Bobby Massie

Bears Could Pursue Top Free Agents

The Bears are set to enter free agency with no shortage of cap space, and it appears they’re primed to put that money to use. General manager Ryan Pace is “extremely prepared” to explore the open market, he told the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs, who writes that the Bears could make “strong” bids for cornerback Stephon Gilmore and, as previously reported, quarterback Mike Glennon. Additionally, the Bears could take a run at right tackle Ricky Wagner.

Stephon Gilmore (vertical)[RELATED: PFR’s Top 50 Free Agents]

As PFR’s Dallas Robinson detailed in January, the Bears are rife with questions at corner. Picking up Gilmore could go a long way toward fixing their issues, then, though the careerlong Bill is going to be costly (Biggs forecasts a $13MM-per-year contract). Gilmore, 26, is a five-year pro who started in each of his appearances (15) for the third straight season and notched a career-high five interceptions in 2016. However, after ranking as one of Pro Football Focus’ 10 best corners in 2015, Gilmore dropped to 61st (among 112 qualifiers) last season. Nevertheless, Gilmore possesses an impressive resume, having racked up 68 appearances, 66 starts and 14 picks since going in the first round of the 2012 draft.

As is the case at corner, the Bears are in dire need of help under center. That figures to lead to a Glennon pursuit, as Biggs relays that he’s Chicago’s No. 1 target to replace the soon-to-be jettisoned Jay Cutler. Glennon sat behind Buccaneers starter Jameis Winston the previous two seasons and barely played during that span, but he previously registered 19 appearances and 18 starts from 2013-14. While the Bucs have tried to retain Glennon at $8MM per year, he’s likely to receive both more money and a legitimate shot to start from another club – perhaps the Bears.

Like Gilmore and Glennon, Wagner figures to earn at least eight figures annually on his next contract. The career Raven, 27, is coming off his third season with at least 14 starts, and he finished as PFF’s 18th-best tackle among 78 qualifiers in 2016. He’d further beef up a Bears offensive line that rated among the league’s 10 best units in both the run and pass blocking departments last year, per Football Outsiders.

Signing Wagner could put incumbent right tackle Bobby Massie in danger of staying on the Bears’ roster. Chicago inked Massie to a three-year, $18MM deal in free agency last offseason, but he went on to rank a so-so 43rd among PFF’s 78 qualified tackles. Massie’s due a $1MM roster bonus March 11 and set to count over $6MM against the Bears’ cap in 2017. Cutting him would leave the team with just $1MM in dead money, however.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Harrison, Benjamin, Massie

Here are some of the latest details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All Twitter links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

NFC:

  • Damon Harrison, DT (Giants): Five years, $46.25MM. $24MM guaranteed. $8MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Bobby Massie, T (Bears): Three years, $18MM. $6.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $2MM roster bonus due on March 14 (Twitter links).
  • Thad Lewis, QB (49ers): One year, $760K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K playing-time incentive. $428K split salary (Twitter link).

AFC:

  • Travis Benjamin, WR (Chargers): Four years, $24MM. $13MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. $2.75MM salary for 2016 and $4.25MM salary for 2017 fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • Antonio Gates, TE (Chargers): Two years, $11MM. $6MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Ramon Humber, LB (Patriots): One year, $885K. Minimum salary benefit. $25K signing bonus. $30K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald).

Bears To Add Bobby Massie

4:54pm: It’ll be a three-year deal for Massie, tweets Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com, while Cole adds (via Twitter) that the contract is worth $18MM.

3:57pm: Bobby Massie and the Bears have reached an agreement to bring the tackle to Chicago, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets.

Massie started for three seasons with the Cardinals and was linked to multiple teams during his initial free agency foray but opted to sign with the Bears. Terms of the deal are not yet disclosed.Bobby Massie

A starter in Arizona during the 2012, 2014 and 2015 seasons, Massie started 16 total games for the Cardinals last season, including both playoff contests, at right tackle. The NFL suspended Massie for the first three games of last season, a ban that was reduced to two, for a substance-abuse policy violation.

Upon return, Massie didn’t fare too well, per Pro Football Focus. The soon-to-be 27-year-old blocker ranked 45th at tackle, although the site is highly critical of tackles’ play.

In 2014, Massie played all 1,089 snaps for the Cardinals. But the team drafted tackle D.J. Humphries in the first round in 2015 and already employs a second-contract cog as its left tackle in Jared Veldheer.

The Bears also have an interesting quandary on their front now that Massie appears to be in the fold. Kyle Long started all 16 games at right tackle for Chicago last season but played his previous two slates as the Bears’ right guard. The fourth-year veteran and extension candidate’s previously been pegged to play tackle for the Bears next season; that could now be on the left side, where 2014 seventh-round pick Charles Leno resided in 2015.

Chicago could move Long back to guard, where he was a productive talent and a two-time Pro Bowler. Long made the Pro Bowl last year as a right tackle, so his versatility will benefit the Bears as they add a proven component to their starting front.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Free Agent Rumors: Massie, Mack, Vikings

The latest free agent rumors:

  • Cardinals free agent tackle Bobby Massie is deciding between three teams and he could remain in Arizona, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) says that Alex Mack got a quality deal from the Falcons because multiple teams including the Browns and the Chargers were “in strong” for his services. Meanwhile, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego (on Twitter) says that even though the Chargers reached out, they did not “develop into a major contender.”
  • The Vikings are looking at free agent wide receiver Andre Holmes, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com tweets. Holmes, who was with Minnesota as a UDFA in 2011, would give Minnesota a big target.
  • The Eagles never had formal contract discussions with Walter Thurmond prior to Monday, Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic tweets. Thurmond is now on the open market and, one way or another, the Eagles need to add depth at the cornerback position.
  • Keenan Robinson appears to have posted a farewell message to Washington fans on Instagram. After re-signing Mason Foster, it seems like Washington will be moving on from their other free agent inside linebacker.

FA Rumors: McLeod, Vernon, Steelers, Sweezy

Safety Rodney McLeod is one of the top young safeties set to hit the market today, and Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that the Ravens are a “strong contender” for the Rams’ free-agent-to-be.

While the Ravens could use some help at free safety, since Kendrick Lewis didn’t prove in 2015 that he’s the long-term answer and Lardarius Webb doesn’t have much experience at safety. But the idea that Baltimore would make a play for someone like McLeod is surprising, since the team typically doesn’t foray too aggressively into free agency, and doesn’t have a ton of cap flexibility.

As we wait to see if anything comes of the Ravens’ apparent interest in McLeod, let’s check in on a few other free agent rumors….

  • In an interesting piece for TheMMQB.com, defensive end Olivier Vernon, one of the top free agents available, acknowledges that he “probably” won’t be back with the Dolphins in 2016.
  • With Heath Miller having retired, the Steelers are exploring the tight end free agent market, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). According to Rapoport, Coby Fleener, Ladarius Green, and Jared Cook are names worth monitoring for Pittsburgh.
  • Over a half-dozen teams remain in the mix for offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who tweets that the Broncos are worth keeping an eye on.
  • Offensive tackle Bobby Massie has received interest from the Bears and Giants, but his market isn’t up to $8MM per year yet, tweets Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. A Monday report indicated that Massie could end up landing a deal in that range.
  • The Rams are intent on trying to re-sign defensive end William Hayes, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Per La Canfora, Hayes has a “nice market,” but wouldn’t rule out a return to the Rams.
  • The Bears resumed negotiations on Tuesday with tight end Zach Miller, per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Miller’s reported asking price of $5MM per year, which seemed outrageous a few weeks ago, doesn’t look quite as far-fetched after Dwayne Allen got $7MM+ annually from the Colts.

Free Agent Rumors: Broncos, Massie, Daniel

Now that defensive lineman Malik Jackson has agreed to join the Jaguars, we can expect the Broncos to make a serious run at Cardinals free agent right tackle Bobby Massie, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter). Massie could reportedly command north of $8MM per season, so it was unlikely that Denver would have been able to afford both Jackson and the offensive tackle.

Here’s the very latest free agent news:

  • Even though the Eagles have re-signed Sam Bradford, the Eagles could still pursue Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who is the former OC in KC, is quite fond of Daniel.
  • The Vikings are not close on a deal with guard Mike Harris, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Harris’ camp has been looking for roughly $5MM on a two-year deal while the Vikings are offering $3.5MM over two. Harris is currently planning on testing the market.
  • The Bears are one of “multiple” teams that have expressed interest in defensive end Akiem Hicks, per Kevin Fishbain of Pro Football Weekly (on Twitter).
  • Four teams have expressed varying degrees of interest in linebacker Demario Davis, a source tells Seth Walder of the Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Bills‘ signing of Richie Incognito means that Buffalo will not be adding free agent guard Jahri Evans, Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com (on Twitter) hears. The Bills hosted Evans on a visit on Monday. Evans has started 153 games for the Saints dating back 2006 and earned four First-Team All-Pro selections.

Free Agent Rumors: Wisniewski, Browns, Pacman

The Browns have expressed interest in Jaguars free agent center Stefen Wisniewski, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter). The Browns are in danger of losing three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack to free agency and they could turn to the 26-year-old as a replacement. Hue Jackson was the coach in Oakland when the Raiders used their 2011 second round draft choice on Wisniewski.

The latest free agent rumors from around the NFL:

  • The Browns have expressed interest in free agent cornerback Adam Jones, a league source tells Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Jones, a Bengals free agent, has been heavily linked to Miami in recent weeks thanks to his connection with defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
  • The Vikings and Matt Asiata are far apart on a possible contract, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter) hears from a source. Several other teams expressed an interest in the running back on Monday, he adds. Asiata has previously stated that he would like to return to Minnesota.
  • 49ers free agent Alex Boone and Cardinals free agent Bobby Massie are two offensive linemen who could get north of $8MM per season, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) hears.
  • The Vikings have reached out to the representative of Bengals free agent linebacker Vincent Rey, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). The Vikings are in need of a linebacker and Mike Zimmer is familiar with Rey from their previous time together.
  • Backup quarterback Drew Stanton is unlikely to return to the Cardinals, an NFL source tells Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles had significant interest in signing wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey before he re-upped with the Steelers, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, 49ers, Graham

The Cardinals will have a handful of key contributors eligible for free agency this offseason, and if you ask the players on the roster which of those free-agents-to-be is the most important to re-sign, you won’t necessarily get the same answer. While one Cardinals player suggested to Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic that locking up safety Rashad Johnson should be the team’s top priority, another gave his vote to an offensive tackle.

Bobby [Massie],” the player said. “I thought he had a great year. Whether he stays here or whether he doesn’t, he’s going to get paid a lot of money.”

As we wait to see how the Cardinals approach their offseason, let’s check in on a few more items from out of the NFC West….

  • The Cardinals may have a few notable players eligible for free agency, but head coach Bruce Arians remains excited about how the roster looks for 2016, writes Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com. “Looking at the team that’s coming back versus where we were this time last year, very few holes to fill,” Arians said. “[GM] Steve [Keim]’s already off starting to do it and this offseason already has begun.”
  • While Chip Kelly should have the final say on who the 49ers‘ starting quarterback will be in 2016, team management would like to see Colin Kaepernick get another opportunity, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Cole indicates that the 49ers front office views Kaepernick’s $11.9MM base salary as reasonable for a starting quarterback, and believes he has the potential to bounce back under Kelly.
  • Kelly didn’t use a fullback during his three seasons as the head coach in Philadelphia. What does that mean for 49ers fullback Bruce Miller? Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com examines the issue, suggesting it’s not a lock that Miller will be looking for a new home this offseason.
  • Following up on John Schneider‘s comments about the Seahawks planning to bring back tight end Jimmy Graham next season, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com breaks down why it makes sense to take the GM at his word.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/22/15

As usual, plenty of teams around the NFL are shaking up their rosters a little on the Tuesday following a full slate of games. Here are today’s minor moves:

  • Cowboys defensive tackle Terrell McClain is done for the season with a badly sprained big toe, reports Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram adds (via Twitter) that the team has placed McClain on injured reserve.
  • The Cardinals have cut running back Kerwynn Williams in order to make room for offensive tackle Bobby Massie, who is returning from a two-game suspension, says Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link). We’ll see if Arizona re-adds Williams or another running back to the roster before the club’s Week 3 game, with Andre Ellington likely to be sidelined again. The Cardinals also cut Travis Harvey from injured reserve with an injury settlement, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets.
  • With Jay Cutler injured, the Bears activated quarterback David Fales from the taxi squad to the active roster, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. To make room, the Bears waived Bryce Callahan, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Washington linebacker Martrell Spaight, a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft, has been placed on injured reserve due to a concussion, tweets Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com. The move opens up a roster spot for reinstated cornerback Chris Culliver.
  • Besides Massie, Culliver, and Vikings cornerback Jabari Price, whose reinstatement we noted yesterday, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Chargers offensive lineman Craig Watts are returning from suspensions this week, per Wilson (Twitter link). Pittsburgh and San Diego will have roster exemptions until tomorrow afternoon for those players.
  • The Colts have made a change at the cornerback spot, signing veteran free agent Josh Thomas and waiving Eric Patterson, owner Jim Irsay announced today (via Twitter). Perhaps more notably, the team an injury settlement with running back Vick Ballard, officially removing him from the roster. Ballard, who hasn’t played a game since the 2013 season, will become a free agent if and when he clears waivers.
  • The Dolphins are signing linebacker and special-teamer Terrell Manning, according to Wilson. The 25-year-old has already appeared in regular season games for five different NFL teams since entering the league in 2012.
  • With Austin Seferian-Jenkins set to miss some games, the Buccaneers are signing tight end Cameron Brate off the Saints‘ practice squad, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Brate started the season on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad before he landed on New Orleans’ unit last week.
  • The Buccaneers have also have also signed free agent defensive end Josh Martin and waived defensive end Kourtnei Brown, Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune tweets.
  • The Ravens waived running back Terrence Magee to open up spot for newly-acquired cornerback Will Davis, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun tweets.
  • The Raiders cut Tevin McDonald, Wilson tweets.

Cards’ Bobby Massie Suspended Two Games

SEPTEMBER 5: Massie will serve a two-game suspension, meaning his appeal reduced the penalty by one game, per Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (Twitter link).

AUGUST 11: Cardinals right tackle Bobby Massie is facing a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). According to Schefter, Massie is appealing the suspension, which has yet to be announced the league, in the hopes of reducing it.

As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com explains (via Twitter), Massie was arrested for being intoxicated – and asleep – at the wheel during the week of the Super Bowl in Arizona. He’s seeking to have the ban cut from three games to two games.

While the Cardinals had plenty of injury woes at quarterback and on defense last season, Massie and fellow offensive tackle Jared Veldheer stayed healthy all year — both tackles played all 1,089 offensive snaps for Arizona, so it would be a noteworthy loss for the Cards if they started the season without Massie.

Assuming Massie’s suspension is upheld, it will open the door for rookie tackle D.J. Humphries to earn a starting role for at least the first few weeks of the regular season. Humphries, the Cardinals’ first-round pick in April, was expected to begin his NFL career as a reserve, so if the team determines he’s not ready for the right tackle job immediately, Bradley Sowell could step in while Massie serves his suspension.

Whether or not Humphries is prepared to immediately replace Massie on the Cardinals’ line, the first-rounder looks the long-term solution in Arizona. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) that Massie, who is entering the final year of his contract, “saw the writing on the wall” when the Cards drafted Humphries, and doesn’t expect to be with the team beyond 2015.