Brett Kern

Contract Details: Franklin, Kern, Cole, Vereen

A few details on some noteworthy new contracts from around the NFL:

  • Orlando Franklin, G (Chargers): Five years, $35.5MM base value. $15.5MM fully guaranteed at signing (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Brett Kern, P (Titans): Five years, $15MM base value. $2.5MM signing bonus. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com).
  • Trent Cole, OLB (Colts): Two years, $14MM base value. $2MM signing bonus. $8MM guaranteed at signing. $1MM annually in playing-time/sack incentives (Twitter links via Joel Corry of CBSSports.com).
  • Shane Vereen, RB (Giants): Three years, $12.3MM base value. $3.5MM signing bonus. $4.75MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • J.T. Thomas, LB (Giants): Three years, $10MM base value. $4.5MM guaranteed. $1MM annual escalators in 2016, 2017 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Virgil Green, TE (Broncos): Three years, $8.4MM base value. $4.2MM guaranteed. Max value of $11.25MM (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Sergio Brown, S (Jaguars): Three years, $7MM base value. $1MM guaranteed. Escalators can push total value up to $9MM (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Ed Dickson, TE (Panthers): Three years, $6.8MM base value. $2MM signing bonus ($700K deferred) (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Joe Berger, OL (Vikings): Two years, $2.155MM base value. $130K guaranteed. $800K available in incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).

Titans Re-Sign Brett Kern

Brett Kern‘s been the Titans‘ punter in every season this decade, and the Titans made a move to ensure that happens in each subsequent year in the 2010s. The Titans and Kern agreed on a new five-year contract, according to a tweet from The Tennesseean’s Jim Wyatt.

The deal is reportedly worth $15MM, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). That nearly triples the 29-year-old punter’s salary and puts him in the top 10 at the position on a per-year basis.

Kern began his career when he signed with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2008, but Denver waived him in 2009, and the Titans claimed him soon after.

Kern’s 46.8 yards per punt ranked fifth in the league last season.

South Notes: Titans, Roos, Panthers, Texans

Late last month, when I considered the idea of the Titans making use of their franchise tag this year, I singled out edge defender Derrick Morgan and punter Brett Kern as the likeliest candidates, but suggested that the club was unlikely to tag anyone. General manager Ruston Webster confirmed as much today, as Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com writes. “I don’t see it as in play,” Webster said of the franchise and transition tags, suggesting that if the Titans decide to bring back players like Morgan, Kern, and kicker Ryan Succop, they’ll simply negotiate new deals rather than locking them up with a tag.

Here’s more from out of the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Longtime Titans tackle Michael Roos still hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll play in 2015, a source tells Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com (Twitter link). Presumably, Tennessee is planning to move on without Roos, since there’s a good chance he retires, and he’s eligible for free agency anyway.
  • The Panthers have promoted secondary coach Steve Wilks, who also leads the team’s pass defense, to the position of assistant head coach, the club announced today (via Twitter). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that colleagues believe Wilks has a future as a head coach.
  • John McClain of the Houston Chronicle takes a look at a few items on the Texans‘ offseason checklist, suggesting that the team has four potential free agents it should “make every effort” to re-sign: cornerback Kareem Jackson, offensive tackle Derek Newton, outside linebacker Brooks Reed, and quarterback Ryan Mallett.
  • Speaking of Jackson, the Texans corner appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio (SoundCloud link) today and indicated that he and the team hope to work out a new agreement prior to the start of next month’s free agent period. Jackson added that he wouldn’t be thrilled with the idea of being franchised, since he’d prefer more long-term security, though I’d be surprised if Houston used its tag on him anyway, given the cost.

Extra Points: Bironas, Harrison, Rudolph

Rob Bironas was planning to continue his NFL career before his unexpected death earlier this week, according to Titans punter Brett Kern. “I talked to him on Friday, because he had the workout with the Lions, and he was so excited that it went well. I told him I was proud of him,’ and that’s the last thing I told him,” Kern told reporters, including Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean. “He was really looking forward to signing with another team.” More from around the NFL..

  • James Harrison‘s deal with the Steelers is for the veteran’s minimum, minus the three games already played, tweets Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette. Including his $65K bonus, he’ll collect just over $851K for this season.
  • There’s a chance Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph could be placed on the IR-DTR list, but “probably not,” head coach Mike Zimmer told reporters, including Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune (on Twitter).
  • Free agent cornerback Champ Bailey feels healthy and tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that he is willing to play nickel or safety if that’s what it takes to land a job somewhere.
  • Teammate Tyvon Branch is headed to the IR, but the Raiders got some good news on teammate Rod Streater. His agent tells Bill Williamson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that Streater only requires minor surgery and hopes to return in 4-5 weeks.

Extra Points: Titans, Jags, Graham, Broncos

The Titans have a number of veterans that are coming to the end of their contracts after 2014, and Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean gives his opinion of who the Titans should work to extend and who they should wait until after next season to decide on. Wyatt wants the team to extend Jurrell Casey and Brett Kern sooner rather than later, but asks the team to show patience with some of their other veteran players.

Here are a few other stories from around the NFL:

  • The Jaguars‘ pass rush is set to be much improved in 2014, and Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com is absolutely buying into they hype. His reasoning for believing in this unit is simple. The pass rush can’t get any worse, and the key additions should be able to make a difference immediately. Although Dekoda Watson only had three sacks in 60 games for the Buccaneers, the Jaguars believe he has unique pass-rushing skills, and Chris Clemons will be able to provide some pressure as well. While Red Bryant is not known as a sack artist, his contributions in the running game will put the team in better shape on passing downs, another area where they struggled recently.
  • While there has not been a lot of positivity surrounding Saints‘ tight end Jimmy Graham since losing his grievance regarding his franchise tag, Drew Brees hasn’t forgotten Graham’s value to the league, writes Julie Boudwin of NOLA.com.Jimmy Graham has revolutionized the position,” said Brees. “He’s a guy who is so talented at so many things you know and obviously he’s a big part of our offense and I hope that they’re able to reach a long-term agreement here sooner than later. At the end of the day, this is part of the process and I think we all understand that.”
  • The Broncos had the best offense in the NFL by a wide margin in 2013, and the only pieces not returning this season are receiver Eric Decker who signed with the Jets, and tailback Knowshon Moreno who is now with the Dolphins. Even still, Sayre Bedinger of PredominantlyOrange.com has highlighted five dark horse candidates to impact the offense in 2014. His top five are tight ends Virgil Green and Gerell Robinson, rookie wideout Cody Latimer, and running backs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson.

Titans Notes: Preston, Lewan, Mettenberger

The Titans are set atop their receiver depth chart with Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. There is a spot up for grabs behind the trio, and Lauren Moore of The Tennessean writes that second-year player Michael Preston is looking like the favorite. Receiver coach Shawn Jefferson gushed about the 25-year-old:

“He is my jack of all trades,” Jefferson said. “He knows all the positions. I can plug him in anywhere, he hustles, blocks, and is a great teammate.

“He has a great chance, but there is a lot of competition at this position. Right now, I’m not making any predictions, but as a coach I can’t live without him. That’s how much he means to me as a player and a person.”

The competition for the spot isn’t easy. Among the candidates are veterans Brian Robiskie, Derek Hagan, Dorin Dickerson and Marc Mariani. 2013 undrafted free agent Rico Richardson is in the mix, as well as a handful of 2014 undrafted free agents.

Here are some more notes from the Volunteer State…

  • The holdup over first-round pick Taylor Lewan‘s contract is likely regarding roster bonuses, writes ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio. The offensive tackle could be looking to replace his fully-guaranteed base salaries with roster bonuses paid out during training camp. As Florio points out, this is similar to what happened with the team’s first-round pick in 2013, Chance Warmack. Warmack ended up receiving the type of contract that Lewan is seeking.
  • Among the team’s expiring contracts, Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean suggests that the Titans should negotiate extensions with defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and punter Brett Kern. The writer wanted to see more from quarterback Jake Locker, linebacker Akeem Ayers, defensive lineman Derrick Morgan and offensive tackle Michael Roos before extending their contracts.
  • Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger is making it his goal to be the starter “from day one,” he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). I’m going to make Jake work that much harder…cause I’m coming everyday. And I’m bringing my best effort and my hardest work to the facility everyday to show that I should be the guy playing.” Mettenberger clarified that he isn’t trying to start a quarterback controversy, claiming that “any guy worth his salt” would have the same approach.