Benson Mayowa

Cardinals Sign DE Benson Mayowa

The Cardinals have signed defensive end Benson Mayowa, according to a team press release. Mayowa has been on the market since early March when he was released by the Cowboys. It’s a one-year, $1.6MM deal, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter).

Mayowa has five seasons under his belt after spending time with the Seahawks, Raiders, and Cowboys. Statistically, his best season came in 2016 when he notched six sacks with Dallas. Last year, he had just 31 tackles and one sack in 381 snaps.

The Cardinals are moving from a 3-4 look to a 4-3 under Steve Wilks and Al Holcomb, both of whom oversaw parts of the Panthers’ 4-3 scheme over the past several years. Mayowa has played as a 4-3 end throughout his NFL career and Arizona believes that he’ll be a strong fit for their front seven.

Arizona already has edge rushers Chandler Jones, Markus Golden, and Robert Nkemdiche in the mix, but Mayowa could be in for a sizable role if Jones and Golden spend the bulk of their time at outside linebacker.

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Benson Mayowa To Visit Cardinals

A part-time starter for the Cowboys over the past two seasons, Benson Mayowa will make a trip to Arizona to meet with the Cardinals, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Cardinals met with UFA Connor Barwin this week as well and will explore a Mayowa free agency add as well. Mayowa has been a much-studied defender on this year’s market, having met with the Redskins, Colts and Titans last month. Meetings with the Jets and Seahawks were also reported to have taken place during free agency’s initial days.

Mayowa has played five seasons — with the Seahawks, Raiders and Cowboys — but won’t turn 27 until August. While three of those five slates have included just one sack, he enjoyed a strong six-sack showing with the 2016 Cowboys.

The Cards are moving from a 3-4 look to a 4-3 under Steve Wilks and Al Holcomb, both of whom oversaw parts of the Panthers’ 4-3 look over the past several years. Mayowa has played as a 4-3 end throughout his NFL career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Benson Mayowa To Visit Colts

Former Cowboys edge rusher Benson Mayowa is visiting with the Colts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Mayowa has also reportedly drawn the interest of the Jets, Redskins, and Seahawks, but he remains unsigned more than one week after being informed of his released from the Cowboys. 

Mayowa, 27 in August, had just 31 tackles and one sack in his 381 snaps for Dallas in 2017. However, he had six sacks in the previous season. The Cowboys initially signed Mayowa when he was a restricted free agent and regarded as a high-potential player out of Oakland. Although he didn’t do much last year, he’s still young and teams believe he has upside.

The Colts agreed to sign Denico Autry, another ex-Raider, to a three-year deal worth nearly $18MM on Wednesday. Autry is likely to start at one defensive end spot, opposite Jabaal Sheard. Johnathan Hankins and Al Woods, meanwhile, figure to start in between.

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Three Teams To Meet With Benson Mayowa

The Redskins aren’t the only team on Benson Mayowa‘s docket. The Jets have the first meeting with the former Cowboys defensive end, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). After the Jets, Mayowa is then slated to take his visit with the Redskins. If Mayowa doesn’t sign with either club, the Seahawks and Colts are also expecting visits with him. 

Mayowa had an up-and-down two-year tenure with the Cowboys, but he still has quite the market after him. When the Cowboys signed Mayowa in 2016, he was a hot restricted free agent property out of Oakland with interest around the league for his perceived potential. He largely excelled in his first season with Dallas, nothing six sacks. However, things tailed off last year as he had just one sack in 14 games.

There aren’t a ton of high-end pass rushers in free agency, particularly after the Lions opted to franchise tag Ezekiel Ansah. The Jets, who have two free agent pass rushers of their own to consider in Mike Pennel and Kony Ealy, could go hard after Mayowa given the dearth of other options available.

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Benson Mayowa To Meet With Redskins

On Wednesday, the Cowboys cut defensive end Benson Mayowa after two seasons with the team. On Saturday, he scheduled his first meeting with a potential new squad in the Redskins, ESPN’s John Keim tweets

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, per Keim’s sources. After signing with the Cowboys in 2016, Mayowa produced his finest season as a pro by recording six sacks in his first season with the team. That production tailed off in 2017, resulting in just one sack in 14 games. By releasing the fifth-year pass rusher, Dallas freed up $2.75 MM in cap room while leaving just $1 MM in dead money.

Should Mayowa find a home with Washington, it would follow a recent trend of Cowboys defensive linemen heading to the Redskins. After a career year in 2013, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher made the move and played just two seasons before calling it quits. In 2017, Terrell McClain joined the fold after making 15 starts the previous season in Dallas. He produced just two sacks in 12 games this past season.

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Cowboys To Cut DE Benson Mayowa

The Cowboys have released defensive end Benson Mayowa, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Cutting Mayowa will give Dallas $2.75MM in cap room while leaving just $1MM in dead money. 

The Cowboys signed Mayowa in 2016 when he was a restricted free agent of the Raiders. Dallas inked him to a three-year offer sheet with a $3.3MM signing bonus, a deal that Oakland declined to match.

At the time, Mayowa had just three starts to his credit but demonstrated serious potential in his limited game film. Not wanting to cap his long-term earning potential, Mayowa’s reps pushed for a clause that would have allowed him to opt out this offseason if he appeared in 60% of Dallas’ snaps between ’16 and ’17. That never became a factor as Mayowa did not blossom as expected.

Mayowa, 27 in August, had just 31 tackles and one sack in his 381 snaps last season.

In a related move, the Cowboys have also cut defensive tackle Joe Vellano. Vellano hooked on with Dallas’ practice squad late last season and re-signed on a futures deal in January.

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NFC East Notes: McFadden, Mayowa, Giants

Earlier today, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett announced that two notable players are dealing with injury issues. Offseason acquisition Benson Mayowa will undergo a very minor knee scope and will miss minicamp, but should be OK for most or all of training camp (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Furthermore, running back Darren McFadden has a broken elbow and will miss two months while he recovers (Twitter link via Gil Brandt of NFL.com). The good news is that both players should be healed up well in advance of the regular season.

Here’s more out of the NFC East:

  • In a recent mailbag, a reader asked ESPN.com’s Todd Archer to weigh in on the Ronald Leary situation. Archer feels that if a deal were to materialize for the offensive lineman, it would happen later on in training camp when injuries start popping up. The Cowboys value Leary and their offensive line depth, so they’ll be holding out for a good deal. Archer adds that Dallas would rather wait for a potential compensatory pick in 2018 than settle for a fifth- or sixth-rounder for the 2017 draft.
  • James Kratch of NJ.com ran down seven Giants players to watch in minicamp this week, including undrafted rookie Donte Deayon. The cornerback out of Boise State made lots of plays during OTAs and if he keeps it up, he could put himself in the mix for a roster spot. Deayon still has a long road to make the 53-an roster, but Kratch writes that he’s a camp underdog that could stick.
  • Cornerback Josh Norman figures to be one of at least eight new starters for the Redskins in 2016, though only Norman and safety David Bruton are new to the team, Rich Tandler of RealRedskins.com writes. Bruton, however, is not guaranteed to start at strong safety and he will probably compete with Duke Ihenacho who missed most of the 2015 season. They’ll look to fill the hole left by Trenton Robinson, who started seven games at strong safety in 2015 but is no longer with the team.
  • On Monday night, the Eagles announced that they have signed standout defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to a massive multi-year extension. Earlier today, we rounded up some of the reactions to the deal and the potential fallout that could occur for other defensive linemen from around the NFL.

FA Rumors: Norman, Dolphins, Eagles, Chiefs

As players like Olivier Vernon and Malik Jackson signed huge, long-term contracts earlier this month, players like Broncos pass rusher Von Miller and Panthers cornerback Josh Norman were forced to watch, unable to land lucrative new mega-deals of their own. As Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) details, Miller and Norman have been frustrated by the franchise tag system, which prevents star players from cashing in like some lesser free agents have.

In Norman’s case, fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins got a five-year, $62.5MM as an unrestricted free agent, but according to David Newton of ESPN.com, the Panthers haven’t gone to that $12.5MM-per-year range in their extension talks with Norman. If the Carolina corner had been able to reach the open market himself, he likely would’ve surpassed easily, so it’s not a surprise that Miller and Norman would like to see the franchise tag system go away, according to Cole.

Here’s more on free agency:

  • The Dolphins signed Isaiah Pead today, but they continue to seek running back help, and worked out former Buccaneers back Bobby Rainey, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rainey ran for nearly 1,000 total yards in 2013 and 2014, but had just five carries last season.
  • After paying a visit to Pittsburgh, free agent offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski met with the Eagles today, a source tells Rapoport (Twitter link). Wisniewski is arguably the top center still on the board, though he’d be unlikely to start in the middle if he were to sign with Philadelphia.
  • The Chiefs hosted free agent safety Jeron Johnson for a visit on Wednesday, a source tells Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). After serving as a backup DB and a special-teamer for several years in Seattle, Johnson signed with Washington last year and appeared poised to get the opportunity to player more. However, things didn’t work out in D.C., and Johnson was cut earlier this month.
  • In addition to having hosted Johnson, the Chiefs are bringing in another defender, linebacker Andy Mulumba, for a visit, per Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette (Twitter link). Mulumba, who has played 22 games for the Packers during the last three seasons, also visited the Patriots, according to Hodkiewicz.
  • Free agent defensive lineman Jack Crawford is paying a visit to the Jets, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). Crawford, who visited Pittsburgh this week, picked up four sacks as a part-timer in Dallas in 2015
  • Todd Archer of ESPN.com explains how recently-signed free agent defensive end Benson Mayowa can opt out of his deal with the Cowboys after two seasons and hit the open market again in 2018.

Raiders Decline Benson Mayowa’s Offer Sheet; Cowboys Sign Mayowa

Defensive end Benson Mayowa is now a member of the Cowboys. The Raiders have declined to match the offer sheet on the up-and-coming edge rusher (per agency Reign Sports on Twitter), allowing him to go to Dallas. Benson Mayowa

Earlier this month, the Cowboys signed Mayowa to an offer sheet promising him a three-year deal and a $3.3MM signing bonus with base salaries of $700K, $2.5MM, and $2.75MM. The final year of the contract, 2018, is voidable based on sack and playing-time incentives.

The Raiders had until Wednesday to decide whether to match Mayowa’s offer sheet, but they used only four of their five allotted days to reach a verdict. Because Mayowa came into the league as an undrafted free agent, the Raiders are not entitled to any compensatory draft picks.

Mayowa, 24, has only made three starts so far in his NFL career, but he has appeared in 30 total games for the Raiders and Seahawks. In 2015, he recorded 16 tackles, a sack, two fumble recoveries, and a safety. Despite his lack of experience, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones has said that the Raiders see a tremendous amount of upside in the youngster. Ultimately, Dallas believes that Mayowa possesses the attributes they want in an edge rusher and they’re willing to roll the dice on him a bit to see if they can mold him into a star.

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Cowboys Rumors: Robinson, Morris, Mayowa

Earlier today, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones spoke with reporters to address a pair of open items. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Cowboys are still talking with free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson and free agent running back Alfred Morris, but there is no deal for either player yet (Twitter link via David Moore of The Dallas Morning News). Both players visited Dallas on Monday and it was expected that one of them would sign with the club, with Robinson being the more likely of the two to land with the Cowboys. The Cowboys had interest last offseason in Robinson before he ended up inking a $2MM deal with the Chargers.
  • Jones said Cowboys are still awaiting the Raiders’ decision on whether to match their offer for Benson Mayowa, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. The Cowboys signed the defensive end to an offer sheet that would give him a three-year deal and a $3.3MM signing bonus with base salaries of $700K, $2.5MM, and $2.75MM. Oakland has until Wednesday to reach their verdict.
  • The Cowboys see a great deal of upside in Mayowa and they believe that he possesses the attributes that they want in a pass rusher (Twitter link via Archer). Mayowa, 24, has only made three starts so far in his NFL career, but he has appeared in 30 total games for the Raiders and Seahawks. In 2015, he recorded 16 tackles, a sack, two fumble recoveries, and a safety.