Bradley Pinion

NFC South Notes: Payton, Brees, Quinn

The extension that Saints head coach Sean Payton signed last month is a whopper. Payton was making $9MM per year under his previous contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the offensive guru will now be pulling down around $13MM per season. That deal is one of the largest among coaches of North American professional sports, and it obviously will put an end to speculation concerning Payton’s long-term future in the Big Easy.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with the other face of the Saints:

  • Drew Brees is throwing a football again, as shown on a video that the Saints star posted on Instagram. Brees managed to avoid a trip to the IR, and last week we learned that he is making progress in his recovery from thumb surgery. New Orleans is 2-0 with Brees’ backup, Teddy Bridgewater, at the helm, and the club will try to make that 3-0 against Tampa Bay this afternoon. Previous reports suggested that Brees could return for the club’s November 10 matchup with the Falcons.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says an Atlanta loss to the Texans today could expedite Quinn’s ouster. After all, a loss would drop the team to 1-4, and with difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks following the Falcons’ matchup with the Cardinals next week, Atlanta could be looking at a 2-6 record after the first half of the season. Atlanta has three former head coaches on its staff — offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, and receivers coach Raheem Morris — and owner Arthur Blank may be thinking about putting one of them in charge to finish out the season if Quinn can’t right the ship immediately.
  • Greg Auman of The Athletic observes that the Buccaneers could be in line for a third-round compensatory pick to offset the loss of Kwon Alexander in free agency and a fourth-rounder to offset the loss of Adam Humphries. As it currently stands, Tampa Bay signed enough outside free agents to negate those compensatory picks, but given that some of those free agents are underperforming (or barely playing), the Bucs could cut them loose prior to Week 9 to put themselves back on track for the compensatory selections. That means that Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Bradley Pinion could all be in danger of being cut.

West Notes: Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks

After signing several lower-key free agents last year, the Raiders operated aggressively in March. After adding Antonio Brown, the team signed Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict. All are in line to start. But the Raiders’ most deficient area was not fully addressed until the draft. Mike Mayock did not view this year’s class of edge rushers as good fits for the Raiders, who then took three defensive ends in the draft. This perhaps affected the Raiders’ ability to sign UDFA defensive ends.

We didn’t think that free agency was going to be the answer for that,” Mayock said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) of addressing the team’s need for edge help. “I thought we did a really nice job here over the weekend to the extent that we couldn’t even sign any (undrafted) free agent defensive ends because they saw we drafted three. They’re all staying away from us.”

Most thought the Raiders reached at No. 4 to draft Clelin Ferrell, whom one league executive said (via Mike Sando of ESPN.com, ESPN+ link) was slower than an NFL quarterback of average speed. The Raiders also drafted Eastern Michigan’s Maxx Crosby in the fourth round and Prairie View A&M’s Quinton Bell in the seventh. While the Raiders did sign Benson Mayowa in free agency, they may still need assistance at this position after their 2018 pass rush recorded the fewest sacks (13) of any NFL team in 10 seasons.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, continuing with a possible Raiders need area:

  • Jon Gruden said Kolton Miller will stay at left tackle, with Trent Brown lining up on the right side and Brandon Parker now a swing player. Gabe Jackson will remain at right guard, but after the Raiders traded All-Pro Kelechi Osemele for a Day 3 pick, the team has a hole at left guard. Gruden said (via Bair) the team will still monitor outside help at that spot. As of now, 2018 waiver claim Denzelle Good is stationed with the first unit there. While Good made 20 starts with the Colts from 2015-17, the free agent market — which includes Andy Levitre, Stefen Wisniewski, Chance Warmack and Shawn Lauvao, among others — may be able to produce a better starter.
  • The 49ers will proceed cautiously with Nick Bosa. Despite the No. 2 overall pick participating fully at the Combine, the 49ers held him out of team drills at rookie minicamp this week. After Bosa missed most of his junior season at Ohio State due to a core muscle injury, the 49ers plan work him in slowly, a team official told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The first punter went off the board in the fourth round this year, with the 49ers making Mitch Wishnowsky being the highest-drafted punter since the Jaguars took Bryan Anger in the 2012 third round. However, the 49ers did not expect to need a punter, per Maiocco, who notes they viewed 2015 fifth-round pick Bradley Pinion as a player likely to be re-signed. Instead, the Buccaneers swooped in and landed the free agent specialist on a four-year, $11MM deal.
  • It looks like the Seahawks‘ search for backup-quarterback candidates may continue. Paxton Lynch resides on Seattle’s roster, but considering his career thus far, it’s no lock the former first-rounder will be Russell Wilson‘s primary backup. The three players who took part in the Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend — UDFA Taryn Christion (South Dakota State) and tryout arms Troy Williams (Utah) and Michael O’Connor (University of British Columbia) — did not fare well. “I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time,” Pete Carroll said (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson, on Twitter). “I thought they struggled with the system and play-calling.”

Contract Details: McCourty, Williams, Lewis

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts:

Buccaneers Sign Bradley Pinion, Release Bryan Anger

The Buccaneers will release punter Bryan Anger, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Anger was the fourth highest-paid punter in the league and was due $3MM in 2019. There was no guaranteed money left on the five-year extension he signed at the end of 2016, so Tampa Bay will shave the full $3MM from its cap.

Tampa Bay will replace Anger with Bradley Pinion, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Pinion spent the first four years of his career with the 49ers after being selected by San Francisco in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.

Both Pinion and Anger were near the bottom of the league in terms of net yards per punt in 2018. Pinion was marginally more effective in pinning opponents inside their 20, but not demonstrably so. Neither player has received a Pro Bowl nod in their careers.

Extra Points: Brown, Bills, Steelers, Redskins, 49ers, Broncos

The Antonio Brown era with the Bills didn’t last long. Shortly after it was reported that Brown was headed to Buffalo, the report turned out not to be true. It was acknowledged by all parties that there were talks between the Steelers and Bills but we didn’t know many details of what exactly happened, until now. Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News came out with a story that delved into what happened, and talks apparently broke down because of Brown’s contract. Bills brass was going back and forth with Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, and “discussed a potential renegotiation of the receiver’s contract,” according to Carucci.

Carucci noted that the more new money the Bills gave Brown, the less compensation they were willing to give the Steelers in a trade and vice versa. Carucci shot down reports that Brown was mortally opposed to playing in Buffalo, writing that the Bills were confident that “if they met his financial demand and were able to make the trade, Brown would have happily joined them.” In the end, renegotiating Brown’s contract proved too difficult and is what ultimately led to the breakdown in talks.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of Brown, the Bills weren’t the only team to withdraw over Brown’s contract. Another team pursuing Brown walked away because “it was communicated to them” that Brown wanted a new contract that would make him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL with any new team, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. It was previously thought that the Steelers’ demands for a first round pick might’ve been delaying this process, but it sounds like Brown’s contract is the biggest hurdle at the moment.
  • While Brown still hasn’t been traded, Case Keenum has. Keenum was dealt to the Redskins yesterday in a surprising trade, and fans weren’t the only ones caught off guard by the move. Keenum apparently didn’t know it was coming either, and neither he nor his camp were involved in finding Washington as a landing spot, according to Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post (Twitter link). Alex Smith is very likely to miss at least the entire 2019 season, and as of right now Keenum is likely to be the team’s starting quarterback next season.
  • 49ers punter Bradley Pinion “has been telling those around him that he does not expect to be back” next year, Matt Barrows of The Athletic hears. Barrows points out that Pinion ranked 24th in net average and had 22 punts inside of the 20-yard line, putting him somewhere in the middle of the pack. He also handled kickoffs, so the Niners will have to find someone new to cover both roles assuming they move on. Pinion was a fifth round pick of San Francisco back in 2015, and is about to enter unrestricted free agency.
  • Broncos offensive tackle Billy Turner had been discussing an extension with the team, but those talks have “broken off”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that Turner will now hit the open market, and that the Broncos will now be a “prime” candidate to sign a right tackle in free agency. Turner started 11 games for the Broncos last season, earning average marks from Pro Football Focus.

NFC West Notes: Lee, Davis, Washington

Anthony Davissudden retirement announcement and caveat this may be a boxing-style sabbatical rather than a move similar to ex-teammates Patrick Willis or Chris Borland will feature financial ramifications.

Should Davis indeed return next season or in 2017, it will likely cost him the signing bonus money he intends to pay back to the 49ers, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The 49ers will place the right tackle on their reserve/retired list, retaining his rights and locking in his 2015 salary for the next season in which Davis plays, if he does. But Florio notes the 2011 labor deal doesn’t contain language about a player returning to the game’s ability to recoup signing bonus money he returned, which could lead to the 49ers and the NFL management council to argue that the bonus money is gone forever. In Davis’ case, that figure is $4.66MM.

NFL Insiders also suggest to Florio that Davis could have said his 2014 concussion was limiting his ability to play and force the 49ers to either cut him or place him on injured reserve instead of him retiring with a much bigger hint at a return to the game than most who retire offer, complicating this process.

Here are a few other Saturday-afternoon items from the NFC West.

  • Retirement, trades or free agency have besieged the 49ers’ Pro Bowl contingent of its roster, which was one of the league’s healthier stables last season, writes Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. The team’s trade of Andy Lee marked the fifth Pro Bowl performer — after Mike Iupati and Frank Gore‘s traditional exits, and the retirements of Patrick Willis and Justin Smith — San Francisco has lost in the past three months.
  • The 33-year-old Lee, midway through a six-year, $20.5MM extension he signed in 2012, will make $2.55MM this season in Cleveland, but his cap figure balloons to $4.13MM by 2018, writes Branch. Assuming Lee’s spot, 21-year-old draftee Bradley Pinion led all Power 5 conference punters with 33 induced fair catches, according to Pro Football Focus. The ex-Clemson punter who’s stood out this offseason with the 49ers flashed potential in high school with a 100-yard kickoff at a national showcase.
  • Daryl Washington‘s murky future remains, especially after the Cardinals linebacker’s agent hasn’t exactly been timely with paperwork, reports Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Eligible for reinstatement 60 days prior to the one-year anniversary of his suspension (May 30, 2014), Washington has yet to force any action from Roger Goodell since agent Jordan Woy hasn’t submitted his reinstatement application. Woy plans to do so soon, but as Somers points out, a player who’s met the criteria to return and has the desire to do so would’ve probably had the application submitted the first day it was permitted.
  • The Rams are shuttling three candidates into first-team reps, with Tim Barnes, Demetrius Rhaney and Barrett Jones vying to replace Scott Wells, reports Joe Lyons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Second-year pro Rhaney, from Tennessee State, received the first snapping work on Friday after spending last season on IR.
  • Greg Robinson‘s shed 20 pounds and is working out at 319 currently, notes Lyons. The 2014 No. 2 overall pick is still recovering from offseason toe surgery.

49ers Sign Nine Draft Picks

The 49ers announced they have signed nine of their ten draft picks. That group includes second round safety Jaquiski Tartt but does not include first round defensive end Arik Armstead.

Tartt, third-round linebacker Eli Harold, third-round tight end Blake Bell, third-round running back Mike Davis, fourth-round wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, fifth-round punter Bradley Pinion, sixth-round lineman Ian Silberman, seventh-round lineman Trent Brown, and seventh-round tight end Rory Anderson.

Tartt, 23, played in 44 games and totaled 277 tackles, six interceptions, 20 passes defensed and 6.5 tackles for loss in his career. The Samford product was named American Football Coaches Association FCS All-America team and Second-Team AP All-America in his senior season.

NFC West Notes: Wilson, Irvin, Lee, Gunter

Contract talks between the Seahawks and Russell Wilson are going “a little slow,” according to head coach Pete Carroll, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). They are talking, but are not progressing as fast as the two sides would like. Condotta writes that Adam Schefter of ESPN followed that news up by reporting that Wilson is looking for guaranteed money of a quarterback while the Seahawks are trying to sign him for less (via Twitter).

Here are some other notes from around the NFC West:

  • Condotta also points out that while Carroll says nothing is final about a possible extension for former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, but also says nothing to a report that the Seahawks would like to trade the young linebacker (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers have not asked punter Andy Lee to take a pay cut, but drafting Clemson punter Bradley Pinion in the fifth-round certainly puts his future with the team in question, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). Cole notes that Lee is scheduled to make $2.05MM in base salary in 2015, suggesting the team could look to save some money at that position on the roster.
  • The Cardinals felt forced to trade up in the fourth round to select Delaware State’s Rodney Gunter, as they were convinced that another team drafting in that area was going to take their coveted defensive line prospect, according to Kent Somers of AZCentral.com (via Twitter).
  • After drafting Missouri receiver Bud Sasser in the sixth round, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes Rams have now gone with an offensive player in all six of their selections in the 2015 NFL Draft (via Twitter). They have taken three offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a running back to go along with Sasser so far, in hopes of building up an offense that has been far behind their stout defense the past few seasons. The last defensive player they have chosen was Michael Sam in the seventh round last year.

Draft Notes: Winston, Edwards, Valles

Jameis Winston‘s father says he won’t announce a decision on whether he’ll enter the NFL draft until after the College Football Playoff National Championship, as David M. Hale of ESPN.com writes. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Winston would be going pro, but that’s apparently not the case. Multiple sources tell Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter) that the FSU star is seriously considering staying in school for another year. Later, Getlin (link) said that Winston “just might shock the world.” While we wait and see what the quarterback does, let’s take a look at the latest draft news..

  • The University of Houston announced that wide receiver Deontay Greenberry will enter the 2015 NFL draft, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (on Twitter).
  • Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards plans to enter the NFL draft, according to Joe Schad of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Edwards, 21 in April, is the son of former NFL cornerback Mario Edwards Sr.
  • University of Virginia linebacker Max Valles took to Twitter to announce that he’ll be entering the 2015 draft. Valles is not considered to be one of the nation’s top linebacker prospects by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr (Insider subscription required). Valles originally said in December that he would be staying in school, but he apparently has had a change of heart. The linebacker has promise, but not much in the way of collegiate experience. After spending his first year out of high school at a prep school, he played only two seasons for Virginia. This season, Valles led his team with nine sacks and also had 12.5 tackles for loss.
  • Punter Bradley Pinion announced that he has decided to enter the draft, according to a release on the Clemson Tigers’ website. Pinion averaged 42.6 yards per punt, fifth-best in the ACC, in 2014. He had 28 punts inside the 20 to lead the ACC and break his own school record for a season.