Bradley McDougald

Jets Notes: Darnold, 2017 Draft, Gase, Maye

Some rare good news for the Jets. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that quarterback Sam Darnold‘s precautionary MRI of his right shoulder only showed a “reaggravation.” The 23-year-old will attempt to work through the injury and won’t be sidelined.

Darnold initially suffered the shoulder injury during the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos, and that forced Joe Flacco into the lineup for Week 5. Darnold returned under center for the past two games, but he’s only completed 56.6-percent of his passes for 253 yards and two interceptions. Prior to the injury, Darnold completed 59.42-percent of his passes for 792 yards, three scores, and four interceptions.

Darnold has missed eight games through his three NFL seasons. If he’s forced to miss more time, the team could either turn to Flacco, third-stringer James Morgan, or practice squad signal-caller Mike White.

Some more notes out of the Big Apple:

  • Prior to the Jets loss to the Chiefs yesterday, ESPN’s Rich Cimini gave the “inside story” of why the organization passed on future MVP and champion Patrick Mahomes during the 2017 draft. There were a variety of reasons that went into the decision: the Jets had already invested in Josh McCown as their bridge quarterback, there was still some optimism that Christian Hackenberg could work out, former GM Mike Maccagnan already had his eye on the 2018 quarterbacks class (including Darnold), and the organization was much more infatuated with their eventual pick, safety Jamal Adams. Still, prior to the draft, Mahomes thought he could end up in New York. “I definitely thought there was interest there,” Mahomes said. “Whenever you go on those visits, you know they’re pretty interested in doing their due diligence. I definitely thought there was interest there.”
  • While we’ve heard a similar sentiment throughout the past few weeks, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reiterates that the Jets aren’t expected to fire head coach Adam Gase midseason. “They really don’t want to do it,” a source told Vacchiano. “They may have to, at some point. But they know a midseason coaching change doesn’t change their situation. I think they’re going to hold off as long as they can.” Vacchiano provided a variety of reasons why it makes sense for the Jets to hold on to Gase, including the fact that the head coach serves as a “lightning rod” while distracting from general manager Joe Douglas‘ shaky first season with the organization.
  • Safety Marcus Maye‘s rookie contract is set to come to an end, and Cimini believes he could be eyeing a contract that will pay him around $7MM per season. As a result, Cimini reports that rival teams believe the 27-year-old could be had as part of the team’s fire sale. The reporter had a similar sentiment about Bradley McDougald, although the impending free agent safety has since landed on IR.
  • In the same article, Cimini passes along an anecdote from 2018, when the Jets “boxed” out the QB-needy Bills by moving from No. 6 to No. 3 in a deal with the Colts. The move allowed the Jets to select Darnold, who was Buffalo’s top-rated QB. In fact, the Bills were so displeased with the deal, they refused to negotiate with Indy for the remainder of the draft. Buffalo ended up trading up from No. 11 to No. 7, and they proceeded to select Josh Allen.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/31/20

Here is the league’s avalanche of Halloween minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Jets Trade Jamal Adams To Seahawks

The Jets have traded safety Jamal Adams to the Seahawks, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Seahawks sent a 2021 first-round pick, a 2021 third-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick, and safety Bradley McDougald to the Jets in exchange for Adams and a 2022 fourth-round choice.

[RELATED: Adams Says Adam Gase Isn’t “Right Leader” For Jets]

Jets GM Joe Douglas has come under fire for his handling of Adams, but it’s hard to argue with the Jets’ return on the trade. It’s a stunning haul, considering how badly the Adams bridge had been burned.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, have received one of the league’s most exciting young talents. Adams – who won’t turn 25 until October – has been a certified star since his rookie season and he’s been rock solid in coverage for the last two years. Between 2018 and 2019, only Vikings standout Anthony Harris graded out higher than Adams at safety, according to Pro Football Focus. Eddie Jackson (Bears) is No. 3 on the list, and he currently stands as the league’s top-paid safety. In 2019, Adams earned his first ever First-Team All-Pro nod while notching 75 tackles, seven passes defensed, 6.5 sacks, and a defensive touchdown.

It’s an immediate lift for the Seahawks and a future cornerstone for their secondary. Of course, they’ll have to iron out a new deal with Adams sooner rather than later. For now, Adams has two years of club control remaining on his deal. Beyond that, he’s seeking a deal that will position him as the league’s highest paid safety, meaning a floor of $15MM per year. Adams was also pushing the Jets for $20MM per season – putting him in defensive end territory – but that sticker price was probably exclusive to Gang Green. For the Seahawks, and other clubs that were on his wish list, the ask was believed to be a bit lower. Also, Adams is reportedly willing to wait until next year to start negotiations with the Seahawks.

Throughout the offseason, Douglas told the world that he would not trade Adams under any circumstances. That stance softened in recent weeks as Adams voice his displeasure more and more. Adams claims that the Jets promised him an extension offer in January. That offer never came. In the spring, the Jets pinned the delay on the pandemic and the related economic factors, but he wasn’t buying it. Per one recent report, Jets ownership instructed the front office to hold on large, multi-year committments long before COVID-19 reached the United States.

The Cowboys, Ravens, Texans, Chiefs, Eagles, 49ers, and Buccaneers were also among Adams’ preferred destinations. It’s not clear whether those clubs made an aggressive play for Adams, however. Any of those teams would have loved to have him – especially the Texans, given their glaring need at the position – but the Jets’ asking price coupled with the expense of a new Adams deal cooled the interest of most clubs. For the Seahawks, it was well worth it.

While most teams have held off on making major moves this offseason, the NFC West has been a notable exception. Adams is the latest big-time trade acquisition in the division, following the 49ers’ move for Trent Williams and the Cardinals stunner of a deal for DeAndre Hopkins. The Rams, who have made a habit of splashy moves in their new L.A. digs, have not been quite as proactive.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Gurley, Rams, 49ers, Gould, Shanahan, Seahawks, McDougald

One of the biggest stories of this NFL offseason has been the drama surrounding Todd Gurley‘s knee. Gurley clearly wasn’t right down the stretch last season, and C.J. Anderson ended up taking the bulk of the Rams’ running back snaps during their Super Bowl run. Gurley’s health has been clouded in secrecy, with conflicting reports emerging seemingly every week. We’ve heard everything from Gurley having arthritis in his knee and it being degenerative, to him being just fine. Gurley stayed away from the team’s OTAs so he wasn’t available to reporters, but he finally broke his silence this week at minicamp.

Gurley tried to quell any concern at his press conference, saying “I had bigger problems to worry about coming out of college. This is small,” per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Gurley is presumably referring to the ACL tear that he had coming out of Georgia. While it’s nice to hear that Gurley doesn’t sound too concerned, it doesn’t mean we should expect him to be a workhorse in 2019. The Rams raised a lot of eyebrows by drafting Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the third round back in April, and it’s very likely they’ll take it easy with Gurley early on to keep him fresh for a playoff run.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers have had one of the best kicking situations in the league the last couple of years, as Robbie Gould has been incredibly consistent. San Francisco is hoping for big things this season as Jimmy Garoppolo returns from his torn ACL, and Gould is a big part of their plans. Unfortunately the two sides are in a bit of a contract standoff, as Gould still hasn’t signed his franchise tag and is demanding a trade. Gould may wait until the last minute to show up, and that’s just fine with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. “If he doesn’t want to show up until Week 1, it is what it is,” Shanahan said on Tuesday, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. “I’ll take a very good kicker at any time, whether it’s Week 1 or on third down, just one play before we’re going to have to kick.” Gould is set to make $4.971MM under the tag in 2019, but is holding out for a longterm deal. Judging by Shanahan’s comments, it doesn’t sound like the 49ers are going to blink anytime soon.
  • Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald is recovering from a recent knee surgery, and now we have more details. McDougald revealed to reporters that he played with a partially torn patellar tendon in his knee from Week 8 on last year, and that he initially tried just rehabbing it before opting for surgery last month, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). McDougald also said “for sure” when asked if he’d be on the field at the start of training camp. McDougald, 28, started all 16 games for Seattle last year after being a part-time starter in 2017.
  • In case you missed it, Sean McVay fully committed to Jared Goff recently, saying there’s a “zero percent chance” he doesn’t get extended.

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:

Seahawks Re-Sign Bradley McDougald

The Seahawks have agreed to re-sign Bradley McDougald. The safety will stay in Seattle with a three-year, $13.95MM deal, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). 

McDougald was originally signed to be a reserve last offseason, but he wound up starting when Kam Chancellor was lost to injury. This year, Seattle’s numbers crunch could lead them to move on from Chancellor, so McDougald could wind up as a Week 1 starter.

The Seahawks have already cut ties with cornerback Richard Sherman, who agreed to a deal with the 49ers, and Earl Thomas is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the upcoming season. Chancellor is set to enter the first season within his three-year, $36MM extension signed prior to last year and is slated to make $6.8MM in base salary with a $9.6MM cap hit. Chancellor, 29, is expected to return to the team next season despite making hints toward retirement on social media last year.

Entering Monday, the Seahawks had $30.7MM in available cap space, which put them at No. 15 in the NFL. The Seahawks also have Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson and Jordan Simone on the roster at safety. Cornerback Byron Maxwell was the only other players in the Seahawks secondary due to hit unrestricted free agency outside of McDougald.

The Seahawks signed McDougald, 27, to a one-year, $2MM deal prior to last season. In his first season with Seahawks, he played in all 16 games, starting nine, and made appearances at both safety spots and cornerback. He finished the year with 46 tackles and four pass defenses. He had a career-high 10 pass defenses and matched a career-best with two interceptions with the Buccaneers in 2016. The Chiefs originally signed McDougald as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

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: 49ers, Eagles, Injuries

The 49ers have won every game that Jimmy Garoppolo has started this season. However, general manager John Lynch knows that the team’s priority this offseason must be to surround his new signal caller with better talent, reports Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.

Smith relays quotes that the first-year decision maker made on FS1 today that expresses his decision to move forward with the plan of building around Garoppolo.

“It frees you up in the draft to go looking for other needs and build your team around him,” said Lynch.

At the moment, San Francisco seems to have found two solid play makers in Marquise Goodwin and rookie Trent Taylor. But with running back Carlos Hyde‘s future with the team uncertain being that he will become an unrestricted free agent, the team needs more guys that can help elevate Garoppolo’s game.

It’s certainly a team with a number of holes, but there’s undoubtedly newfound hope that the organization has found their next franchise quarterback given this late season run.

Here’s more notes from around the NFC:

  • While the Eagles have a number of assistant coaches that could be in-line for head coaching gigs after the conclusion of this season, the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas has gone a bit under-the-radar in terms of garnering interest from general manager needy teams, opines Jeff McLane of The Inquirer. Douglas surprisingly wasn’t mentioned in the league’s annual list of prospective GM candidates. But despite not being named, owner Jeffrey Lurie has spoken highly of the number two football man in his front office. “The hiring of Joe Douglas, I thought, was the pivotal moment of the last year,” said Lurie. With Douglas’ guidance, the Eagles have made a number of quality football decisions that has led them to being on the verge of clinching home field advantage in the NFC. McLane does mention that while Douglas is highly-regarded in league circles, he’s still viewed as strictly a “football guy”, which isn’t the type of person that is now needed to lead an entire front office, according to McLane. Nevertheless, if the Eagles continue to dominant with Douglas partially at the helm, he definitely should start to become more sought after for a lead job in the years to come.
  • Despite the Cowboys getting Zeke back for the first time since Week 8, the team is still dealing with a number of injuries entering their season-defining Week 16 game against Seattle. Star left tackle Tyron Smith is currently dealing with back and knee injuries, but he will “give it a try” this Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Defensive tackle David Irving has been officially ruled out for a third straight game because of a concussion as well, reports David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). Although, there is some good news on the injury front for the Cowboys as stud pass rusher Demarcus Lawrence practiced fully on Friday and is ready to go, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com.
  • The Seahawks are also dealing with a few critical injuries of their own prior to the Week 16 contest, even though the injury news seems to be a bit better on Seattle’s side. Head coach Pete Carroll said after practice that linebacker Bobby Wagner and strong safety Bradley McDougald are on track to play on Sunday, but the team would “wait-and-see” if cornerback DeShawn Shead would be activated from the PUP for this weekend’s matchup, reports Brady Henderson of ESPN.com.

Seahawks Sign S Bradley McDougald

One of the best defensive players left on the board is now spoken for. Safety Bradley McDougald has agreed to terms with the Seahawks on a one-year deal, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. He’ll earn $2MM, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). The former Bucs notable was also mulling an offer from the Browns, La Canfora adds. Bradley McDougald (Vertical)

McDougald, 26, has been a full-time starter for the last two years. The former UDFA graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 42 safety last year, but he regarded more highly by traditional evaluation methods. In his four seasons with Tampa Bay, McDougald started 31 games and recorded four interceptions with 14 passes defensed. Once the Bucs signed fellow defensive back J.J. Wilcox to a two-year deal, odds were that McDougald wound wind up elsewhere.

In Seattle, McDougald will likely be the first safety off the bench to relieve Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. In Cleveland, we presume, he would have had a chance of starting. It’s possible that McDougald chose the Seahawks over the Browns because of their higher likelihood of winning in 2017 and the potential for him to boost his value as a part of a strong defense. McDougald is still young and he could cash in on a multi-year deal this time next year if he performs well.

Heading into Wednesday, PFR’s Dallas Robinson had McDougald ranked as the No. 2 safety left on the board behind T.J. McDonald. Darius Butler was ahead of both players on the list, but he circled back to the Colts when the second wave of free agency got underway. He was our No. 10 ranked safety at the outset of free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bradley McDougald Visits Browns

Bradley McDougald made his second visit of free agency, making a trip to Cleveland to meet with the Browns, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This comes after the veteran safety met with the Seahawks.

Cleveland still has more than $61MM in cap space and houses inexperience at safety. An Ohio native, McDougald made a career-high 91 tackles last season and matched his career best with two interceptions while a member of the Buccaneers.

The 26-year-old safety has been a full-time starter since the 2015 season for the Bucs despite arriving in Tampa as a UDFA in 2013. Cleveland has a host of younger safeties on its roster but no one as seasoned as McDougald, a Kansas University product. The Browns have former Eagles fifth-rounder Ed Reynolds, Browns 2015 fourth-rounder Ibraheim Campbell and 2016 Browns fourth-rounder Derrick Kindred as current safeties rostered. Pro Football Focus graded Reynolds as a top-50 safety but placed Campbell and Kindred as two of his worst back-line defenders in 2016. McDougald graded as the site’s No. 42 safety.

He would be a bigger addition for the Browns than the Seahawks due to this, and Cleveland certainly has the cap room to offer the fifth-year safety a better deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.