Bashaud Breeland

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

There are still plenty of impact free agents left on the board, including some big names. Here’s a look at some of the high-profile veterans that are still looking for work in advance of training camp: 

Kaepernick probably stands as the most talented quarterback left on the open market, but his ongoing collusion case against the NFL complicated matters. It seems unlikely that he’ll land anywhere between now and the start of the season, but friend and former teammate Eric Reid probably has a better chance of signing somewhere, despite being in a similar boat. Recently, the duo was spotted working out together in California.

It seems like just yesterday that Murray was the league’s most fearsome running back. Unfortunately, Murray’s age has caught up to him to some extent and he was overshadowed last year in Tennessee by the younger Derrick HenryThe Titans dropped Murray in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the LionsSeahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Recently, the Saints tried to include Murray in their cattle call for running backs, but he declined the invite.

Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. It’s possible that Murray and Peterson won’t sign unless a running back injury opens up an opportunity for them. Teams could also steer clear of Peterson altogether given his desire for a starring role despite his lack of star performance over the last two years.

Bryant is the biggest name on this list, but we shouldn’t expect to see him sign anywhere until July. There have been conflicting reports on his market, but the latest word indicates that he is receiving interest, despite concerns about his demeanor in the locker room.

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NFC Notes: Bradford, Cardinals, Breeland, Rodgers-Cromartie, Giants

Sam Bradford‘s tenure as the Cardinals’ unquestioned starting quarterback didn’t last long. Just a month after signing a one-year $20MM deal with an option for a second year, the Cardinals selected Josh Rosen 10th overall. The move suggested that the Cardinals don’t view Bradford as their longterm answer, and see him more as a bridge quarterback/stopgap option.

If Bradford plays well though, it will be hard for the Cardinals to turn to Rosen and Bradford has certainly shown he’s capable of playing at a high level when he’s able to stay healthy. Bradford’s health may end up being the determining factor for when Rosen sees the field, and Bradford is apparently now beginning to ramp up his on-field work according to Mike Jurecki (Twitter link).

Jurecki reports that Bradford “will be able to participate more in the mandatory minicamp” this week and that as long as Bradford is healthy he thinks he’ll be the week one starter, noting that Bradford’s “accuracy has been impressive during workouts.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has made it clear he still wants to play, and told reporters at Landon Collins‘ charity softball game that he “knows where he will sign before training camp”, according to Paul Schwartz of the NY Post (Twitter link). Rodgers-Cromartie said he didn’t want to do OTAs anywhere and told the assembled Giants writers that “Y’all might see me again.” Schwartz added in a follow-up tweet that he thought Rodgers-Cromartie was referring to playing against the Giants this upcoming season, perhaps for a division rival.
  • Despite a recent report that the Cardinals wanted to re-evaluate cornerback Bashaud Breeland in a “few weeks”, Jurecki tweets that “as of today, he’s not on the radar” for the Cardinals. Breeland agreed to a three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers earlier this offseason, but the deal was nullified due to a foot injury Breeland suffered.
  • In case you missed it, Odell Beckham Jr.’s ankle may be what is causing the Giants to move slowly on an extension for their star wide receiver.

Latest On Cardinals, CB Baushad Breeland

Free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland met with the Cardinals earlier this month, and though he left without a contract in place, a union between two parties doesn’t seem to be off the table. Arizona wants to evaluate Breeland again in a “few weeks,” reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Breeland’s health is almost certainly the issue at hand, as the 26-year-old saw his three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers nullified after he failed his physical. A freak injury resulted in a cut on Breeland’s foot that will require a skin graft, meaning he won’t be able to sign until he heals, which could be at some point this summer. Overall, the health issue — which occurred when a stray golf ball hit Breeland and re-opened a wound he suffered in grade school — sounds relatively minor, and likely won’t scare clubs for the long-term.

After meeting with Breeland, the Cardinals made a separate move for cornerback help, acquiring Jamar Taylor from the Browns in exchange for a 2020 sixth-round pick. Taylor, who has since adjusted his contract, appears to be line to start opposite Patrick Peterson, filling the hole left by free agent defection Tramon Williams. However, Taylor does have ample experience in the slot, meaning he could theoretically move inside if Arizona does ultimately add Breeland.

His current health question marks aside, Breeland has been an unqualified success since entering the NFL as a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. Despite being selected 102nd overall, Breeland has started the 13th-most games of any player drafted in 2014. Last year, Pro Football Focus graded Breeland as the league’s No. 54 cornerback among 121 qualifiers, while he finished 16th in Football Outsiders’ success rate, meaning he was effective at stopping opposing receivers short of the sticks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

The biggest names in this year’s free agent class such as Kirk Cousins, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and Trumaine Johnson have long been spoken for, but plenty of notable players remain on the board here in June. With a hat tip to James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter), here’s a look at some high-profile veterans who are still seeking work this summer: 

Of course, Kaepernick’s situation is more complicated than the rest. Lately, the only updates we’ve heard regarding Kaepernick have been tied to his pending collusion case against the NFL. Former teammate Reid is certainly closer to the NFL radar after an April meeting with the Bengals, but he also believes teams are shying away from him due to his participation in anthem protests. Reid filed a grievance of his own against the NFL in May and has been spotted working out with Kaepernick.

Unfortunately for Murray and Peterson, filing a grievance for age bias against running backs is not an option. The Titans kicked Murray to the curb in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the Lions, Seahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. Given Peterson’s reluctance to be on the lower end of a timeshare in New Orleans last year, one has to imagine that Peterson will not be a real consideration for teams unless a starter gets injured in camp. Murray could be a more attractive option for teams. Although he averaged just 3.6 yards per tote with the Titans last year, he contributed in the passing game with 39 receptions.

Bryant says he has no regrets about turning down a three-year, $21MM offer from the Ravens, but right now it looks like he blew his opportunity at a solid free agent deal. Reportedly, many teams are unwilling to consider him for even the league minimum, so it seems unlikely that he’ll find the lucrative one-year contract he’s seeking. On the plus side, his former employer says multiple teams have checked in on him.

Things have been eerily quiet for Maclin after he was displaced by the Ravens, though the Eagles and Cowboys considered him internally in the spring. We also haven’t heard a peep about Decker since his spring meetings with the Raiders and Ravens. Both players are roughly in the same boat – they were 1,000-yard receivers in 2015, but they are on the wrong side of 30 and haven’t done much on the field in the last two years. Still, both profile as low-risk/high-reward signings.

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Extra Points: Rams, Manziel, Eagles, Colts

The majority of the 2018 NFL Draft class is now signed, but that’s not the case in Los Angeles. The Rams have yet to sign a single pick.

Should fans be concerned? To put it simply, no.

This isn’t new to the team, as Michael David Smith of PFT writes, as it likes to address financial planning with its players before giving them a large signing bonus. Like in years past, the Rams rookies will all generally sign at once sometime in the next few weeks.

“One of the things that we think is important with that is bringing the rookies in as a group, having them live together as a group, and not having any real differentiation between the first-round pick and the undrafted rookie,” Demoff said. “They’re in the hotel together. They’re eating meals together. They’re doing things together. And then [by the time] they all scatter, we’ll sign their contracts. They’ll leave knowing the contract’s done, so they don’t have to worry about that headache when they go on vacation.”

So no need to panic Rams fans. This is par for the course.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Eagles signed running back Matt Jones earlier in the week. The Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski has the details at two years for $1.5MM, none of which are guaranteed (Twitter link). He joins a crowded backfield that includes Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles.
  • The Colts have had visits from Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston and Bashaud Breeland in recent days. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star tweets, however, the meetings were merely informational and no signings are imminent.
  • And we’ll also make pitstop in the CFL, where Johnny Manziel is not guaranteed to start for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith writes. Smith quotes head coach June Jones, who praised current starter and former Oregon standout Jeremiah Masoli. “Let me tell you something right now, he’s got his work ahead of him to beat out Jeremiah,” Jones said of Manziel. “He’s got a lot to catch up on, but he’ll spend the time to get that done. I know he will because he’s already learned that lesson.” Though Masoli has the leg up, it won’t be long before Manziel is given the reins, given he can stay out of trouble.

Breeland To Meet With Colts, Cardinals

Free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland will visit the Colts on Wednesday and the Cardinals on Thursday, a source tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Demovsky hears his foot issue is healed and he is expected to be able to pass all medical tests. 

Breeland was one of the top cornerbacks on the market this offseason and agreed to a three-year, $24MM deal with the Panthers in March. Days later, the Panthers 86’d the deal due to an infected cut on his foot that prevented him from passing a physical.

Freak accident aside, Breeland has been largely healthy over the course of his four-year NFL career. The 26-year-old appeared in all but one of the Redskins’ games last season and has missed just four possible regular season games since entering the league in 2014.

Last year, Breeland tallied 47 tackles and one interception, which was returned 96 yards for a touchdown against the Chargers. Pro Football Focus bestowed a middling grade on Breeland as he played opposite of star Josh Norman, but he did improve from 2016 to ’17, per the advanced metrics.

The Cardinals’ need for a quality partner alongside Patrick Peterson has been well documented. This offseason, the Cardinals brought in free agents Bene Benwikere and Marcus Williams to compete with Brandon Williams for the second starting role. If healthy, Breeland would be their clear CB2.

The Colts, meanwhile, project to start Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore at cornerback after losing Rashaan Melvin to free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Foles, Giants, Breeland

The Eagles and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles just agreed to a reworked contract that gives Foles a $2MM raise for 2018, plus a whole host of incentives. The deal also includes a mutual option for 2019, though if Foles were to decline the option, he would have to give back the $2MM he just received.

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com examines why Philadelphia, which is tight against the cap this year and will be again in 2019, made the move. The reworked deal probably had little to nothing to do with the Eagles’ wanting to reward Foles for his postseason heroics, so Shorr-Parks speculates that Foles and his camp could have put some pressure on the team, and he also suggests the new contract may come with a lower cap hit.

The chances that the Eagles exercise the 2019 option are very slim, as Foles would be owed a $20MM salary under that scenario. But, if the two sides want to continue their relationship beyond 2018, this gesture will certainly buy the Eagles some goodwill when it comes time to negotiate again. It also guarantees that Philadelphia, which already had the best QB insurance policy in the game, will keep that policy perfectly content this season, and even if Carson Wentz cannot stay healthy, the team has given itself a chance to deploy a capable signal-caller for at least the next two years.

Now let’s take a quick swing around a few other east division clubs:

  • Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com says the Giants could look to trade offensive tackle Ereck Flowers during the draft, though that will probably be a difficult trick to pull off. Raanan also says Big Blue has done a lot of pre-draft work on punters this year, and he believes the team could bring in a UDFA punter to compete with Riley Dixon. Dixon was recently acquired from Denver for a conditional seventh-round pick, so if he does not make the club, the Giants will likely not need to surrender the pick.
  • Former Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland was set to sign a three-year, $24MM pact with the Panthers last month, but Carolina scuttled the deal due to a “non-football incident” in which Breeland cut his foot. The foot became infected, and at the time, it was reported that Breeland was a few months away from being able to pass a physical. He will surely garner some interest this summer once he is healed, but JP Finlay of NBCSports.com says Washington is not expected to bring Breeland back into the fold. Indeed, Breeland himself indicated on Instagram that the Redskins never had interest in retaining his services.
  • The Patriots are in the unique position of having three fifth-year options to either exercise or decline before May 3, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the team will almost certainly exercise those options on defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Malcom Brown (at a little over $7MM apiece). However, the team is unsurprisingly not expected to exercise the $9.387MM option for receiver Phillip Dorsett.
  • The Cowboys are expected to exercise Byron Jones‘ fifth-year option.

Panthers Cancel Bashaud Breeland Deal

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland won’t be joining the Panthers after all. The team announced that Breeland failed his physical and will not be signing with the club. 

Breeland was set to sign a three-year, $24M deal with Carolina. Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that a “non-football incident” is to blame for the scuttled agreement. Breeland cut his foot and it got infected, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears, adding that Breeland “is now a few months away from being able to pass a physical.”

Breeland was on the Browns’ radar, but it’s not clear if they still have interest after signing T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell. The team thinks very highly of the other cornerbacks on the roster as well. When GM John Dorsey announced Jason McCourty‘s departure, he said that he was uncertain about whether the veteran would make the Browns’ final cut.

Breeland, 26, appeared in all but one of the Redskins’ games last season, so his non-football injury must have occurred in the offseason. He tallied 47 tackles and one interception, which was returned 96 yards for a touchdown against the Chargers.

The Panthers will continue their search for a cornerback, but many of this year’s top free agents are already off the board. Some of the best available options include Bills free agent E.J Gaines, Colts free agent Rashaan Melvin, and former Giants corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. There’s also Kyle Fuller of the Bears, though Chicago can match any offer thanks to the transition tag.

This marks the second notable free agent to have his deal ripped up over a bad physical this week. The Ravens backed out of their four-year deal worth $29MM deal with former Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant when an issue with his ankle drew a red flag.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: CBs, McDougald, Ellis

Let’s take a look at the details from the latest contracts signed in the NFL, with all links going to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

Panthers To Sign Bashaud Breeland

The Panthers are expected to sign cornerback Bashaud Breeland, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Until today, Breeland had spent his entire NFL career with the Redskins.

Breeland will receive a three-year, $24MM deal, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The pact includes $11MM in guarantees.

Breeland wasn’t the most well-known cornerback in this year’s lot with Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler, Morris Claiborne, Prince Amukamara, and others in this year’s crop, but he was among the best. The Panthers have been desperate for secondary help ever since parting with Josh Norman and Breeland will help in that regard, even though he’s not exactly of the same caliber.

Breeland was on the radar for the Browns and likely high on the list for other needs in need of cornerback help. Breeland, 26, appeared in all but one of the Redskins’ games last season. He amassed 47 tackles and one interception, which was returned 96 yards for a touchdown against the Chargers.

Formerly a fourth-round pick, Breeland played opposite Norman for the past two seasons. He will now work for Norman’s former employer. Pro Football Focus bestowed a middling grade on Breeland but viewed him as an improved player from 2016. He deflected a career-high 16 passes last season and now has eight career INTs. Breeland has started 57 of the 60 regular-season games in which he played, moving into the lineup as a rookie.

The Redskins were going to let Breeland test the market before having traded Kendall Fuller, and now they’re going to be without two of their top three corners from last season. The Panthers, who are trading Daryl Worley to the Eagles for Torrey Smith, will align Breeland with James Bradberry and Captain Munnerlyn next season. They’ve now added Munnerlyn and Breeland the past two offseasons, augmenting a corps that was comprised almost exclusively of young talent after the rescinding of Norman’s franchise tag and Charles Tillman‘s retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.