Brandon Brooks

Eagles Rumors: Foles, Tate, Graham

Will the Eagles move on from Nick Foles this offseason? It sure sounds like it, based on what head coach Doug Pederson said in a Monday morning radio interview.

I can’t say enough good things about Nick,” Pederson said (via WIP). “For him to come here and be the backup behind Carson and then to do the things he’s done the last two years, like I said I can’t thank him enough. He’s a pro’s pro. He’s a great human being, great leader in the locker room. He’ll always be remembered in Philadelphia for bringing a Super Bowl to this city. So, a lot of great things for him and we’ve got these next few weeks, few months to make some tough decision, but we’ll make them at that point.”

Last April, Foles and the Eagles agreed to a reworked contract with a mutual option for the 2019 season. The Eagles can opt into the deal if they are willing to carry Foles’ $20MM salary, but the QB can instead choose to enter free agency if he repays a $2MM signing bonus to the club.

Right now, it sounds like the Eagles will let Foles fly away while moving forward with Carson Wentz.

Here’s more out of Philly:

  • Wide receiver Golden Tate told reporters that he took the most lucrative offer in his first trip through free agency when he left the Seahawks for the Lions (via Mosher). This time around, however, he says he’s looking to play for a winner. That may bode well for the Eagles’ chances of retaining him, though they are especially tight against the cap. Tate, 31 in August, had 30 catches for 278 yards and one touchdown after joining the Eagles in the middle of the season. He put up a 5/46/1 line against the Bears in the opening round of the playoffs but was largely a non-factor against the Saints on Sunday.
  • Pending free agent Brandon Graham won’t say it outright, but Eliot Shorr Parks of WIP (on Twitter) gets the sense that Graham would be willing to take a little bit less money to stay with the Eagles. Graham, 31 in April, had 39 tackles and four sacks in the regular season, numbers that are down from his strong 2017 campaign. Still, Graham graded out as the ninth-best edge defender in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus, placing ahead of notables such as Demarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, and Olivier Vernon.
  • Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks confirmed that he has suffered a torn Achilles injury in Sunday’s loss to the Saints (Twitter link via Geoff Mosher). He’ll have a 6-8 month timetable for recovery after undergoing surgery, which may allow him to participate in training camp.

Extra Points: Dolphins, Eagles, Brooks, Kelce, Gates, Chargers

The Dolphins are entering a complete rebuild in 2019, with a new head coach, new front office head, and likely a new quarterback. New GM Chris Grier is continuing to make moves, as he’s bringing in Bills national scout Marvin Allen to be his new assistant GM, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s the latest in a series of coaching and front office swaps teams have made in the AFC East, with Adam Gase going from the Dolphins to the Jets, Brian Flores going from the Patriots to the Dolphins etc.

Schefter writes that Grier and Allen “have a strong relationship.” The Dolphins have perhaps the most unclear path forward of any team in the NFL with a ton of uncertainty, so Grier and Allen will have their work cut out for them. Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald chimed in with a tweet to say that Allen was “widely respected” and a “very good evaluator.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • We heard earlier today that Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a “serious” lower leg injury in the team’s loss to the Saints, and now we have some clarity. Brooks, who was recently named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, tore his Achilles during the game, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). He wasn’t the only significant player to tear his Achilles during the game, as Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins suffered the same injury. Brooks still has a couple years left back on the huge deal he signed in 2016, but he could miss a significant portion of the 2019 season with this injury. Pro Football Focus gave Brooks the ninth highest grade of any guard in the league, so it’s a massive blow to Philly’s offensive line.
  • Speaking of the Eagles, Brooks isn’t the only member of the offensive line they might be losing for 2019. All-Pro center Jason Kelce hasn’t decided whether or not he is going to play next year, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Kelce told reporters he has considered retiring each of the past couple seasons, so it sounds like a real possibility that he calls it quits this offseason. The 2011 sixth round pick turned 31 in November. If he does indeed retire, the Eagles’ offensive line would be a lot worse off next year.
  • Speaking of retirement, Antonio Gates isn’t ready to hang them up quite yet. Gates told reporters after the Chargers’ loss to the Patriots that he wanted to keep playing if the Chargers would take him back, per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. The all time leader in touchdown catches for tight ends was only brought back after Hunter Henry tore his ACL last May, so it’s unclear if the Chargers actually have any interest in retaining him for another year. The 38-year-old caught 28 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns this season. If he did play his final game today, he got a garbage time touchdown from Philip Rivers as a nice sendoff.

Eagles RG Brandon Brooks Likely Done For The Year

Players have been dropping like flies in the divisional round game between the Saints and Eagles happening right now, and another one appears to have a season ending injury.

Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks has a “serious lower leg injury”, and it’s “unlikely he plays again this season”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s a big blow to the Eagles’ offense as Brooks had been having a great season. The Miami of Ohio product was recently named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, and started all 16 games for Philadelphia this season.

It means the Eagles will be significantly shorthanded as they attempt to deal with this tough New Orleans defensive front in the second half. Brooks signed a massive five-year deal with the Eagles back in 2016, and amended his contract last spring so that Nick Foles could get more money. Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins already tore his Achilles earlier in the game, and the serious injuries have been piling up. It’s unclear what exactly Brooks is dealing with, but the initial terms Rapoport is using suggest it isn’t anything too longterm.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Notable 2019 Pro Bowl Incentives/Escalators

The NFL announced the 2018 Pro Bowl rosters earlier on Wednesday, and aside from determining which players will spend a week in Orlando early next year, the rosters also dictate several important bonuses and/or contract escalators for individual players. Former NFL agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry has rounded up the notable incentives earned, and we’ll pass those along below. As Corry notes (Twitter link), only first ballot Pro Bowlers who actually participate in the game (unless injured or playing in the Super Bowl) are in bonuses, which are typically paid out by the end of March.

Here are the notable Pro Bowl bonuses and escalators that were netted last evening (all links to Corry’s Twitter):

Bonuses

  • Ravens S Eric Weddle$1MM; requires Baltimore in playoffs (link): For the second consecutive season, Weddle’s bonus will ride on the ability of the Ravens to earn a postseason berth. Baltimore is one of several teams in the mix for the AFC’s No. 6 seed, but FiveThirtyEight gives the club only a 41% chance of actually making the playoffs. Weddle, who will be entering his age-34 campaign in 2019, could potentially retire or be released before next season starts.
  • Chargers C Mike Pouncey, $500K (link): Pouncey somewhat surprisingly earned a Pro Bowl nod alongside his brother, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey. Mike Pouncey hasn’t been a terrible player by any means, but Raiders center Rodney Hudson has undoubtedly been better. Signed to a two-year contract this offeason, Pouncey is due a $6MM base salary and a $1.5MM roster bonus in 2019.
  • Vikings WR Adam Thielen, $500K (link): Thielen, notably, signed arguably the most team-friendly contract in the NFL in March 2017, a three-year deal that’s worth less than $20MM. By picking up a half-million dollar Pro Bowl bonus, Thielen will collect a bit more cash, but he’s still vastly underpaid. Second in the league in receptions, Thielen will count just $11.5MM total on the Vikings’ salary cap over the next two years.
  • Eagles TE Zach Ertz, $100K (link): Ertz will also see his base salaries increase by $250K in each of the 2019, 2020, and 2021 campaigns. He’s already surpassed career-highs in both receptions and yardage, and could top his career-high of eight touchdowns with a strong showing down the stretch.

Escalators

  • Chiefs T Eric Fisher, $500K base salary increase in 2019 (link): While Fisher hasn’t necessarily lived up to his status as a former No. 1 overall pick, he has played nearly every offensive snap for the Chiefs over the past six years while offering respectable play. He’s signed through 2021 as part of a four-year, $48MM extension he inked in 2016. Kansas City’s best tackle — Mitchell Schwartz, who mans the right side — has somehow been named second-team All-Pro for three consecutive years without ever being given a Pro Bowl nod.
  • Lions CB Darius Slay, $550K base salary increase in 2019 (link): Slay needed to reach two of three thresholds in order to earn his escalator. While he hasn’t yet met a five interception requirement, he was named to the Pro Bowl and has played on at least 80% of the Lions’ defensive snaps.
  • Packers WR Davante Adams, $250K base salary increase in 2019 (link): While he’s not quite at Thielen-level in terms of selling himself short, Adams arguably signed his extension with the Packers well before he needed to. Adams took a four-year, $58MM deal in December 2017, just months before he was scheduled to hit the open market. He’s vaunted to true No. 1 wideout status this year, but he’s just the NFL’s ninth-highest-paid wideout in terms of annual average.
  • Eagles G Brandon Brooks, $250K base salary increase in 2019-2020 (link): Brooks, 29, is quietly one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and Pro Football Focus currently grades him as the No. 5 guard in the league. He’s signed through the 2020 season, although his contract does contain two void years in 2021-22 that are in place only for salary cap purposes.

Eagles’ Brandon Brooks Restructures Deal

For the second time in five months, Eagles guard Brandon Brooks has amended his contract, as ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets. This time around, the offensive lineman has reworked his deal to accommodate teammate Nick Foles.

The revision to Brooks’ deal will create $6.37MM in cap space by converting his base salary into bonuses. The adjustment drops his cap number to $4.768MM in 2018, allowing the Eagles to give Foles a raise this season, plus extra incentives.

If [you’re] wondering about the restructure, I get $4MM now [and] $4MM by Sept. 1 with a couple hundred thousand over the season,” Brooks tweeted. “The reason I did it was because the [expletive] SUPER BOWL MVP DESERVED MORE MONEY. Love you bro.”

Brooks, 29 in August, earned his first career Pro Bowl selection last year. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 ranked guard in the entire NFL in 2017, behind only Zack Martin of the Cowboys, David DeCastro of the Steelers. and Andrew Norwell of the Jaguars (formerly of the Panthers).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Create Additional Cap Space

The Eagles converted $745,588 of guard Brandon Brooks‘ remaining base salary to a signing bonus and dropped his base salary rate to the league minimum ($775K), according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). The move creates $559K in cap space for Philadelphia. Brandon Brooks (vertical)

The Eagles badly needed the wiggle room. Currently, the Eagles are in the bottom five league-wide in cap space and they’ll have to make moves in order to get under the cap this offseason.

The good news for the Eagles, financially, is that the majority of their starters are signed through at least next season. Some hard choices will have to be made as they look to strengthen their reserves, but the Eagles should be able to carry over most of their roster into 2018. Considering that they’re 12-2 with a very real chance at winning it all, that’s a good thing. Their top internal free agents include running back LeGarrette Blount, linebacker Nigel Bradham, defensive tackle Beau Allen, and tight end Trey Burton.

Brooks, 28, earned his first career Pro Bowl selection this week. He stands as Pro Football Focus’ No. 2 ranked guard in the entire NFL this year, behind only David DeCastro of the Steelers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Notable 2018 Pro Bowl Incentives/Escalators

The NFL announced the 2018 Pro Bowl rosters earlier tonight, and aside from determining which players will spend a week in Orlando early next year, the rosters also dictate several important bonuses and/or contract escalators for individual players. Former NFL agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry has rounded up the notable incentives earned tonight, and we’ll pass those along below. As Corry notes (Twitter link), only first ballot Pro Bowlers who actually participate in the game (unless injured or playing in the Super Bowl) are in bonuses, which are typically paid out by the end of March.

Here are the notable Pro Bowl bonuses and escalators that were preliminarily netted this evening (all links to Corry’s Twitter):

Bonuses

  • Ravens S Eric Weddle, $1MM; requires Baltimore in playoffs (link): Still playing like one of the league’s best coverage safeties at the age of 32, Weddle needs the Ravens to land one of the AFC Wild Card slots in order to earn his incentive. Baltimore appears to on course to do just that, as FiveThirtyEight gives the club an 87% of earning a postseason berth. That playoff appearance will be largely due to the Ravens’ defense, which ranks second only to Jacksonville in DVOA.
  • Bills S Micah Hyde, $400K (link): Sean McDermott can coach defensive backs. After spending years finding gems at safety for the Eagles and Panthers, the Bills head coach has helped Hyde transform into a top-notch DB. Hyde, who inked a five-year, $30.5MM contract with Buffalo in the spring, ranked a respectable 53rd in Pro Football Focus‘ safety grades a year ago. This season? He’s ninth.
  • Raiders G Kelechi Osemele, $300K (link): Under general manager Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders have employed what is often referred to as an “all cash” salary cap management system, wherein prorated signing bonuses are rarely used while base salary guarantees, roster bonuses, and — as evidenced by the number of Oakland players on this list — incentive clauses are heavily employed. Osemele, the league’s highest-paid interior offensive lineman, is signed through 2020 with cap charges north of $10MM in each season.
  • Rams K Greg Zuerlein, $250K (link): While the Los Angeles offense garners the most headlines, the club’s special teams unit has maintained its dominance under coordinator John Fassel, who briefly took over as the Rams’ interim head coach in 2016. Fassel, Zuerlein, & Co. have managed a No. 2 ranking in special teams DVOA, while Zuerlein himself has been worth 15.1 points of field position (second in the NFL).
  • Raiders T Donald Penn, $200K (link): Penn’s summer holdout lead to extra guarantees in the future, but didn’t end with a change to his 2017 salary, meaning this bonus part of his original deal. The 34-year-old Penn is currently on injured reserve, and will miss his first game since 2007 on Sunday. Still, his renegotiated contract now contains a $3MM guarantee for 2018, meaning he’s likely part of the Raiders’ plans.
  • Patriots ST Matthew Slater, $150K (link): Slater has now earned a Pro Bowl berth in every season since 2011. At some point, it’s fair to wonder if Slater is skating by on reputation, as he played only a quarter of the Patriots’ special teams snaps this year. Slater missed more special teams tackles than he made prior to his 2016 berth, tweets Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus.
  • Raiders C Rodney Hudson, $100K (link): For all of Oakland’s problems this season, the Raiders have continued to boast some of the NFL’s best pass-blocking offensive lineman. Hudson is the best pass-blocking center in the league by a wide margin, meaning he’s eminently affordable at $8.9MM annually.

Escalators

  • Lions CB Darius Slay, $550K base salary increase in 2018 (link): As Corry reports, Slay had three ways to earn this heft escalator — post five or more interceptions (he sits at seven), play on 80% or more of Detroit’s defensive snaps (he’s at 97.6%), or earn a Pro Bowl berth. Slay managed all three in what has become the best season of an increasingly impressive five-year career.
  • Eagles T Lane Johnson, $250K base salary increase each season from 2018-21 (link): Depending on Jason Peters‘ health and the Eagles’ plans, Johnson could very well be playing left tackle as soon as 2018. Even with his base salary set to increase, Johnson won’t have a cap charge north of $13.5MM over the life of his contract.
  • Eagles G Brandon Brooks, $250K base salary increase each season from 2018-20 (link): General manager Howie Roseman zeroed in on Brooks at the outset of the 2016 free agent period, and the 28-year-old has quickly proved to be one of the best free agent signings in recent memory. Brooks will earn an $8.5MM base salary — the largest during his five-year deal — in 2018.
  • Eagles TE Zach Ertz, $250K base salary increase from 2019-21 (link): Per Corry, Ertz also picked up a $100K bonus for 2017. Ertz has already set a career-high in touchdowns (eight) and has a shot to set new marks in receptions and yards even though he missed two games with injury. A former second-round pick, Ertz ranks among the top-five tight ends in catches, yards, and scores.

NFC Notes: Cards, Rams, Eagles, 49ers, Giants

There were no arguments from any of the Cardinals’ hierarchy regarding the decision to release wide receiver Michael Floyd on Wednesday, owner Michael Bidwill told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. “Yes, across the board,” Bidwill said on whether cutting Floyd on the heels of his second DUI arrest was a consensus choice. In summing up Floyd’s nearly five-year tenure with the Cardinals, Bidwill said, “He was a 2012 first-round draft choice for us, a person we thought would eventually take Larry Fitzgerald‘s position and be the No. 1 receiver for the future. Deeply disappointing that we moved on and he didn’t work out as a person we had a lot of faith in.”

More from the NFC:

  • Indications are that the Rams would like to retain general manager Les Snead, but that could depend on whom the team hires as its next head coach, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. Snead is helping chief operating officer Kevin Demoff in the Rams’ search for a successor to the fired Jeff Fisher, though Demoff didn’t give the GM a public vote of confidence Monday. “It would be a mistake right now to say we’re satisfied with where we’re at on a personnel side and to ensure that Les would be back,” declared Demoff. “I think Les would be the first person to stand up here and say the same thing.”
  • Eagles guard Brandon Brooks had a brief hospital stay in late November and has missed two of the team’s past three games because of a stomach illness. It turns out Brooks’ physical issues stem from anxiety, he announced Wednesday (via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “What I mean by anxiety condition is not nervousness or fear of the game,” Brooks explained. “I have an obsession with the game. It’s an unhealthy obsession right now. I’m working with team doctors to get everything straightened out and get the help I need.” Brooks is now taking medication and seeking professional help to curb his anxiety. Fortunately, the 27-year-old doesn’t expect the condition to affect his ability to continue in the NFL. “It’s nothing I’m ashamed of,” said Brooks. “I’ll get the help that I need, and life will go on. I’ll be fine. Career will be fine. I am concerned about it, obviously, but I’m not ‘woe is me’ at this point.”
  • The 49ers put in a waiver claim on running back Darius Jackson, a league source tells Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Unfortunately for the Niners, the Browns had top priority on the waiver wire and nabbed him instead.
  • The Giants worked out running backs Russell Hansbrough, Brandon Brown-Dukes and Julian Howsare on Wednesday, tweets ESPN’s Adam Caplan. Hansbrough ended up joining their practice squad.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Packers, Redskins, Vikings, Giants

When asked by reporters today whether Clay Matthews Jr.’s shoulder injury is more concerning that Aaron Rodgers‘ hamstring ailment, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy responded with a simple answer: “Yes.” According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, McCarthy said the club will wait for further results on Matthews’ issue before speculating as to his status for Sunday’s game against the Texans, but Green Bay can ill afford to lose any more linebackers. Starters Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez, plus reserve Kyler Fackrell, were all inactive last night, meaning the Packers are heavily leaning on Matthews’ ability play inside and outside ‘backer.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Kirk Cousins could be playing himself into the $24MM per year range as he continues to rack up yards and touchdowns for the Redskins, said former agent Joel Corry on 106.7 The Fan today (Twitter link via Grant Paulsen). Cousins, who topped the inaugural edition of PFR’s 2017 Free Agent Power Rankings, is reportedly asking for $23.94MM — the amount he’d get under the ’17 franchise tag — annually. Conflicting reports have emerged as to whether Washington would be willing to franchise Cousins again next season.
  • Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was spotted doing some light running today, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link). It was reported last week that Peterson was likely to run around this time. This could be a good sign for Peterson, who is pushing to return from IR in December.
  • 2015 first-round pick D.J. Humphries played well in his first attempt at left tackle on Sunday, and his solid showing gives the Cardinals options going forward, writes Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. Not only could Humphries continue to play on the blindside in 2016, with Jared Veldheer moving to right tackle, but he could allow Arizona to move on from Veldheer in years to come if the club needs to create cap space.
  • The Giants need to extend defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul before he hits free agency, argues Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Now more than a year removed from a fireworks accident, JPP has returned to his old form and could look to score on the open market next spring. New York, of course, has already invested heavily in its front four by handing large contracts to Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison, and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is also headed for free agency.
  • The Eagles announced that right guard Brandon Brooks has been released from the hospital. Brooks was placed in the hospital before last night’s game against the Packers and ended up missing the contest with a mystery ailment. As such, his availability for Week 13 against Cincinnati is unclear.

Brandon Brooks Hospitalized, To Miss Game

Brandon Brooks has enjoyed a bounce-back season for the Eagles, but the guard won’t have a chance to play in a nationally televised spot for his team tonight.

The mammoth lineman was hospitalized with an illness earlier today and will be out, leaving Philadelphia shorthanded up front.

Rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 5 overall guard, Brooks has been one of the team’s best players this season after signing a lucrative free agent deal to come over from the Texans. The 343-pound right guard started all 10 of the Eagles’ games this season and has suited up for at least 14 contests during his time as a starter, which has consisted of the past three campaigns.

Philadelphia is already down Lane Johnson and replacement Halapoulivaati Vaitai, so the Eagles will go with a makeshift offensive line against the Packers. Stefen Wisniewski will start at left guard, Isaac Seumalo will go to right guard, per Tim McManus of ESPN.com (on Twitter) and Allen Barbre will play right tackle for Philly tonight.

Josh Andrews will be active for the first time this season, serving as the backup guard, with Matt Tobin suiting up as the backup tackle after being a healthy scratch last week, Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

The Eagles are already without starting running back Ryan Mathews, so this rearranged blocking quintet will likely make ground advancement more difficult on the fourth-place team fighting to remain in the wild-card race.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.