Brandon Copeland

AFC East Rumors: Mack, Brady, Hughes

The Raiders and star defender Khalil Mack are embroiled in contract negotiations that could result in Mack being traded. If that happens, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com suggests that the Jets should pounce. Gang Green has little pass rushing talent at the moment, and the club has $82MM of projected cap room in 2019, with only one big contract (Leonard Williams) on the horizon. Oakland would demand at least a first-round pick in return, and in addition to negotiating a high-level trade, the Jets would also need to work out a long-term deal with Mack. Those types of deals are difficult to pull off, and it is still unlikely that the Raiders part with Mack, whom they can keep under club control through three more seasons if they so choose. However, if Oakland does begin entertaining offers, Cimini would not be surprised if the Jets are one of the first teams to jump on the phone.

Let’s take a look at a few more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Jets OLB Lorenzo Mauldin is still around because of New York’s aforementioned dearth of pass rushers, but Mauldin, a 2015 third-round pick, has been dogged by injuries throughout his brief career, and he hasn’t been particularly effective even when he’s gotten on the field. As such, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets that Mauldin could be cut sooner rather than later, and that New York could let him go with an injury settlement (Mauldin is currently dealing with a leg issue that kept him out of the team’s preseason opener).
  • In a full-length piece, Mehta says that Brandon Copeland, a former UDFA out of UPenn who signed a one-year deal with the Jets this offseason after missing all of 2017, has been very impressive in camp and has been taking first-team reps over the past few days. Given the Jets’ pass rushing needs, Copeland has a real chance to get plenty of playing time this season.
  • We have written extensively on Tom Brady‘s new contract with the Patriots in recent days, and the moral of the story is that it looks as if Brady will continue playing through at least the 2019 season, and that the two sides could come to terms on another new deal next year in order to push some of Brady’s increased 2019 cap number into 2020. However, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, since Brady and the Pats officially put pen to paper on August 9, 2018, they can’t renegotiate his contract again until August 9, 2019.
  • Trent Brown, whom the Patriots acquired via trade with the 49ers earlier this offseason, is the favorite to replace Nate Solder as New England’s starting left tackle, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Brown is eligible for unrestricted free agency next year, so he will have plenty of incentive to perform at a high level.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News calls 2018 the most critical season of Bills DE Jerry Hughes‘ career. Hughes’ volatile on-field personality could be overlooked when he was posting double-digit sack totals earlier in his career, but his sack numbers have slumped since he signed a five-year, $45MM in 2015, so the unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are a little harder to stomach. His $10.4MM salary in 2018 is the highest on the Bills, and while Buffalo could have cut him this offseason and saved a little cap room, the team could save $7.5MM by releasing him after the 2018 campaign, so he may need to show a return to his early-career form to stay in Buffalo and earn another $10.4MM next year. For what it’s worth, the Bills think Hughes’ sack numbers will be improved with the addition of Trent Murphy and (hopefully) some growth out of Shaq Lawson. Plus, Hughes did grade as a top-10 run defender (among edge players) last season, in Pro Football Focus’ view.
  • The Bills shook up their defensive line rotation earlier today.
  • The Dolphins are visiting with the increasingly-popular Bashaud Breeland today.

Jets Sign LB Brandon Copeland

The Jets have added a pair of players to their defense. The team announced that they have signed linebacker Brandon Copeland. The Jets also announced that they have re-signed defensive lineman Xavier Cooper.

Copeland, a 2013 undrafted free agent out of Penn, had spent the past three seasons with the Lions organization. After appearing in every regular season game between 2015 and 2016, the 26-year-old sat out the entire 2017 campaign with a pectoral tear. In 32 career games, Copeland compiled 30 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. Earlier tonight, ESPN’s Michael Rothstein tweeted that the linebacker wouldn’t be returning to Detroit.

“Too many different levels of excitement to put into words,” Copeland said about the signing (via Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com). “Coming off of injured reserve, having to sit every Sunday, Monday and Thursday and watching other people play, I’m first and foremost excited to get back to the game that I love.”

Cooper was non-tendered by the Jets last week, but the defensive lineman will rejoin the organization on a new contract. The 2015 third-rounder split the 2017 season between the Jets and 49ers, compiling 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 13 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Lions Waive/Injured Brandon Copeland

The Lions waived/injured linebacker Brandon Copeland on Wednesday. Copeland will either land on the Lions’ injured reserve or head to free agency via an injury settlement if he goes through waivers unclaimed.

Brandon Copeland (Vertical)

Detroit lost the 26-year-old Copeland to a season-ending torn pectoral on Monday, just one day after defensive end Kerry Hyder saw his 2017 conclude prematurely on account of a torn Achilles. Copeland hasn’t been nearly as important to the Lions’ defense as Hyder has, having totaled a mere 13 tackles and one start in two seasons. However, Copeland led the Lions’ special teams unit in snaps in 2016 (305), pacing a group that Football Outsiders ranked No. 6 in the NFL. The year before, he piled up 313 ST snaps – good for third among Lions.

In less notable moves, Detroit signed offensive lineman Connor Bozick, tight end Andrew Price and defensive end Giorgio Newberry. No one from that trio has any NFL experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions’ Brandon Copeland Done For Season

For the second time in as many days, the Lions have lost a member of their front seven for the remainder of the season. After leaning Sunday that defensive end Kerry Hyder had suffered a torn Achilles, Detroit today lost edge rusher Brandon Copeland to a torn pectoral, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Brandon Copeland (Vertical)

Copeland, 26, doesn’t represent quite the same magnitude of loss as does Hyder, as though Copeland appeared in all 16 games last season, he started only one contest and played fewer than 150 defensive snaps. His main contributions came on special teams, where he appeared on nearly three-quarters of Detroit’s snaps and helped the club finish with a No. 6 ranking in ST DVOA.

Copeland originally signed with the Lions in the spring of 2015 after impressing at the veteran’s combine. Prior to joining Detroit, he’d spent time with the Ravens, Titans, and the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. Copeland is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next spring, but this unfortunate injury could lead to him being non-tendered in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/17

The latest minor moves…

  • Raiders defensive end Denico Autry has signed his RFA tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). The Raiders gave the 2014 undrafted free agent an original-round tender, leading to speculation that he could draw interest from elsewhere. Instead, Autry will return to the Raiders on the heels of back-to-back three-sack seasons. ERFAs Seth Roberts (WR) and Denver Kirkland (G) are also back in the fold, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter).
  • The Seahawks have re-signed linebacker Kache Palacio, writes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Palacio, a former fullback who went undrafted out of Washington State last year, spent most of 2016 on Seattle’s practice squad.
  • Lions ERFAs Brandon Copeland (DE), Kerry Hyder (DT) and T.J. Jones (WR) have signed their tenders, tweets Birkett. Dolphins ERFAs Mike Hull (LB) and Anthony Steen (C) did the same earlier Monday, per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Panthers have re-upped restricted free agent guard Andrew Norwell and a pair of exclusive rights free agents – center Tyler Larsen and punter Michael Palardy – writes Bryan Strickland of their website. Carolina used a second-round tender on Norwell, who will earn $2.746MM in 2017. Norwell combined for 29 starts over the previous two seasons and ranked 11th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 72 qualified guards last year.
  • Steelers RFA cornerback Ross Cockrell has inked his original-round tender, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Cockrell went in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, so the Steelers would have been entitled to a fourth-rounder had Cockrell signed elsewhere and they elected against matching the offer. The 25-year-old caught on with the Steelers in 2015 and has since totaled 31 appearances, 23 starts and two interceptions. Cockrell started in every Steelers game last year, and his performance ranked an improve 28th among 111 qualified corners at PFF.
  • Chiefs RFA kicker Cairo Santos has signed his tender, per Schefter (on Twitter). Santos, undrafted in 2014, received a low tender; as such, Kansas City wouldn’t have been entitled to compensation had he gone elsewhere. The three-year veteran has connected on 84.3 percent of field goal attempts, including 88.6 percent last season (good for fifth in the league).
  • Lions offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas has signed his RFA tender, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The Lions assigned Lucas an original-rounder tender last month, so they wouldn’t have gotten a pick had the 2014 undrafted free agent signed elsewhere and they chose not to match. Lucas is now slated to make $1.797MM this year in Detroit, where he has started in six of 35 career appearances.
  • The Buccaneers have re-signed quarterback Ryan Griffin, cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, tight end Cameron Brate, linebacker Adarius Glanton, and wide receivers Adam Humphries and Freddie Martino, per Scott Smith of the team’s website. As a restricted free agent, Griffin is the only one of the bunch who could have potentially gone elsewhere (the rest were exclusive rights free agents). The Bucs tendered the 2013 undrafted free agent at an original-round level last month, and he’ll now try to win the No. 2 role behind Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay’s previous second-stringer, Mike Glennon, is now the Bears’ starter.
  • RFA defensive back Marcus Burley and ERFA running back George Atkinson III are returning to the Browns, per a team announcement. Burley, undrafted in 2013, received an original-round tender. The former Seahawk is coming off his first year in Cleveland, where he appeared in 12 games and played just under 40 percent of the Browns’ special teams snaps.
  • Fullback Tommy Bohanon and receiver Larry Pinkard have signed with the Jaguars, tweets the team’s account. Bohanon is the only with NFL experience, having logged 36 appearances and 14 starts as a Jet from 2013-15.
  • Speaking of the Jets, they have re-signed linebacker Julian Stanford (via Randy Lange of the team’s site). The Jets could Stanford on Friday, but both sides knew that was only a procedural move. Last season was the first as a Jet for the 26-year-old Stanford, who appeared in nine games (two starts) and played about a quarter of their defensive snaps and a third of their special teams snaps.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/17

Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. All RFA tenders listed are original round/right of first refusal (worth $1.797MM), and all links go to Twitter:

RFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered: 

ERFAs:

Tendered:

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/7/17

Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted and exclusive rights free agents. All RFA tenders listed are original round/right of first refusal (worth $1.797MM), and all links go to Twitter:

RFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered:

ERFAs:

Tendered:

Non-Tendered:

RFA/ERFA Signings: 4/18/16

We’ll round the latest news on restricted and exclusive-rights free agents here…

Lions Re-Sign Tyrunn Walker

FRIDAY, 8:34am: The Lions’ contract agreement with Walker has been finalized, with the team announcing the signing in a press release.

THURSDAY, 12:23pm: A year ago, the Lions’ signing of defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker from the Saints was viewed as one of the more solid under-the-radar moves of the offseason. However, Walker’s first year in Detroit came to an early end when he suffered a broken fibula and landed on the team’s injured reserve list in early October.Tyrunn Walker

As he recovers from that injury though, Walker is prepared to sign a new contract with the Lions, According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the free agent defensive tackle is en route to Detroit today, where he will take a physical and sign a new one-year deal with the club, assuming some contractual language gets finalized.

After signing a one-year, $1.75MM pact last year, Walker will get a similar deal this time around. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Walker’s new one-year contract will be worth $1.6MM, with a chance to max out at $2.25MM. It wouldn’t be surprising if the deal features per-game roster bonuses — because the Tulsa alum only appeared in four contests in 2015, only a quarter of his per-game roster bonuses would count against the cap.

In addition to nearing a contract agreement with Walker, the Lions are in talks to bring back Haloti Ngata, and Birkett expects him to re-sign (Twitter link). As Birkett notes, retaining those two defensive tackles would give the club the flexibility to focus on other positions in free agency next week.

Speaking of free agency, Birkett also reports that the Lions have tendered contract offers to all of their exclusive-rights free agents. The following players have received ERFA tenders, per Birkett:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.