Beau Allen

Buccaneers To Sign DL Beau Allen

Beau Allen has officially flown the nest. The former Eagles defensive lineman will sign with the Buccaneers, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). It’s a three-year deal worth $15MM and could be worth up to $16.5MM with incentives, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (on Twitter).

Allen was being pursued heavily by both the Bucs and the Lions. The Lions lost Haloti Ngata to free agency on Tuesday when he signed with the Eagles, a move that displaced Allen. Ultimately, Tampa Bay won out.

Allen, 26, spent the first four seasons of his career with the Eagles. He was extremely durable that period, as the only game he missed during his Philadelphia tenure was a meaningless Week 17 contest last season. In 2017, Allen — a one-technique tackle — appeared on roughly 41% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. He’s PFR’s No. 6-ranked interior defender.

The Buccaneers add Allen to a group of defensive tackles that also includes Channing Ward and Stevie Tu’ikolovatuSealver Siliga and Clinton McDonald are both free agents this offseason, possibly opening the door to extended playing time for Allen. Tampa Bay allowed 117.5 yards per game on the ground last season, which ranked No. 22 in the NFL.

The Eagles took Allen in the seventh round of the 2014 draft and he’s started three games in each of the last two seasons. With acquisitions such as Ngata and Michael Bennett to an already-stellar defensive line, it became pretty clear the Eagles weren’t going to be able to retain Allen’s services.

[RELATED: Buccaneers Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions, Buccaneers In On DT Beau Allen

The Lions and Buccaneers are among the clubs with interest in free agent defensive tackle Beau Allen, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link).

This represents the first known interest in Allen, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Eagles. Allen, 26, was extremely durable that time, as the only game he missed during his Philadelphia was a meaningless Week 17 contest in 2017. Last year, Allen — a one-technique tackle by trade — appeared on roughly 41% of the Eagles’ defensive snaps. He’s PFR’s No. 6-ranked interior defender.

Detroit and Tampa Bay both ranked among the bottom half of the league in adjusted line yards, Football Outsiders‘ defensive line metric. The Lions could lose defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to either free agency or retirement, while the Buccaneers have already released fellow interior defender Chris Baker this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

NFC Notes: Kap, Eagles, Aguayo, Brooks

With Nick Foles battling an elbow injury that has kept him out of preseason action and Matt McGloin having such a subpar summer that he’s likely to lose his roster spot, the Eagles may have a backup quarterback problem. They could potentially solve it by signing free agent Colin Kaepernick, Mike Sielski of Philly.com contends. Kaepernick remains unemployed in part because owners don’t want to deal with the backlash that would accompany signing the political activist, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the Eagles. After all, owner Jeffrey Lurie signed Mike Vick as a backup QB in 2009, after he served an 18-month prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring. While it’s up for debate whether Kaepernick is in the right, Vick’s actions were undeniably revolting. And yet he was able to land a second chance in Philadelphia.

More from Philly and two other NFC cities:

  • Second-year kicker Roberto Aguayo‘s struggles have transferred from Tampa Bay to Chicago, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com writes. Aguayo, whom the Bears claimed off waivers from the Buccaneers on Aug. 13, missed a 49-yard field goal in his preseason debut with Chicago last week and, according to head coach John Fox, had a rough practice Friday. “I think our kicker had a little bit of a struggle today in some of his field goals, but it was something we knew about Roberto,” Fox said. “He’s got a very strong leg; he needs to work on his accuracy. That’s why we’re out here practicing.” Fox added that the Bears will spend the next week-plus working to help Aguayo turn around his fortunes. Otherwise, given that he’s competing with Connor Barth, Aguayo could find himself on waivers again. That would be a stunning turn of events for a kicker who was not only a second-round pick in 2016, but someone the Buccaneers also surrendered a third- and fourth-rounder for when they traded up to select the ex-Florida State standout.
  • It appeared Eagles defensive lineman Beau Allen would miss the first few weeks of the regular season when he suffered a chest injury in April. That won’t be the case, though, as Allen passed a physical Friday and came off the active/PUP list, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The three-year veteran is now in position to keep his iron man streak alive, as he has never missed a game during his career. The return of Allen will further bolster a strong D-line and give the Eagles a player who was on the field for 554 snaps last year (412 on defense, 142 on special teams).
  • The 49ers released linebacker Ahmad Brooks on Friday rather than closer to the Sept. 2 deadline because they wanted to give him a better chance to hook on elsewhere before the season opens, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters (via Mike Florio Pro Football Talk). “Doing it right now is more just in the best interest for Ahmad,” Shanahan said. “It’s a real tough decision. [General Manager] John [Lynch] and I had gone back and forth with it the last few days. Once we really came to the conclusion he wasn’t going to be a part of our final 53, we weren’t going to keep him around just to let him know [eight] days from now. So, we know there’s a lot of teams that will be interested in him. So we gave him that opportunity to go out and find them.” Brooks should indeed draw interest in free agency, having posted no fewer than five sacks in any of his eight seasons with the 49ers. He also missed just eight games during that span.

Eagles Cut Dwayne Gratz

As the Eagles convene for training camp, the team made a few moves on Sunday. One of them was jettisoning fifth-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz.

Philadelphia announced the release of Gratz, whom the team signed late last season to a two-year deal. No guaranteed money was attached to Gratz’s $775K contract. The Eagles also placed Sidney Jones and Beau Allen on the Active/NFI list. Philly will meet for camp on Monday and begin practice Thursday.

The Eagles are the third team since October 2016 to part ways with Gratz. The Jaguars cut him in October, but Gratz didn’t make it to free agency when the Rams claimed him. However, Los Angeles cut Gratz as well after deploying him in three games. The Eagles signed him in advance of Week 15 last season. The 27-year-old corner did not play any games for Philly. Gratz functioned as a primary starter for the 2014 Jags but has otherwise been a backup.

Philly does not have a particularly deep cornerback contingent, but Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes (on Twitter) 2016 UDFA C.J. Smith and CFL import Aaron Grymes performed better than Gratz during offseason workouts.

Jones could still miss the season due to his Achilles injury, and Allen suffered a chest injury while working out this offseason. The defensive tackle who has served as a rotational player is not expected to be ready by Week 1.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles DT Beau Allen Suffers Chest Injury

Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen suffered an injury in the pectoral area on Thursday and will undergo surgery, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mike Garafalo of the NFL Network reports that the injury will likely keep Allen off the field for four to six months, so he could miss the first few weeks of the regular season.Beau Allen

The Eagles acquired defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan from the Ravens on Tuesday, meaning that deal was not a reaction to the Allen injury. However, Jernigan may be asked to play an even larger role than originally planned if Allen is sidelined for the early portion of the regular season. Philadelphia boasts one of the league’s best interior lineman in Fletcher Cox, but the only other defensive tackles on the roster are Jernigan and Destiny Vaeao.

If the Eagles want to add more bodies along the front four, they could look to the free agent market in order to bring in another player. Johnathan Hankins is the best interior lineman who remains unsigned, but it’s unclear if an injury to Allen will force Philadelphia to make a signing of that level. Other options that may intrigue the Eagles could include Jared Odrick, Vance Walker, Sen’Derrick Marks, and Roy Miller.

Allen, 25, has appeared in every possible game for the Eagles since being drafted in the seventh round three years ago. He hasn’t been a full-time player, as he was splitting time with Bennie Logan over the past three campaigns, but Allen did play on 40% of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps last in 2016. In that time, he managed 29 tackles and a half-sack, and graded out as the league’s No. 57 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles, Beau Allen Talking Extension

The Eagles are discussing a contract extension with defensive tackle Beau Allen, reports Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. That could be a sign the Eagles are preparing to lose fellow defensive tackle Bennie Logan in free agency, McLane suggests.

[RELATED: Logan Among PFR’s Top 50 Free Agents]

Of the two linemen, Logan has easily has the more established NFL track record. Since the Eagles chose him in the third round of the 2013 draft, Logan has picked up 51 starts in 59 appearances. Logan has started in each of his appearances dating back to his second year, and he’s coming off a 24-tackle, 2.5-sack, two-forced fumble season over 13 games. The 27-year-old ranked a lowly 84th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 127 qualified interior D-linemen last season, but it didn’t help that he dealt with a groin injury. Now healthy, Logan figures to encounter a robust market in free agency, where the NFC East rival Redskins could be among the teams that pursue him.

Beau Allen

The Eagles aren’t in imminent danger of losing Allen, who’s signed through next season, but he has impressed de facto general manager Howie Roseman during his three-year career.

“We’re excited about Beau, both in his ability to be powerful in the run game but also his athleticism to work edges,” Roseman said Wednesday. “He has pass-rush moves. With an increased opportunity, we think he’ll be an even better player to our team.”

Allen, 25, hasn’t missed a game in three years and finished with personal bests in tackles (29) and starts (three) in 2016. PFF ranked him as the league’s 57th-best interior D-lineman, 27 spots higher than Logan. Moreover, Allen saw significant action in multiple phases, as he amassed 412 defensive snaps and another 142 on special teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Thurmond, Eagles, Cowboys

When asked about the most impressive player he’s seen in Giants camp, ESPN’s Dan Graziano identified cornerback Walter Thurmond, saying the free-agent acquisition has been “making life miserable for slot receiver Victor Cruz in practice. Thurmond could be a difference-maker at that nickel corner position for the Giants this year.” Thurmond, 26, signed a one-year, $3MM deal in March, at which time ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, a former director of pro personnel for the Eagles, lauded the signing as a potential steal: “If he can stay healthy and out of trouble, it’s a tremendous value signing. . .He’s a dynamite press corner, who is as good with his technique as [Seattle’s] Byron Maxwell, as [Seattle’s] Richard Sherman. Walter is very good. He can play in the nickel because he’s big enough, because he can tackle, because he’s a good blitzer. And he can play on the outside. Not only can he press, he can play them all.”

The numbers back up Riddick’s assessment. Despite starting just three of 12 games played last season for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, Thurmond tallied 24 tackles, six pass breakups, an interception (29-yard TD) and a forced fumble. Additionally, his 5.7 coverage rating was higher than teammate Brandon Browner, who signed for three years and $16.8MM in New England.

So why did the Giants land such a good player at such an affordable deal? He’s been plagued by injuries since entering the league, and was popped for a four-game suspension last season for violating the substance-abuse policy. Nevertheless, he brings supreme confidence to the Giants secondary. In April Thurmond proclaimed himself the best slot corner in the league. By July, he was drawing praise from teammates and coaches, including head man Tom Coughlin, who likes Thurmond’s attitude. Now, a week into August, he’s established himself as the ‘Quiet Assassin.”

Here’s a few more NFC East links:

NFC East Notes: Spencer, Martin, Smith, Moore

Cowboys veteran defensive end Anthony Spencer, recovering from microfracture surgery, will most likely start the season on the physically unable to perform list, projects ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins.

Here’s a handful more NFC East notes:

  • Cowboys first-rounder Zack Martin, praised for his consistency and versatility, is working at right guard during rookie minicamp, and head coach Jason Garrett thinks it’s a natural fit, writes Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News. Meanwhile, Martin has already sought out the help of veterans, and he told Carlos Mendez of the Star-Telegram that Doug Free “is like another coach on the field.”
  • “Most first-round edge rushers make mild contributions, or almost none at all, in their first year,” says the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, who writes the Eagles are prepared to be patient with first-rounder Marcus Smith if he doesn’t make an immediate impact.
  • Speaking with Les Bowen on Sulia.com, Eagles seventh-rounder Beau Allen said his predraft interview with the team was more formal and organized than other teams’.
  • Though defensive end was viewed as a need, the Giants did not spend a draft choice on the position, which shows some faith in second-year man Damontre Moore, writes Conor Orr in the Star-Ledger. Recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Moore hasn’t been cleared for contact yet, but says he’s 95 percent and working towards bulking up 15 pounds.

Draft Signings: Chiefs, Cards, Texans, Cowboys

We’ve already rounded up several draft pick signings a couple times today, but with teams and players motivated to hammer out deals, there are another handful of updates to pass along this afternoon. Let’s dive right in….

  • The Chiefs have locked up third-round cornerback Phillip Gaines, his reps tell ESPN.com’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s James Walker reports (via Twitter) that fourth-rounder De’Anthony Thomas has also signed with Kansas City. According to Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com, Gaines should receive a signing bonus worth about $549K, while Thomas’ will be worth around $420K.
  • The Cardinals have agreed to terms with third-round pick Kareem Martin, a source tells Caplan (Twitter link). That would make Martin the first Arizona draftee to sign so far.
  • After signing Ben Gardner earlier today, the Cowboys have agreed to terms with two more draftees, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who writes that seventh-round linebacker Will Smith has agreed to his deal, and tweets that seventh-round cornerback Terrance Mitchell has done the same.
  • The Texans have agreed to terms with quarterback Tom Savage, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Houston’s fourth-round pick will be in line for a bonus of just over $300K, according to Fitzgerald.
  • A couple agents broke their clients’ own news this afternoon, with Mike McCartney tweeting that Princeton DT Caraun Reid has signed his contract with the Lions, while Blake Baratz announced (via Twitter) that sixth-rounder Zach Moore is the first draftee to sign with the Patriots.
  • The Colts have signed sixth-round linebacker Andrew Jackson, the team announced today in a press release.
  • According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the Packers have signed fifth-round pick Corey Linsley. Linsley’s signing bonus should be worth $185K, based on Fitzgerald’s figures at OTC.
  • The Seahawks have signed Kiero Small to his rookie contract, a source tells Curtis Crabtree of KJR in Seattle. The seventh-round fullback is the second of nine Seahawks draft picks to sign.
  • The Texans and Eagles have signed seventh-rounders, according to various reports. Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston has the details on Texans cornerback Andre Hal, while Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com tweets the new on Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen.