Bobby Hart

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Bortles, Ravens, Chiefs

The Dolphins are “strongly” considering releasing offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James instead of paying his $9.341MM base salary in 2018, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. James, a former first-round pick, is under contract next season thanks to his fifth-year option, but given that his salary is non-guaranteed, Miami can get out of the deal with no penalty. While the Dolphins could speculatively be interested in retaining James at a reduced price, the 25-year-old has little incentive to accept a pay cut, as he’d immediately become one of the best tackles on the open market if he were to be released. Indeed, the top end of an extremely weak free agent tackle class includes Nate Solder, Justin Pugh, Cameron Fleming, and Chris Hubbard, so James would surely draw interest.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • Blake Bortles‘ new three-year deal with the Jaguars contains offset language, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Jacksonville inked Bortles to a $54MM extension over the weekend that includes a partially guaranteed ($6.5MM of $16MM) base salary in 2019. If the former first-round pick flops during the upcoming campaign, the Jaguars could release him next spring and still create $4.5MM worth of cap space. That figure could be even greater thanks to offset language, however, as the Jaguars would be off the hook for whatever salary Bortles hypothetically earns with his next club.
  • The Ravens and tight end-turned-offensive lineman Crockett Gillmore have mutual interest in new contract, reports Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Reports last week indicated Gillmore would transition to offensive line, and he’s apparently begun the change by packing on “considerable bulk” to aid the move. Baltimore, understandably, wants a “better gauge” of Gillmore’s physical condition, not solely due to his upcoming position switch, but because he missed the entire 2017 with a knee injury. Gillmore, 26, was always considered an outstanding blocking tight end while playing in the 250-pound range.
  • Cornerback David Amerson inked a one-year deal with the Chiefs earlier this month, and while Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star previously reported the pact has a base value of $2.25MM, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link) has now provided the contract’s specifics. Amerson, 26, receives a $500K signing bonus, a $1MM base salary, $625K in per-game roster bonuses, and a $125K workout bonus. The deal also contains unknown incentives which, as Paylor indicated, could bring the total value of the agreement to $6MM.
  • In desperate need of offensive line depth, the Bengals recently signed ex-Giants tackle Bobby Hart, but his contract details show that he’s not a lock for Cincinnati’s roster, as Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports (Facebook link). Hart got a $50K signing bonus and will collect another $200K bonus if he’s on the Bengals’ Week 1 roster. All told, Hart will be an easy cut for Cincinnati if he doesn’t prove his worth during the summer.

Bengals Sign OT Bobby Hart

The Bengals have signed free agent offensive tackle Bobby Hart to a one-year deal, the club announced today.Bobby Hart

Hart, 23, had been a part-time starter for the Giants since entering the league as a seventh-round pick in 2015. Last season, Hart played roughly half of New York’s offensive snaps, but graded as a bottom-five tackle per Pro Football Focus. After Hart reportedly refused to practice late last year, new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman placed him on injured reserve, and subsequently waived him from IR last week.

The Bengals, however, are forced to overlook some of Hart’s negative traits due to their extremely weak offensive line. Cincinnati finished among the bottom half of the NFL in both adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, and front five upgrades were at the top of the club’s offseason to-do list. Hart clearly won’t solve all of the Bengals’ offensive line problems, but he’ll add depth and experience to a unit that needs both.

At present, Cincinnati is projected to start 2015 draft selections Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher at the tackle spots, though neither is assured of playing time. Veteran Andre Smith could potentially re-sign for a third stint in the Queen City, while the Bengals may consider further free agent additions or draft picks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Cut Bobby Hart From IR

Bobby Hart‘s time in Giants limbo came to an end on Friday. The team jettisoned its former right tackle starter from injured reserve, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

The Giants waived Hart back in December, within hours of Dave Gettleman beginning his GM run, but the team waiving him with an injury designation on December 30 meant he couldn’t clear waivers until after Super Bowl LII. Once he did so, he landed on the Giants’ IR list. He is now off that list and no longer part of the Giants’ future.

Gettleman made that clear by cutting him on his first day as GM. A former seventh-round pick out of Florida State, Hart factored in prominent to recent Giants offensive lines. He started 21 games, 20 over the past two seasons, but was obviously not a Gettleman favorite. He and Ereck Flowers caused pre-Week 17 disruptions centered around refusal to play through injuries, and the latter’s future with the Giants could be in jeopardy as well.

Gettleman has made offensive line repair a key part of his offseason mission, and it’s likely Eli Manning will have a host of new blockers in front of him in 2018. Hart will have a head start on his past line mates in terms of finding a new team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Place OT Bobby Hart On IR

Bobby Hart‘s longterm outlook with the Giants may not be promising, but he’s sticking around the organization for now. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the team has placed the lineman on the injured reserve. The Giants had waived Hart in late December.

Bobby HartThe 2015 seventh-round pick out of Florida State has spent his entire career with the Giants, starting 21 of his 33 career games (including seven starts this season). Pro Football Focus wasn’t particularly thrilled with his performance in 2017, ranking him 82nd among 86 eligible offensive tackle candidates. In fact, the lineman’s PFF rating has consistently dropped in each of his three seasons in the NFL.

The 23-year-old does still have a year remaining on his contract, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be sticking around for very long. Geoff Schwartz of SBNation previously tweeted that the new regime may be looking to clear out “locker room cancers.” Towards this end of this past campaign, Hart randomly informed Giants staff that he wasn’t playing in the team’s Week 17 matchup against the Redskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Souring On Ereck Flowers?

Ereck Flowers has started all 15 Giants games this season and has missed just one game in his career. The third-year left tackle looks set to miss Week 17.

Flowers told coaches he would not play against the Redskins, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reports. Although he’s questionable with a groin injury, Flowers has “checked out” and is ready for Big Blue’s season to end, per ESPN.

If Flowers does suit up, he will be benched. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports Dave Gettleman approved the benching of the former first-round pick, doing so along with making the call to waive Bobby Hart — who had started intermittently over the past two years. Both Flowers and Hart refused to practice on Friday, Vacchiano reports, adding the Giants are “fed up” with the duo’s attitudes. That resulted in Hart’s exit, but the team has more money tied up in Flowers.

Flowers is listed as questionable to play in Sunday’s meaningless game, but he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday prior to sitting out Friday. A source told Vacchiano that Flowers would probably not be active Sunday.

The University of Miami product has disappointed since the Giants made him the No. 9 overall pick in 2015, and it seems unlikely the team will exercise his fifth-year option at this point. Although, Flowers has been incredibly durable and these options are guaranteed against injury only, in the event the sides mend fences in the near future. As for Flowers’ 2018 status, his $2.4MM base salary is fully guaranteed; he’ll count $4.5MM against the Giants’ cap whether he’s on the team or not.

The Giants have discussed moving Flowers to right tackle or to guard in the past, per Vacchiano, who adds the team is not expected to bring him back as the starting left tackle next season. Flowers has been Big Blue’s left tackle starter since his first offseason, when a Will Beatty injury moved him from right to left tackle.

Gettleman said Friday the offensive line needed fixing. Both Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg are free agents. With Flowers’ status less certain after recent events, the Giants are close to starting from scratch up front.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants To Waive OL Bobby Hart

Dave Gettleman isn’t wasting any time in his new gig as Giants general manager. USA Today’s Art Stapleton reports (via Twitter) that the team is planning on waiving offensive lineman Bobby Hart.

Bobby HartThe 2015 seventh-round pick out of Florida State has spent his entire career with the Giants, starting 21 of his 33 career games (including seven starts this season). Pro Football Focus hasn’t been particularly thrilled with his performance in 2017, ranking him 82nd among 86 eligible offensive tackle candidates. In fact, the lineman’s PFF rating has consistently dropped in each of his three seasons in the NFL.

The 23-year-old still had a year remaining on his contract, but it doesn’t sound like the move was money- or performance-based. Rather, Geoff Schwartz of SBNation tweets that the new regime may be looking to clear out “locker room cancers,” and the reporter notes that Hart randomly informed Giants staff that he wasn’t planning on playing this weekend.

With Hart out of the picture, the Giants could turn to Chad Wheeler, John Greco, or Damien Mama to slide into the starting lineup for this weekend’s season finale.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: McDonald, Giants, Eagles, Jets

Signing T.J. McDonald to a one-year deal despite an eight-game suspension looming, the Dolphins will prepare throughout the offseason as though the safety is part of the plan. McDonald signed a one-year, $1.344MM deal that will only guarantee the Dolphins eight regular-season games of service. But he makes for an interesting complement to Reshad Jones, and the Fins’ offseason and preseason could display those looks, even if their September and October slate won’t.

We’re just going to practice him,” Adam Gase said today, via Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. “We’re going to give him the reps that he needs. We’ve got to go through our process with him. I’ve played against him, but I haven’t seen him practice and go through a daily routine and all those type of things, so we need to get used to him as he needs to get used to us.

It’s a good signing for us because we feel like that position is something that we didn’t do as well as we needed to. Last year, we got a little thin and some guys had to really step up and play and try to fill into some roles and they were playing multiple roles.”

Nate Allen leads a cast of safeties expected to vie for the Fins’ back-line job alongside Jones while McDonald is out.

Here’s more from the Eastern divisions.

  • The Giants did not allocate many resources to bolstering a middling offensive line, pointing to the incumbents being given another chance. Although the team added guard/tackle D.J. Fluker on a lower-level deal, Paul Schwartz of the New York Post believes Bobby Hart will still be given every chance to keep the right tackle job. This arrangement could potentially pit Fluker against recently re-signed right guard John Jerry, whom Pro Football Focus assessed as enjoying a bounce-back season in 2016. The 22-year-old Hart being a priority over putting Fluker and Jerry in the lineup together would be interesting given his history as a former seventh-round pick and a player whom PFF graded as the No. 67 full-time tackle last season.
  • Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook fascinated the Eagles, but the price to move up in Rounds 1-2 to be in range to select them was too steep, Jeff McLane of Philly.com notes. The Eagles evidently believed the gap between McCaffrey and Cook was wide enough they didn’t want to use their No. 14 overall pick on a Florida State runner who plummeted into the second round. Cook went to the Vikings at 41, two spots before the Eagles went with Sidney Jones. Philly signed LeGarrette Blount earlier this week and is expected to cut Ryan Mathews once he’s healthy.
  • Former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan saw current Washington third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld as a player who could be a starter after a few development seasons, J.P. Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. This will be Year 2 for the 2016 sixth-round pick, who sits behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy on the depth chart.
  • The Jets are focused on seeing if Christian Hackenberg can pan out rather than eyeing the as-of-now highly acclaimed 2018 quarterback class, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes. Cimini, though, does note that scouts are particularly intrigued by Wyoming’s Josh Allen, whom he adds could end up being taken No. 1 overall next year despite large-school competition from Sam Darnold (USC) and Josh Rosen (UCLA). The Jets appear to be in rebuilding mode, and in signing Josh McCown for one year, would possibly have a route to one of the aforementioned passing prospects — if Hackenberg stock falls this season.

Draft Signings: Dolphins, Jets, Ravens

Here at PFR, we’re giving individual posts to players from the first and second-round that sign with their respective clubs. You’ll find news on the guys from rounds 3-7 in the roundups. Here are the latest..

  • The Ravens agreed to a deal with fourth-round running back Buck Allen, a source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter).
  • The Packers signed another sixth-round pick in tight end Kennard Backman, Silverstein tweets. Green Bay now has five picks under contract with three to go.
  • The Giants announced the signings of fifth-round pick Mykkele Thompson and seventh-round choice Bobby Hart, according to Dan Graziano of the New York Post (on Twitter).
  • The Dolphins have agreed in principle on a deal with fifth-round cornerback Bobby McCain, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). McCain will receive roughly $2.5MM over the course of his four-year deal and a $228K signing bonus.
  • Not long after that, the Dolphins wrapped up their entire draft class by signing fourth-round guard Jamil Douglas, fifth-round safety Cedric Thompson, and fifth-round wide receiver Tony Lippett, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter).
  • The Jets announced that they have signed fifth-round offensive guard Jarvis Harrison, as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets.
  • The Ravens inked fifth-round tight end Nick Boyle, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun tweets. Boyle also auditioned for the divisional rival Browns during the draft process.
  • The Packers have signed Christian Ringo, a defensive tackle taken in the sixth round, according to Tom Silverstein of the Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter).