Bradley Roby

Extra Points: Falcons, Giants, Eagles, Bucs

The 1-4 Falcons could face the Buccaneers without running back Devonta Freeman, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Freeman, who missed three games with an MCL sprain, is actually dealing with a new injury, as Rapoport indicates it’s a bone bruise that’s threatening to keep Freeman out of Sunday’s action. While Freeman didn’t practice today, he did work on the side, although his status for Week 6 is “in doubt, per Rapoport. Without Freeman, Atlanta would deploy a Tevin Coleman/Ito Smith combination that was used in Weeks 2-5.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Speaking of injury news, the Giants have already ruled out tight end Evan Engram for Thursday night’s game against the Eagles, meaning Rhett Ellison, who has shouldered the load since Week 3, will take over at tight end once again. Edge rusher Oliver Vernon, who’s missed the entire season to this point with an ankle issue, will make his 2018 debut. On the other side of the field, the Eagles have listed defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Corey Graham, and running back Darren Sproles as out. The latter two are especially concerning, as Philadelphia recent placed defensive back Rodney McLeod and running back Jay Ajayi on injured reserve.
  • Although Broncos head coach Vance Joseph said he’d make changes following a loss to the Jets on Sunday, defensive coordinator Joe Woods will not be relieved of his play-calling duties, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Denver gave up 512 yards of offense against New York, including a whopping 334 on the ground. Joseph, a former defensive coordinator himself, could potentially take over play-calling, but that’s not a move that will happen this week. Joseph also indicated that cornerback Bradley Roby, who was burned by Jets receiver Robby Anderson in Week 5, is still a starter “for now.” Adam Jones, who’s played on roughly a third of the Broncos’ defensive snaps thus far, could see more snaps if Roby is benched.
  • Under the terms of his five-year extension with the Buccaneers, guard Ali Marpet will earn $12.365MM through one year, $23.25MM through two years, and $33.5MM through three years, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Among left guards, Marpet’s $11MM annual average now ranks third, behind only Andrew Norwell and Kelechi Osemele, while his $27.125MM in guarantees ranks second. Marpet, who has started 44 games during his time in the NFL, has displayed exceptional versatility, as he’s played both guard spots and center in his career.
  • Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson pleaded guilty to simple possession and failure to exercise due care while driving but subsequently had a DUI charge against him dismissed, per a report from the Associated Press. Johnson’s original arrest occurred in the summer of 2017, more than a year before Denver gave him $50K in guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent. A Tennessee product, Johnson hadn’t played football in more than four years before landing with the Broncos, in part due to a rape charge of which he was later acquitted. He’s been inactive for every game in 2018.

Extension Candidate: Bradley Roby

After spending the better part of Champ Bailey‘s 10-year run in Denver trying to find a quality complementary cornerback, the Broncos landed two during a 2014 offseason in which they cut Bailey. And for the past four years, no team could match the Broncos’ cornerback trio of Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby.

This coming season will feature a different Denver secondary, however. The Broncos traded Talib to the Rams and signed Tramaine Brock to likely slide in as their new No. 3 corner. With Harris a proven starter, eyes will shift to Roby as he becomes a full-time first-unit player for the first time.

He’s entering a pivotal year for his future with Talib out of the picture. Likewise, the Broncos will see how their pass defense changes without Talib and will be eyeing Roby’s viability as a long-term cog. No extension talks have been known to have taken place this offseason. Roby’s salary spikes to $8.53MM on the fifth-year option, which is part of the reason the Broncos traded Talib and his $12MM cap number.

Denver’s right cornerback the past four years in sub-packages, Roby has both been a key presence on one of the best pass defenses in modern NFL history and enjoyed the odd distinction (for a former first-round pick) of being the third-best corner on his own team throughout that span. However, Roby’s held his own while teams largely tried to avoid Harris and Talib. In 674 snaps, Roby graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 25 corner last season.

The Broncos are still relying on their Super Bowl 50 core, but they don’t have much of a future nucleus in place just yet. Despite having an integral role on the 2014 and ’15 Broncos teams that made the playoffs, Roby at 26 would fit the profile as a player to build around going forward.

On one hand, it would make sense for the Broncos to initiate talks with Roby now to see if they can get him locked down on the kind of team-friendly deal Harris signed in late 2014. After all, he held the same role for four seasons to give the team a solid glimpse of his capabilities. But given the kind of corner contracts handed out the past few years, it would also be logical for Roby to bet on himself and hope he can firmly place his price into the eight-figure-per-year range with a strong season as a starter.

The Logan Ryan/Dre Kirkpatrick/Jimmy Smith tier ($10MM-$11MM AAV) would be well within range for Roby if he thrives as a starter, with a possibility of a climb to a slightly higher perch — on a 2019 cap that can be expected to approach $190MM — likely in play as well.

While a Roby deal would keep part of the Broncos’ corner cast together, the team would also would seemingly have to address Harris. The All-Pro corner has played on an incredibly favorable deal for the Broncos the past three seasons and would be entering a contract year in 2019. The 29-year-old former UDFA proved to be the Broncos’ most consistent defensive back when he, Talib and Roby played together. And if Roby receives an extension, Harris would figure to justifiably ask for more on his next deal — if it comes from the Broncos. Denver also drafted third-round CBs the past two years in Brendan Langley and Isaac Yiadom. This route would provide an alternative to a future with two high-level cornerback contracts on the books, but Langley struggled in limited time as a rookie and Yiadom has yet to play a snap.

Also complicating a Roby re-up are the walk-year statuses of Matt Paradis and Shaquil Barrett — PFF’s top two overall RFAs from this past offer sheet window — along with the Broncos’ projected $9MM of 2019 cap space. Of course, some of their veterans’ contracts become easier to shed after this season, opening up flexibility in the event the Broncos believe they can retain Barrett and Paradis. Considering Miller and Bradley Chubb are signed long-term, that might not be feasible if Barrett has a strong contract year.

Of course, with corners and edge rushers being Denver’s calling card post-Peyton Manning, ensuring two quality outside cover men are still on the roster after this season could be a high priority for a team looking to maximize an older nucleus’ primes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Chiefs, Bengals, Saints, Rams

The Chiefs will interview Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer for their general manager position either today or early Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Fitterer, Seattle’s co-director of player personnel, is one of six candidates linked to the Kansas City vacancy (a total that includes the Vikings’ George Paton, who declined an interview). Earlier this year, Fitterer was an initial candidate for the 49ers’ GM job, but ultimately was not asked back for a second interview. Another candidate for the Chiefs gig — Tennessee staffer Ryan Cowden — will meet with Kansas City tomorrow, as Rapoport indicated earlier today.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The Bengals told current Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby that he’d be their pick at No. 24 in the 2014 draft, but that changed after Roby was charged with OVI, as Roby explains to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Cincinnati instead chose Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a choice that — at least through three seasons — was clearly the incorrect choice. While Roby has played well as Denver’s third corner after being selected 31st overall in ’14, Dennard has struggled to get on the field in the Queen City. A fitting conclusion to the tale? Vance Joseph, now the Broncos head coach, was the Bengals defensive backs coach in 2014 who promised Roby he wouldn’t fall past pick No. 24.
  • Although Saints coaches are high on second-year defensive tackle David Onyemata, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to fill the hole vacated by the loss of veteran Nick Fairley, as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. New Orleans placed Fairley on the non-football injury list Monday after doctors ruled a heart condition wouldn’t allow him to play in 2017. Onyemata, a fourt-round pick last year out of Manitoba, played on slightly more than a third of the Saints’ defensive snaps during his rookie campaign and posted 18 total tackles. Earlier today, I ran down a list of external options New Orleans could consider to help replace Fairley’s production.
  • Connor Barwin is not only playing a 3-4 scheme once again, but will see his second go-round under the tutelage of new Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, per Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. Barwin, who signed a one-year, $3.5MM with Los Angeles this spring, struggled in Philadelphia’s 4-3 defense last season (bottom-10 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus), but he’s excited about the shift back to a 3-4. “There’s certain things I can do and I can take advantage of that you can’t necessarily do being down in an even front every single play,” said Barwin. “This is really where I want to be playing, the system I want to be in and where I’m going to have the most success.”

Broncos Exercise Bradley Roby’s Option

The Broncos have officially exercised cornerback Bradley Roby‘s fifth-year option. The move was expected, as Mike Klis of 9NEWS first reported last month. Bradley Roby (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 Fifth-Year Option Decision Tracker]

That $8.526MM salary will place Roby inside the top-20 in terms of annual cornerback figures, just ahead of fellow Broncos corner Chris Harris. Roby may or may not be worth that kind of cash and he’ll have to prove himself in 2017 if he wants to see that money. The option, of course, is guaranteed for injury only. Roby is slated to be third on Denver’s CB depth chart behind Harris and Aqib Talib, but the good news for him is that he won’t face competition from Kayvon Webster any longer.

Roby played on roughly 60% of Denver’s defensive snaps in 2016 thanks to the team’s frequent usage of the nickel set. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus weren’t high on him, but PFF did give Roby solid marks in his first two seasons.

Roby is now slated to earn ~$8.5MM in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos To Pick Up Bradley Roby’s Option

The Broncos are expected to exercise cornerback Bradley Roby‘s 2018 fifth-year option, which is valued at $8.526MM, according to Mike Klis of 9NewsBradley Roby (Vertical)

That $8.526MM salary will place Roby inside the top-20 in terms of annual cornerback figures, just ahead of fellow Broncos corner Chris Harris. It’s unclear if the 24-year-old Roby is worth that amount of cash, especially given that he’s third in line for playing time behind Harris and Aqib Talib. That rotation doesn’t figure to change much, as both Harris and Talib are signed through the 2019 campaign.

Given the prevalence of nickel packages in today’s NFL, Roby still played on roughly 60% of Denver’s defensive snaps in 2016. But he wasn’t all that effective, as Pro Football Focus graded him as just the No. 83 corner among 111 qualifiers. PFF gave Roby much more positive marks over the course of his first two seasons in the league, so the Broncos will exercise his option in the hopes of him reaching that level of play once again.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only until the first day of the 2018 league year, so unless Roby suffers a major health issue, the Broncos won’t be completely locked into Roby’s salary for the 2018 season. But as Klis notes, Roby and his representatives could conceivably use that ~$8.5MM total as a foundation in extension talks, basing any long-term salary around that number.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Hughlett, Chargers

The Broncos were expected to be one of the best teams in the NFL coming into the season after winning the AFC in 2013. They brought back most key components of a record-breaking offense, but the difference this year is on the defensive side of the ball, writes ESPN Insider Aaron Schatz.

The newfound strength of the defense has been with a few offseason additions. The team signed Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and DeMarcus Ware, and selected Bradley Roby in the first round of the NFL Draft. The defense has been far improved with these new players.

Here are some other words from around the AFC West:

  • The Broncos have a big list of impending free agents, leading to questions about how long their window to win a championship will be open. Mike Klis of the Denver Post is not overly worried, noting that a number of the free agents are restricted and that the teams will be able to lock up the big pieces like Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas.
  • The Chiefs tried out long snapper Charley Hughlett yesterday, reports Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • The Chargers are favored to beat the Chiefs this weekend, and part of the reason they have been able to succeed is the improvements they made on defense. Two additions in the secondary are big reason for that. First-round pick Jason Verrett has been phenomenal, and former Chief Brandon Flowers has had a career resurgence in San Diego, as Joel Thorman and John Gennaro noted in a Q&A on ArrowPride.com. “The biggest difference between last year’s team and this year’s Chargers is that the secondary went from atrocious to above-average with the additions of Brandon Flowers and Verrett,” said Gennaro.

Broncos Sign First-Rounder Bradley Roby

The Broncos have signed first-round cornerback Bradley Roby to his rookie contract, the team announced today in a press release. The move ensures that Denver has now locked up its entire 2014 draft class, as Roby was the last of the club’s six selections to put pen to paper.

“When we looked at the board, No. 1, he was the top guy on our board,” GM John Elway said of Roby during the draft. “When we talked about immediate help and a talented guy like that, he’s the guy that would have the biggest impact on us. So that even made it more of a thrill for us that he was still there.”

The 31st overall pick last month, Roby is in line for a signing bonus worth about $3.376MM, according to Jason Fitzgerald’s figures at OverTheCap.com. The overall four-year value of the contract for the Ohio State product will be in the neighborhood of $6.953MM, and the deal will include a fifth-year club option for 2018.

As our draft pick signing tracker shows, with Roby now under contract, only 12 first-round picks remain unsigned.

Broncos Sign Cody Latimer, Two Others

3:50pm: Paradis has also signed his four-year deal, the team announced in a press release. The offensive lineman is the 200th of 256 total draftees to reach an agreement.

3:38pm: One of the NFL’s two teams that had yet to sign any draftees coming into the day, the Broncos have sprung into action, locking up a pair of picks and working on deals with two more. Second-round receiver Cody Latimer announced on Twitter that he has signed his rookie contract with Denver, and the club confirmed in a press release that seventh-round linebacker Corey Nelson has also inked his deal.

In addition to the pair of draftees who already signed, the Broncos are also closing in on agreements with fifth-round linebacker Lamin Barrow and sixth-round center Matt Paradis, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis adds that the club’s other two drafted players – first-round cornerback Bradley Roby and third-round tackle Michael Schofield – are expected to complete their respective deals within the next 10 days or so.

Latimer will be in line for a signing bonus worth about $1.017MM, while Nelson’s will be a more modest $48.6K, per Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap. Now that Denver has secured two of its draftees, the Rams are the league’s only club without any draft picks under contract. As our tracker shows, only 57 players remain unsigned, and 11 of those are St. Louis’ picks.

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos

With only six draft choices after the trade for quarterback Alex Smith, the Chiefs had limited resources with which to augment the roster. But, general manager John Dorsey felt fortunate to grab the players available, writes Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star.

“That board, it falls in unique ways if you have a degree of patience,” Dorsey said. “I thought today we were very lucky because each one of these guys fell in their respective rounds, and each time they fell and each time we selected them, the more we got excited.” 

One of those players was Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, whom the team selected in the fifth round, No. 163 overall. It’s an interesting selection, especially with incumbent starter Smith in contract negotiations with the team, and rumors that the talks aren’t going so well.

“This time, you’re excited about all the guys we’ve got, all the additions to the team,” Smith said, per Randy Covitz of The Kansas City Star. “Time will only tell, It’s time to get to work and get those guys in and see.”

More from the AFC West below…

  • Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie strayed from his usual ways and took players with character risks, writes Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. Utah cornerback Keith McGill, a fourth-round selection, was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of DUI and possession of stolen property. Seventh-round pick Shelby Harris has been dismissed from two schools and hasn’t played a game since 2012. “It’s twofold,” McKenzie said of the reasoning for drafting players with questionable backgrounds. “One, the selection is always a chance for a player to redeem himself. When we get a situation where you give a player an opportunity, a second chance, especially when, as of late, the issues have not been like it was in the past for them.” 
  • In a separate article, Bair writes that the McKenzie and the Raiders hoped to trade down throughout the draft but were unable to find willing partners.
  • Not wanting to reach for need, the Raiders didn’t take a receiver in the draft, Bair notes. “The receivers at that time (No. 5 and 36 overall) were not high on the board,” McKenzie said. “We’re not going to reach down and take a receiver. I would have liked to (draft) a receiver. I would have. It just didn’t fall that way.”
  • All five picks on day 3 of the draft for the Raiders were defensive players, Associated Press writer Josh Dubow scribed.
  • New Broncos wide receiver Cody Latimer is among the best blocking receivers the team has ever evaluated, Denver GM John Elway said via Troy E. Renck of The Denver Post.
  • First-round pick Bradley Roby should expect to play a key role in the Broncos‘ efforts to return to the Super Bowl, Mike Klis of The Denver Post writes.
  • The Chargers finally drafted a receiver, Baylor’s Tevin Reese, with the team’s final pick in the draft, No. 240 overall, per the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Tom Krasovic.

Prospect Bradley Roby Resolves Case

TUESDAY, 10:57am: Roby has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, resolving his case, as Austin Ward of ESPN.com details.

FRIDAY, 10:53am: Roby took to Twitter to defend himself against this week’s report: “I was not driving. I did not get arrested. [I was] not in a cell. No finger prints. No mugshot.” Roby also posted a picture of his breathalyzer test, showing that he was not drunk at the time of the incident.

THURSDAY, 8:52pm: Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby has been arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired, tweets Rob Kunz of WBNS-10TV. The cornerback, who is widely projected as a late first-round pick, is due in court tomorrow.

The cornerback was found passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday. This is especially poor timing for Roby and it’s not his first run-in with the law. The Buckeyes standout was also arrested for a bar related incident last summer in Bloomington, Indiana. While the charges related to the incident were later reduced, Roby was still suspended for the first game of the 2013 season.

For Roby, the incident is yet another red flag for a prospect who is coming off of a so-so 2013 campaign. Given the gravity of the situation, it seems likely that the error in judgement will send Roby out of the first round.