Browns’ old regime spearheaded by former GM Michael Lombardi and assistant GM Ray Farmer. The new decision-makers would like to see more from Mingo before potentially committing to him for 2017 and beyond.

Mingo, 26 in October, has appeared in 46 games for the Browns across the last three years but started only 16 games. Last season was Mingo’s least impactful campaign to date as he notched only 18 total tackles. This year, Mingo will try to silence critics who have justifiably labeled him as a draft bust.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.