Brian Poole

AFC East Notes: Fitzpatrick, Jets, Bills

Ryan Fitzpatrick is well on his way to starting for a third AFC East franchise. The 15th-year veteran continues to hold off Josh Rosen for the Dolphins‘ starting quarterback job. “It’s pretty clear to me that Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the way,” Brian Flores said Tuesday (via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, on Twitter). Rosen was viewed as the clear underdog for the Week 1 role coming into camp. Fitzpatrick has not been a regular starter since his two-year Jets tenure concluded after the 2016 season, while Rosen started 13 games for an overmatched Cardinals team last year.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Jets entered camp thin at cornerback, but their top offseason investment at this spot has not impressed coaches thus far. Former Falcons slot corner Brian Poole reported to Jets camp in less-than-ideal shape, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Adam Gase did not single the fifth-year player out as one of the veterans on which the Jets will rely, with the new HC only mentioning Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts in that regard. Gang Green does not have much depth behind its top three. The Jets signed Poole to a one-year, $3MM deal ($2MM guaranteed).
  • Now two former NFL starting wide receivers are giving Jets wideouts guidance. In addition to full-time receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, the Jets brought in Hines Ward as a coaching intern, per Cimini. Ward, who began working with the Jets on Monday, served in this role with the Steelers two summers ago and was part of the one-and-done Alliance of American Football. It appears Ward’s primary pupil will be Robby Anderson, Cimini adds.
  • Bills third-round pick Devin Singletary is stationed behind one of the most veteran-heavy backfield duos in NFL history, with the Bills adding Frank Gore to their LeSean McCoy-led group. But Singletary is receiving plenty of opportunities in camp. The former Florida Atlantic star has worked with Buffalo’s starters “a ton” during camp, Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). While Louis-Jacques adds that this is partially to conserve McCoy and Gore, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds more fuel to the speculation Singletary could induce a McCoy pay-cut request or push him off the roster. McCoy (career-low 3.2 yards per carry in 2018) being a departure candidate has been floated at multiple junctures this offseason. Singletary rushed for 66 touchdowns in three college seasons.
  • Dolphins first-round pick Christian Wilkins may have an interesting side job in his first NFL season. The 315-pound defensive tackle has worked on offense as well to start camp, Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post notes. This would presumably mean a role as a fullback, but OC Chad O’Shea did not specify.

AFC Notes: Hill, Funchess, Ravens, Jets

In May, Roger Goodell said the NFL would not interfere with the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ Tyreek Hill investigation, indicating the league would interview the Chiefs wide receiver “whenever we have permission to.” It is unclear if the Kansas DCF’s investigation has concluded, but if it has not, the news about NFL investigators meeting with Hill represents a reversal and, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, perhaps an acknowledgement by the league something needs to transpire on this front by the time the Chiefs report to training camp July 23. While the investigation is likely covering the bruises and welts that appeared on the body of Hill’s 3-year-old son, Florio notes Hill’s history of violence, and the comment his fiance needing to worry about more possible violence, will almost certainly result in a Hill suspension. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was suspended four games in 2018 for threatening and the mother of his child and “engaging in emotional abuse.” With audio evidence having surfaced in this case, and Hill not being punished for his admitted 2014 violence against Crystal Espinal, that would seem to be the baseline for his potential punishment.

Here is the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh has committed to Patrick Onwuasor returning as a starting linebacker for a revamped Ravens defense, but the 12th-year HC has not made a decision on C.J. Mosley‘s successor. While former UDFA Chris Board has impressed, Harbaugh indicated a committee is the likely post-Mosley plan. Harbaugh said (via Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com) Board will probably join 2018 fourth-rounder Kenny Young and hybrid safety Anthony Levine alongside Onwuasor in sub-packages. Young led the trio with 381 linebacker snaps last season; Board played just 21.
  • Onwuasor may be the best bet for the young defender who signs a Ravens extension, per Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic (subscription required). With emerging sack artist Matt Judon perhaps in line to continue a trend of edge rushers pricing themselves out of Baltimore and nose tackle Michael Pierce coming to Ravens minicamp at least 25 pounds overweight, in Zreibec’s view, the Ravens preventing their top inside linebacker from following Mosley out of Maryland seems logical. A former UDFA, Onwuasor has started 26 games. He graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 linebacker last season.
  • Devin Funchess has put together an inconsistent career thus far and went through most of the Colts‘ offseason program without working with Andrew Luck, who was sidelined with a strained calf. But Frank Reich said (via Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan) he is “very encouraged” by Funchess’ route-running, for a player his size, and his overall progress in his system. Reich lobbied early for Funchess in March, and the former Panthers target will almost certainly play a big role for the Colts this season.
  • Another AFC free agent signing, Brian Poole, looks aimed toward a big role in his first AFC season. The Jets have used the former Falcons slot cornerback both inside and outside this offseason, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. Gang Green did not bring in a proven outside starter opposite Trumaine Johnson, and Morris Claiborne remains a free agent. While another corner will have to step up to join the duo in nickel sets, Poole appears set for a steady gig in New York.

Contract Details: Williams, Webb, Verrett

Here are the latest particulars in recently agreed-upon contracts, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (unless otherwise noted).

Jets Sign CB Brian Poole

The Jets have agreed to sign cornerback Brian Poole to a one-year, $3.5MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Poole, 26, was recently non-tendered by the Falcons as a restricted free agency. Financially speaking, however, Poole is going to come out ahead on his new deal with New York. The original round tender would have netted Poole only $2.025MM and wouldn’t have come with any guarantees. He’ll earn more with the Jets, and likely secured some level of guaranteed money.

In line to replace Buster Skrine as the Jets’ slot corner, Poole set new career highs in in tackles (74), sacks (three), and interceptions (three) last season. However, most advanced metrics weren’t complimentary of Poole’s play. Pro Football Focus graded him as the No. 81 CB among 112 qualifiers, while Poole ranked as bottom-three corner in success rate, per Football Outsiders’ charting data.

Poole had drawn other interest around the league before signing with the Jets, taking a visit with the Bengals on Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brian Poole To Visit Bengals

Former Falcons cornerback Brian Poole is garnering some interest on the open market. We learned earlier today that he will visit the Jets, and he has a summit with the Bengals lined up after that, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (via Twitter).

Poole had been the Falcons’ primary nickel cornerback for the past three seasons, but Atlanta decided against tendering him as a restricted free agent, even at the low-level tender. In 2018, he set new career highs in tackles (74), sacks (3.0), and interceptions (3), which made the club’s decision to non-tender him something of a surprise.

On the other hand, he ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every advanced corner metric, so the Falcons may feel that they won’t be missing much. The team as a whole ranked near the bottom of the league in passing defense, so it will look to infuse the unit with some fresh blood.

The Bengals, meanwhile, could be looking for a replacement for Darqueze Dennard, whom the club is willing to re-sign, but only if the price is right.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DB Notes: Berry, Dennard, Poole, Jets

Let’s take a look at the latest on the free agent defensive back market:

  • After being released by the Chiefs, safety Eric Berry has no plans to retire, tweets Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports. Although he’s just 30 years old, Berry has only appeared in three games over the past two seasons while dealing with an Achilles injury, so it’s fair to wonder about his future. In five of his nine pro campaigns, Berry has failed to play in more than five games. Still, he’s been a highly effective player when on the field, so he should find a market, even if it means accepting a one-year deal.
  • The Bengals are willing to retain slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard, but it must be at their teams, as Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Cincinnati is comfortable offering Dennard a multi-year deal at around $8.5MM, the same rate at which he was paid in 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option. That’s largely in line with the going rate for slot corners this offseason. Justin Coleman received $9MM annually from the Lions, while the top slot CB — former Bear Bryce Callahan — has yet to sign.
  • Free agent cornerback Brian Poole has a meeting lined up with the Jets, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Poole has plenty of experience, as he played on at least 60% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in each of the past three season. Despite that, Atlanta chose not to tender him as a restricted free agent, largely because he ranked near the bottom of the league in nearly every advanced corner metric. New York is searching for a slot replacement after Buster Skrine signed with the Bears.

Falcons Will Not Tender CB Brian Poole

The Falcons informed cornerback Brian Poole that he will not be tendered as a restricted free agent, Mike Florio of PFT tweets

Poole has been the Falcons’ primary nickel cornerback for the past three seasons, so the news comes as a bit of a surprise. Last year, Poole set new career highs in tackles (74), sacks (3.0), and interceptions (3), but the team is unwilling to tender him even at the lowest level, which would cost just over $2MM.

The door is still open to a return, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. However, Poole would have to agree to a lesser deal than the RFA tender, and it’s possible that the 26-year-old (27 in October) will prefer to take his chances on the open market.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has indicated in the past that Damontae Kazee could take over at nickel, so the Falcons may already have Poole’s replacement in-house.

Last year, Poole graded out as just the No. 81 cornerback in the NFL out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Agree To Sign 22 UDFAs

SATURDAY, 6:05pm: The Falcons announced that they’ve added a trio of undrafted free agents on Saturday:

The Falcons also announced that they waived four of their previously signed undrafted free agents: Gerald Dixon Jr.Alex FifitaMalachi Jones, and David Richards.

THURSDAY, 4:21pm: Despite the fact that Atlanta only selected six players during last weekend’s draft, the Falcons’ rookie minicamp will be a busy place. The team confirmed today that it has signed 22 undrafted free agents to fill out its roster, with another 27 free agent rookies headed to the minicamp to try out for the club.

The full list of 27 tryout players can be found right here. Listed below are the 22 players who have agreed to contracts with the Falcons: