Brian Orakpo

Notable 2017 Pro Bowl Incentives/Escalators

The NFL announced the 2017 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 links), only first ballot Pro Bowlers who actually participate in the game (unless injured or playing in the Super Bowl) can earn 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):

Incentives

  • 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.
  • Colts P Pat McAfee, $250K (link): McAfee, who signed a five-year extension with the Colts in 2014, ranks third in the NFL in net punting average at 42.8 yards. The Indy special teams unit ranks fourth in the league in DVOA, while McAfee himself has been worth four points of field position on punts, third-best in the AFC.
  • Raiders S Reggie Nelson, $250K (link): Nelson sat on the free agent market until April, but has rewarded the Raiders for signing him by earning his second consecutive Pro Bowl season. The 33-year-old Nelson, who’s posted four interceptions after leading the NFL with eight picks in 2015, is in the middle of a two-year, $8.5MM deal.
  • Raiders T Donald Penn, $200K (link): Penn is the definition of stability, as the veteran left tackle hasn’t missed a game since becoming a starter during his rookie season in 2007. Penn signed a two-year, $11.9MM contract with the Raiders this spring, and is set to count $6.1MM against Oakland’s cap in 2017.
  • Raiders C Rodney Hudson, $100K (link): The third member of the Raiders’ offensive line to earn a Pro Bowl bonus, Hudson is the fourth-highest paid center in the league, earning $8.9MM annually. The No. 4 center in the NFL this year according to Pro Football Focus, Hudson is signed through the 2019 campaign.
  • Titans RB DeMarco Murray, $100K (link): After a putrid season in Philadelphia during which he barely topped 700 yards rushing, Murray has rebounded since being traded to the Titans, and is currently second in the league with 1.224 yards on the ground. He’s scored nine rushing touchdowns, and has added three more scores thorugh the air.

Escalators

  • Browns T Joe Thomas, $1.5MM 2017 roster bonus escalator (link): Thomas is due a roster bonus on the fifth day of the league year, and that bonus’ value has now increased from $1MM to $2.5MM. That bonus could factor in (in a minimal way) to any trade talks the Browns might have with other clubs, but Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson has been adamant that the Browns won’t deal Thomas.
  • Titans LB Brian Orakpo, $200K 2017 base salary escalator (link): Orakpo’s 2017 base salary will increase to $5.95MM after he was selected to the Pro Bowl and played in more than 65% of the Titans’ defensive snaps. Orakpo, who has posted 11 sacks during his second season with Tennessee, is signed through 2018.
  • Titans DT Jurrell Casey, $100K 2017 base salary escalator (link): Casey, 27, is arguably one of the more underpaid defenders in the league, as he’s due only $36MM from 2014-2018. His 2017 base salary will now increase to $5.9MM in 2017, and he’s also due a $200K roster bonus next spring.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/31/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • To fill the void left by Tim Wrightwho landed on IR today – the Lions will sign free agent tight end Ben McCord, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. McCord went undrafted this year out of Central Michigan.
  • The Cowboys have signed their two fourth-round picks, defensive end Charles Tapper and quarterback Dak Prescott, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. As a result, their only unsigned selection remaining from this year’s class is third-round defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Prescott, the more notable of today’s signings in terms of name recognition, was a three-year starter at Mississippi State and served as a major dual-threat weapon for the Bulldogs, totaling 111 touchdowns as a passer (70) and rusher (41). Tapper appeared in 39 games with Oklahoma in three seasons and piled up 13.5 sacks and 24 tackles for loss.
  • The Cardinals have cut offensive tackle Edawn Coughman, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Arizona signed the 27-year-old in January, and he previously spent time with seven other NFL organizations. He hasn’t yet appeared in a game, however.
  • The Titans have signed second-round outside linebacker Kevin Dodd, as Jim Wyatt of Titans Online writes. Nine of the team’s ten draft picks have now reached deals with the team and safety Kevin Byard stands as the lone straggler. Dodd, who recorded 12 sacks last season at Clemson, has been sidelined from OTAs after undergoing foot surgery last week. The Titans have high hopes for Dodd and so does veteran Brian Orakpo. “He is just a natural pass rusher,’’ Orakpo said of Dodd. “He knows how to get after the quarterback. I love what he brings to the table. I am very excited to have him on the team. He is going to make everyone better, and we’re going to get him better and he is going to help the pass rush.”
  • The Texans have waived offensive lineman David Quessenberry with a Non-Football Injury designation, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Quessenberry has battled cancer in the past. The Texans are hoping to have him back in some capacity if he clears waivers, Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com writes. Houston could place him on the NFI list if he clears waivers. Alternatively, the team could welcome him back in a non-playing role. The Texans re-did Quessenberry’s deal on April 20th to include a full salary split, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. If and when Quessenberry lands on the team’s NFI list, he’ll earn $333K in 2016.
  • The Vikings have signed defensive lineman Bruce Gaston and waived/injured fellow defensive tackle B.J. Dubose, Matt Vensel of the Star-Tribune tweets. Dubose tore his ACL last week. Gaston made Green Bay’s opening day roster in 2015 and he’ll now try to do the same with an NFC North rival.

Contract Details: Orakpo, D. Williams, Allen

Here are some key details on some of the notable contracts agreed to or signed by free agents this week:

  • Brian Orakpo, OLB (Titans): Four years, $31MM base value. $8.5MM fully guaranteeed. $5MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Dan Williams, DT (Raiders): Four years, $25MM base value. $15.2MM guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter links via Wilson and Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Nate Allen, S (Raiders): Four years, $23MM base value. $6.9MM fully guaranteed (Twitter links via Wilson)
  • Lance Kendricks, TE (Rams): Four years, $18.5MM base value. $6.75MM fully guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus in 2015 (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Malcolm Smith, LB (Raiders): Two years, $7MM base value. $3.75MM fully guaranteed. $2MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Blaine Gabbert, QB (49ers): Two years, $4MM base value. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Henry Melton, DT (Buccaneers): One year, $3.75MM base value. $3.25MM fully guaranteed. $1.25MM available in incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Adrian Clayborn, DE (Falcons): One year, $3MM base value. $750K signing bonus. $1.25MM available in incentives (Twitter links via Wilson).

Titans Sign Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan

1:39pm: The Titans have now officially announced their deals with Orakpo, Morgan, and the three other players they agreed to sign today (Twitter link).

7:05am: After staying relatively silent throughout the first few days of 2015’s free agent period, the Titans have made their big splash on Friday morning, fortifying their defense with a pair of pass rushers, per multiple reports. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the team has agreed to terms with former Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo. Meanwhile, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports (via Twitter) that the club has also reached a deal to re-sign its own marquee free agent, Derrick Morgan.Brian Orakpo

Both players will be signing lucrative four-year contracts with Tennessee. Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports has the terms on both deals, tweeting that Orakpo’s four-year pact will have a $32MM base value, with $13.5MM guaranteed, and can be worth up to $35MM overall. Morgan’s deal is worth just a little less, with a max value of $30MM, a base value of $27MM, and $10.5MM in guarantees, tweets Garafolo.

The pair of signings are extra intriguing for a Titans defense that will be bringing aboard former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau for the coming season. Having made the switch to a 3-4 scheme a year ago, the Titans went through some growing pains en route to a 2-14 record, but LeBeau is expected to help smooth things out in 2015, and having a pair of talented pass rushers like Orakpo and Morgan on the outside should only help that transition.

Orakpo, 28, is coming off a disappointing 2014 season that ended after just seven games when he tore his pectoral muscle and was placed on injured reserve. Still, despite the fact that he logged just 0.5 sacks last year, the former first-round pick was viewed as one of the top free agent players a year ago, when he was coming off a 10.5-sack season and earned a franchise tag from Washington.

Orakpo, who had a multi-day visit to Tennessee this week and was expected to eventually visit the Cardinals if he didn’t work something out with the Titans, was ranked as the NFL’s fourth-best 3-4 outside linebacker in 2013 by Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required). Per PFF, Orakpo racked up an impressive 51 total quarterback pressures in ’13.

As for Morgan, his return to Tennessee is a little surprising, since he is considered a better fit as a 4-3 defensive end, and has never really lived up to his first-round billing in five seasons with the Titans. However, despite modest sack totals (his 6.5 in 2014 matched a career high), Morgan graded as a top-10 outside linebacker according to PFF, which ranked him eighth in 2014 and credited him with 49 total quarterback pressures.

Morgan paid visits to the Falcons and Buccaneers this week, and was reportedly scheduled to hit Dallas for a meeting with the Cowboys next. Instead, he’ll be returning to Tennessee, where LeBeau will be tasked with getting the most out of the former 16th overall pick, who will be entering his age-26 season.

When I ranked PFR’s top 50 free agents last weekend, both Orakpo and Morgan squeezed into the top 20, at 19th and 20th respectively. Outside of Greg Hardy, who has his share of off-field question marks, the two players looked like the clear-cut top pass rushers still available as we neared the end of the first week of free agency. The Titans did well to get them both, and if the club were to add to its front seven next month by drafting a player like USC’s Leonard Williams to complement Jurrell Casey, the defense in Tennessee could look significantly more dangerous heading into the 2015 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Thursday Roundup: Weddle, Peterson, Harvin

The Chargers still have over $21MM in cap space, and could look to spend that money to add to the team this offseason. Meanwhile, star safety Eric Weddle is coming into the last year of his contract and is unsure of his future with the team, writes Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com.

“I think I’ve earned [a new deal],” Weddle said. “But it has to work both ways. They have to want it, too. And if they don’t, then we will play it out and I’ll be a free agent next year “I want to be here, but I understand the situation and what they want to do. If I’m a part of it — great. If not, then I plan on making this season a memorable one and we’ll see what happens from there.”

  • The Vikings are focused on keeping Adrian Peterson, not trading him, writes Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. But Vensel’s colleague at the Star Tribune, Michael Rand, believes the stars are aligning for the Cowboys to make a trade for Peterson.
  • Percy Harvin has finished his visit with the Bills, and he is mulling other possible visits, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter). La Canfora adds that the Harvin situation could begin to wrap itself up as early as this weekend.
  • Brian Orakpo is in Tennessee on a visit and is planning to meet with the Cardinals next. However, he might not make it to Arizona if the Titans can get a deal in place before he leaves tonight, writes John Keim of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Shelley Smith has left Seattle without a deal and will now visit the Broncos, tweets Mike Klis of the Denver Post.
  • Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star looks ahead to the rest of the Colts‘ offseason, noting that the team has already made its big splashes with the additions of Andre Johnson, Trent Cole, and Frank Gore. However, Holder expects Indianapolis to perhaps add a safety like Louis Delmas or Kendrick Lewis and/or an offensive lineman in the second wave of free agency, when better bargains can be had. The Colts currently have around $15-16MM in available cap space.
  • 49ers GM Trent Baalke does not appear especially concerned about losing last year’s starting cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox should those two players sign elsewhere in free agency. As Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News writes, Baalke is confident that the team has capable internal options to fill the void.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

FA Rumors: Morgan, Orakpo, Cameron

Derrick Morgan won’t be signing with the Buccaneers, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Falcons are out on Morgan too after signing Adrian Clayborn, Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com tweets. More free agent news from around the league..

  • The Titans are still in the hunt for both Morgan and Brian Orakpo, and their best-case scenario would be to land both edge defenders, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
  • Tight end Jordan Cameron is still in Miami and there’s a lot of mutual interest between him and the Dolphins, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, his old team, the Browns, remain the mix and a third team is also in the running.
  • Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link) hears that there has been a lot of interest in free agent defensive end Michael Johnson, but it’s unclear if any team besides the Bengals or Vikings have a shot at him. Johnson, of course, played for Cincinnati prior to joining the Bucs last year, and was coached there by Mike Zimmer.
  • The Chiefs have had exploratory talks with former Rams center Tim Barnes, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets. Paylor expects the Chiefs to sign a veteran center, whether it’s Barnes or someone else.
  • The Steelers are generally quiet when it comes to free agency and trades, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) hears that they’re exploring options for a kick returner.

AFC South Notes: Orakpo, Colts, Jackson

As we wait for Thursday’s free agent action to ramp up, let’s check in on some items from around the AFC South….

  • After visiting the Titans yesterday, Brian Orakpo remains in Tennessee and has yet to officially set up a time to visit the Cardinals, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter links). A visit to Arizona is the plan for Orakpo if and when he leaves the Titans meeting, but as he said yesterday, “anything can happen.”
  • The Colts have signed Kendall Langford and Trent Cole and brought back Mike Adams in free agency, but after adding veteran running back Frank Gore, wide receiver Andre Johnson, and guard Todd Herremans on offense, the team figures to focus primarily on its defense in next month’s draft, tweets Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. One exception, Holder notes (via Twitter), will be drafting a young running back, if the right guy is available.
  • Kareem Jackson‘s new deal with the Texans includes $16MM in fully guaranteed money, but practically speaking, the full guarantee is $20MM, since the cornerback gets a $4MM roster bonus today, tweets Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
  • According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com (via Twitter), a source close to Marcus Mariota advised King not to minimize the Titans‘ interest in the quarterback, suggesting they’re “very serious.” Whether that reported interested is legit or a smokescreen remains to be seen.

NFC Rumors: Graham, Saints, Orakpo

Speaking to reporters today, Brandon Graham said he felt like there was only ever a “10% chance” that he’d sign with a team besides the Eagles (Twitter link). The Giants and Titans were known to be in the running for the free agent edge defender. More out of the NFC..

  • The Saints had some concerns about Jimmy Graham’s long-term health, and wanted to fortify their offensive line to keep Drew Brees upright, which resulted in their willingness to send the star tight end to the Seahawks, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link).
  • Brian Orakpo hasn’t completely closed the door on returning to Washington, but he’s prepared to “face the reality” that he could sign with another team this week, he tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (TwitLonger link). Visits with the Titans and Cardinals are up first for the free agent edge defender.
  • ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter has learned from O’Brien Schofield‘s agent that four teams are trying to sign him, according to Terry Blount of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Schofield, coming off of a solid year with the Seahawks, has been connected to the Falcons thanks to his connection with new head coach Dan Quinn.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Rumors: Cox, Boykin, Orakpo, Moore

Let’s take a look at the latest news from the NFC…

  • Free agent cornerback Perrish Cox will visit with Washington tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The 28-year-old Cox started 14 games for the 49ers last season, but isn’t expected back in San Francisco, as Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle adds (via Twitter).
  • On the lookout for help at the receiver position, the Panthers will meet with ex-Packers Jarrett Boykin, tweets Rapoport. Boykin was phased out of Green Bay’s offense in 2014 in favor of rookie Davante Adams.
  • We’ve already heard that Brian Orakpo will meet with the Titans today, and if he’s allowed to leave without a contract, the edge rusher will visit with the Cardinals, a source tells John Keim of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • The Giants are “heavily considering” signing safety Rahim Moore, according to Cecil Lammey of ESPN.com (via Twitter). With Antrel Rolle looking for a big deal in free agency, Moore could be a fit in New York’s secondary.
  • Though Washington has interest in running back Justin Forsett, he has yet to receive an offer or schedule a visit, per Keim (on Twitter).

FA Rumors: Orakpo, Rolle, Gilchrist, Conte

After also being linked to the Cardinals earlier today, Brian Orakpo will visit the Titans to start his first free agency foray, according to Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com on Twitter.

The Titans have more than $44MM in cap room, according to OverTheCap, and do not have much money currently allocated to their linebacking corps as free agency enters warp speed. Tennessee’s highest-paid linebacker is 3-4 inside man Wesley Woodyard, who signed with the Titans last year, with a $3.5MM number for this season.

An older first-time free agent who enters his age-29 season, Orakpo made more than triple that on the franchise tag for Washington last season before suffering a pectoral tear for the third time in his career, weakening the edge-rusher’s momentum.

In other news in the opening stage of real free agency …

  • Antrel Rolle will visit the Bears, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus’ Twitter, but has no agreement in place. The Bears are the highest bidder for the 32-year-old free safety’s services, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright on Twitter.
  • The player Rolle could be replacing in Chicago, 26-year-old Chris Conte, will visit the Buccaneers, ESPN Falcons reporter Vaughn McClure notes on Twitter. Conte was the fourth-worst safety Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded last year.
  • More from the safety market: the Jets will host former Chargers back-line starter Marcus Gilchrist tonight, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Gilchrist started all 16 games for the Chargers the past two years.
  • Kendrick Lewis and the Texans engaged in preliminary discussions on keeping the free safety in Houston, reports Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.
  • Veteran defensive end Cory Redding announced (Twitter link) he intends to visit the Cardinals on Wednesday. Now 34, Redding started at least 14 games for the Colts the past three years.
  • Chargers backup linebacker Andrew Gachkar has visits booked with two potential suitors, the Panthers and Vikings, notes Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). The Vikings appear to be the frontrunner for Gachkar’s second contract, adds Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter.