Brett Jones

NFC North Notes: Packers, Vikings, Bears

A much anticipated domino finally fell earlier this week when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers agreed to terms on his mega-extension. The deal made Rodgers the highest paid player in league history, and has reset the market for the next crop of signal callers looking to sign deals.

Former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports took a look at the extension, and what it might mean for several other top quarterbacks. In a way only an expert could, he completely broke down all the cap implications the deal will have for the Packers over the coming years.

Corry notes that Rodgers’ annual salary of $33.5MM is an 11.67% increase over what Matt Ryan got on his record-setting deal, noting that it’s the “biggest increase over the previous benchmark under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.” The whole piece is worth a read, as few understand contracts as well as Corry.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Brett Jones, acquired in a trade with the Giants just last week, is the “leading candidate” to start at center for the Vikings in Week 1 according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Coaches “have raved about how quickly” Jones picked up the offense, writes Tomasson.
  • The Bears will likely “survey [the] cornerback market” according to Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Briggs also expects Chicago to add a defensive lineman in the coming days.
  • Bears tight end Adam Shaheen will be placed on injured reserve, but “could potentially return later in season” according to the team’s GM Ryan Pace (Twitter link via the Bears’ official account). Shaheen, last year’s second round pick, is suffering from both ankle and foot injuries.

Vikings Acquire C Brett Jones From Giants

The Giants have traded center Brett Jones to the Vikings in exchange for a 2019 draft pick, New York announced. New York will acquire a 2019 seventh-round choice, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Minnesota is in desperate need of help on the interior of its offensive line, as projected starting guard Nick Easton is already done for the season after undergoing neck surgery, while center Pat Elflein has been on the physically unable to perform list for the duration of training camp. Elflein is dealing with shoulder and ankle injuries, but Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer says Elflein won’t begin the regular season on the PUP list, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A former undrafted free agent, Jones started 13 games in place of the injured Weston Richburg a season ago. Jones, who joined the Giants in 2015 after spending time in the Canadian Football League, graded as the NFL’s No. 18 center among 37 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. However, the 26-year-old was expected to lose New York’s starting center job to Jon Halapio, making him expendable in the Giants’ view.

The Giants re-signed Jones this offseason on a one-year, $2.941MM second-round restricted free agent tender, and the Vikings will now assume the entirety of that contract. At last check, New York possessed only ~$1.5MM in cap space, so moving Jones and his salary off its books will give the club a little financial breathing room.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants C Brett Jones Signs RFA Tender

Giants center Brett Jones has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, the club announced today. Jones will now be paid $2.941MM for the 2018 season.

Jones was one of 14 NFL restricted free agents to be tender at the second-round level, and he’s the sixth — following Falcons guard Ben Garland, Jaguars running back Corey Grant, Seahawks cornerback Justin Coleman, and Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa, and Steelers kicker Chris Boswell — to officially sign his tender. There was no rush for Jones to ink his tender, as RFAs have until April 20 to work out offer sheets with other clubs. However, it was always unlikely that any NFL team would have been willing to sacrifice a second-round pick in order to land Jones.

New York didn’t make an attempt to re-sign free agent Weston Richburg, meaning Jones will be the club’s starting center in 2018. He should be well-equipped for the role, as the 26-year-old started 13 games in place of the injured Richburg a season ago. Jones, who joined the Giants in 2015 after spending time in the Canadian Football League, graded as the NFL’s No. 18 center among 37 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

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:

Giants Won’t Re-Sign Weston Richburg

The Giants are not interested in re-signing center Weston Richburg, who will reach free agency when the market opens next Wednesday, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Instead, New York plans to tender restricted free agent Brett Jones and deploy him as its starting center.

Richburg only appeared in four games in 2017 while dealing with a concussion, but he’s been since been medically cleared. The 26-year-old offers 50 games of experience at the pivot, but teams are reportedly considering Richburg at guard, as well. Richburg, a former second-round pick, hasn’t played guard since his rookie campaign, but any added versatility could potentially give him more value.

PFR recently ranked Richburg as the No. 34 overall free agent on the board, and he’s one of the best interior lineman available. At his position, Richburg will compete with the likes of Ryan Jensen, Matt Slauson, and John Sullivan for free agent dollars. Richburg has reportedly drawn early interest from the crosstown Jets, who have a glaring need at center.

The Giants are expected to use the second-round tender on Jones, per Schwartz. Not only would that tender entitle Jones to a $2.914MM salary in 2018, but it would allow Big Blue to reap a second-round pick if Jones inks an un-matched offer sheet with another club. Jones, 26, started 13 games in the absence of Richburg, and graded as the NFL’s No. 18 center among 37 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Trim Roster To 53 Players

The Giants have been one of the more interesting teams to watch, as cuts are made from 75 players to 53 — New York released several notable veteran players, including wide receiver James Jones, fullback Henry Hynoski, punter Steve Weatherford, and linebackers Jameel McClain and Ashlee Palmer.

In a press release today, the club confirmed those moves, along with the decision to place safety Nat Berhe on injured reserve, and announced the rest of the transactions made to get the roster down to 53 players. Here are those moves:

Released:

  • CB Chykie Brown
  • S Jeromy Miles

Waived:

  • DL Brad Bars
  • K Chris Boswell
  • OL Emmett Cleary
  • DB C.J. Conway
  • OL Sean Donnelly
  • LB Cole Farrand
  • DB Chandler Fenner
  • OL Adam Gettis
  • DL Dominique Hamilton
  • RB Kenneth Harper
  • TE Adrien Robinson
  • WR Julian Talley

Waived/injured:

  • WR Corey Washington (shoulder)

Placed on injured reserve:

  • OL Brett Jones (knee)

New York Notes: Thomas, Wilkerson, Jones

For the first time in more than 10 years, both the Jets and Giants had losing records in the same season in 2014, so there’s plenty of work to be done in the Big Apple this offseason. Let’s check in on a few Friday notes on the NFL’s two New York teams, starting with the AFC squad….

  • It sounds as if Eric Decker, who has been recruiting his former Denver teammate for the better part of a year, isn’t the only member of the Jets interested in bringing Demaryius Thomas to New York. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report hears from a “very credible” source that the Jets intend to “roll out the red carpet” for Thomas if the Broncos don’t place the franchise tag on him. I expect it to be a moot point, since I’d be shocked if Denver allows its star wideout to reach the open market.
  • The Jets have benefited from top-notch defensive line play on the cheap for the last couple seasons, but that’s about to change, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. The team figures to explore a contract extension with Muhammad Wilkerson this offseason, and the deals for J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn mean Wilkerson’s market is probably set in the $12-14MM per year range. Outside of potentially extending Wilkerson, the Jets’ priority on the defensive line this winter should be bolstering their depth in free agency, says Cimini.
  • The Giants were able to add the CFL’s Offensive Lineman of the Year to their offseason roster and didn’t have to assume any risk to do it, per Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. Raanan reports that Brett Jones‘ three-year contract with the G-Men is for the minimum salary and doesn’t include any guaranteed money.

Minor Moves: Wednesday

Here are today’s minor transactions from around the NFL, with the latest moves added to the top of the page throughout the day….

  • The Giants officially announced their previously-reported signing of former Calgary Stampeders center Brett Jones, confirming the roster addition in a press release. “It has always been a goal and a dream of mine to play in the NFL,” said the CFL’s reigning Offensive Lineman of the Year. “This is the first step, and I look forward to taking many more.”
  • Within that same press release from the team, the Giants also revealed that they’ve waived running back David Wilson, who announced last year that he would retire from the NFL due to neck issues. By cutting WIlson, who had been on the books for a $2.127MM cap hit in 2015, the Giants will create about $1.3MM in cap savings.

Giants To Sign Brett Jones

Tonight’s minor moves..

  • The Giants will sign CFL offensive lineman Brett Jones on Tuesday, according to Ian Hamilton of The Calgary Herald. Jones was named the CFL’s top offensive lineman in 2014, one season after he was voted the league’s top rookie. This offseason, Jones had workouts with the Giants, Buccaneers, and Steelers, but other NFL teams also had interest in the 6’2″, 318-pounder.

North Notes: Browns, Martz, Packers, Vikes

The Browns‘ search for an offensive coordinator appears to have been one of the league’s more expansive hunts so far, with nearly a dozen candidates linked to the position at some point, though many have since found other jobs. Still, perhaps no name among Cleveland’s candidates is more surprising than the one Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets today. According to Rapoport, former Rams head coach Mike Martz recently interviewed with the Browns for their OC job. A source tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link) that Martz is indeed interested in returning to coaching after essentially being retired since leaving the Bears after the 2011 season.

Here’s more on the Browns and a few other teams from out of the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • It’s not clear if the Browns have requested permission to interview him at this point, but Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements is on the club’s radar, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. While a move to Cleveland’s offensive coordinator job would technically be a lateral move for Clements, he doesn’t currently call the plays in Green Bay, with head coach Mike McCarthy handling that role.
  • In the wake of the Packers’ loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, right tackle Bryan Bulaga wasn’t ready on Monday to speculate about whether or not he’ll be back in Green Bay next season, as Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. “Right now, I’m really not even thinking about it to be honest with you. That’s really the last thing on my mind,” Bulaga said. “It’s a ‘we’ll see what happens’ kind of deal. This just ended yesterday. It’s kind of hard to look at it right now.”
  • With 14 players, including Bulaga, eligible for free agency this offseason, the Packers almost certainly won’t be able to retain everyone, but the “dream scenario” is to re-sign as many of those potential FAs as they can, says Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap takes a look at some of the notable upcoming offseason decisions facing the Vikings, identifying Greg Jennings‘ deal as one worth restructuring, and Adrian Peterson and Chad Greenway as likely cap casualties.
  • In addition to working out Shawn Lemon, who signed a contract, and Delvin Breaux, whose tryout was previously reported, the Steelers also auditioned offensive linemen Brett Jones and Erle Ladson, punter Kasey Redfern, and kicker Jake Rogers, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.