Brock Osweiler

Contract Details: Gore, Osweiler, Waddle

Some details on recent free agent deals:

  • Brock Osweiler, QB (Dolphins): One year, $880K ($790K base salary + $90K signing bonus). $630K guaranteed (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9 News Denver).
  • Frank Gore, RB (Dolphins): One year, $1.105MM. $90K signing bonus (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com).
  • LaAdrian Waddle, OT (Patriots): One year, $1.5MM. Includes $800K base salary, $200K signing bonus, $50K workout bonus and $450K in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPN).
  • Tom Johnson, DT (Seahawks): One year, $2.1MM. Includes $950K base salary, $900K signing bonus, $250K in per-game active roster bonuses (Link Via Brady Henderson of ESPN).
  • Shamar Stephen, DT (Seahawks): One year, $2.1MM. Includes $800K base salary, $1MM signing bonus and $300K in per-game active roster bonuses (Link Via Brady Henderson of ESPN).

Dolphins To Sign QB Brock Osweiler

The Dolphins have reached an agreement with quarterback Brock Osweiler, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). It’s a one-year deal, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald.

Osweiler’s new deal will reunite him with Adam Gase, who worked with Osweiler as Denver’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2012-14. In Miami, Osweiler will take the place on longtime backup Matt Moore, who was never expected to re-sign with the Dolphins. Other quarterbacks on the Dolphins’ roster include starter Ryan Tannehill, David Fales, and Brandon Doughty.

The 27-year-old Osweiler didn’t get a chance to start for the Broncos until after Gase had left the building, and the former second-round pick’s greatest NFL success came in a 2015 campaign where he started seven games for the eventual Super Bowl champions. It’s been a whirlwind for Osweiler since that time: he inked an ill-fated deal with the Texans, was dealt to the Browns, and spent the 2017 season back in Denver.

While the top tier of free agent quarterbacks came off the board fairly quickly, there are still a number of backup types available. Aside from Stanton, the list of No. 2 passers on the market includes Moore, Blaine GabbertDerek Anderson, Drew Stanton, and Geno Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins To Meet With QB Brock Osweiler

We have a Brock Osweiler sighting. The quarterback will meet with the Dolphins on Thursday, according to SiriusXM’s Craig Mish (Twitter link). The news has been confirmed by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

Osweiler’s trip to Miami marks his first free agent visit of the offseason. One has to imagine that his history with coach Adam Gase is playing a role here as the two worked together in Denver.

We ranked Osweiler as one of the 15 best quarterbacks available in free agency this year, but that was due mostly to his solid showing with the Broncos in 2015 when he filled in for Peyton Manning. His monster free agent deal with the Texans in the following year was a bust and he did very little in his four starts with the Broncos last season.

The Dolphins re-signed David Fales to serve as one backup to Ryan Tannehill, but neither he nor Brandon Doughty is assured a spot on the final roster. Osweiler could serve as the No. 2 QB on the depth chart, though he’d have to battle it out with Matt Moore if he is re-signed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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AFC Notes: Steelers, Harrison, Texans

James Harrison, who was released by the Steelers on Saturday, posted a message on Instagram that seems to hint that an instant return is not in the cards. “Can’t wait to find out what God has in store for me next,” Harrison wrote. “Many thanks to [Steelers Nation] for the years of love and support.” The veteran hasn’t played much this year, but he has been among the team’s most popular players over his 14 years with the club. His release came as a huge surprise and it will be interesting to see if another team will put in a waiver claim on him.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • It has been said that Texans coach Bill O’Brien is on the hot seat, but he recently picked up the endorsement of injured quarterback Deshaun Watson. O’Brien may or may not want to return himself, but he appreciates the support of the Clemson product. “Look, I don’t really know how to answer that question,” O’Brien told reporters (via PFT). “I appreciate all the support that anybody — I think that’s just the way I think any of us are. People support you, it’s a nice thing. But, at the end of the day, we’ve got to focus on Pittsburgh and that’s what we’re trying to do.” O’Brien has one year left on his deal but team owner Bob McNair says there will be no extension talks until the season is through.
  • Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler is likely to start Sunday against Washington, a league source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Recently, Osweiler indicated that he wants to stay with Denver even though the team probably does not see him as a starter for next year. At minimum, he’ll have a platform at the end of the year to prove that he can be an option for the team going forward. Paxton Lynch, for now, will be on the bench.
  • The Texans have placed Tom Savage on IR.

AFC Notes: Kizer, Wilkerson, Broncos, Yates

Hue Jackson took a step back from championing DeShone Kizer following the Browns‘ 14th loss of the season, and on Wednesday, the second-year coach backed off previous talk that the second-round rookie would be the team’s quarterback of the future.

We did not draft a quarterback in the first round and say, ‘This is our quarterback of the future.’ We took a quarterback. We’re trying to grow him,” Jackson said Wednesday when asked of Kizer’s longer-term status, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. ”

… I understand when you take a guy in the second round, everybody suspects that that’s the guy. We wish it is. I mean you hope it is. But if it isn’t, that’s OK, too. And hopefully guy will continue to grow and get better, but you also have to continue to get better at the position.”

Jackson has said this season Kizer could be the Browns’ long-term quarterback solution but said Sunday he wondered if the Notre Dame product — who has 19 interceptions, five more than any other passer this season — would ever “get it.” The then-Sashi Brown-led front office may have viewed the 2018 quarterback crop as superior to this year’s, inducing the Browns to bypass a first-round quarterback in order to not block a possible 2018 Round 1 pick. The Browns are almost certainly going to hold the No. 1 overall pick, so they’ll have their chance at the best quarterback prospect come April.

Here’s the latest from the AFC, shifting to the Muhammad Wilkerson situation.

  • In response to a question about if he’d like to stay with the Jets, Wilkerson said it wasn’t going to be up to him. “That’s up to Todd (Bowles) and the organization,” Wilkerson said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (video link). Although Wilkerson returned to the Jets on Wednesday, he is not expected to be a part of next year’s team due a turbulent season and disappointing run following his 2016 contract extension.
  • Conversely, Brock Osweiler still wants to stay with the Broncos next season despite the team presumably not viewing him as a starter going into a pivotal offseason. Osweiler’s contract is up after Week 17, but he wants to stay in Denver, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post relays (on Twitter). The Broncos have not decided if he or Paxton Lynch will start on Sunday against the Redskins. Osweiler may be amenable to again being the backup in Denver, with the franchise likely to explore options in what promises to be one of the more unique groups of available quarterbacks in the free agency era, and is unlikely to be be viewed as a starter-level talent by another team.
  • With the Broncos having little inclination Lynch can be counted on as a potential above-average starter, Troy Renck of Denver7 explores the idea of the team adding Kirk Cousins. While it would surely cost a team Derek Carr or Matthew Stafford money to sign Cousins, should be become a free agent, Renck notes the Broncos’ inability to replace Peyton Manning has cost them dearly. Manning wasn’t even making $20MM per year, so the prospect of Cousins — whom Renck lists as a player who figures to be pursued by the Jaguars, Bills, Browns, Cardinals and Jets as well — would be interesting. The Broncos are projected to have $30MM in 2018 cap space.
  • On the subject of cap space, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap analyzes some of the league’s worst situations. He lists the Chiefs, who are projected to be $3MM-plus over the ’18 cap, but notes the Alex Smith contract could be moved to create relief. The Chiefs would save $17MM by moving Smith’s deal off their books. Veterans like Tamba Hali or Derrick Johnson ($8MM apiece in cap savings) could also be cap casualties at little cost (less than $5MM between them). The Chiefs will also have decision regarding Dee Ford‘s $8.718MM fifth-year option to make. Fitzgerald adds the Chiefs’ failure to be proactive in extending Justin Houston or Eric Berry helped put them in this place.
  • The Texans will indeed start T.J. Yates again Sunday. Tom Savage could well miss the rest of the season. Savage is a free agent at season’s end.

Broncos To Start Paxton Lynch At QB

First, the Broncos made a change at offensive coordinator. Now, they’re making a big change under center. In Week 12, the Broncos will start Paxton Lynch at quarterback. Tuesday was an off day in Denver, so head coach Vance Joseph waited until Wednesday morning to deliver the news to the rest of his staff and the players. Paxton Lynch (vertical)

[RELATED: Broncos Fire OC Mike McCoy, Promote Bill Musgrave]

In some ways, this has been a long time coming for the 2016 first-round pick. In another sense, this was a quick ascension up the ladder. Last week, Paxton suited up for the very first time in 2017 as Brock Osweiler‘s backup with Trevor Siemian marked as a healthy scratch for the first time since Peyton Manning retired. This Sunday, Lynch will start, Siemian will serve as the QB2, and Osweiler will be left off of the active roster.

Last season, Lynch was on the field for three games and two starts. In that short sample, he completed 49 of 83 passes with two touchdowns against one interception. The Broncos have had some concerns about Lynch’s NFL readiness, but there’s no time like the present given their 3-7 record.

Last week, when discussing the possibility of starting Lynch, Joseph indicated that he would tailor the offensive game plan to the rookie’s strengths.

That’s on the coaches and myself if he does play for us to make have a system that fits Paxton,” Joseph said Monday. “He’s practiced the last two weeks. Again guys, it won’t be soccer. It’s football for him. What he’s practiced the last couple weeks may be called a little different. It may be called more of the same stuff, but it’s just football, so he’ll be fine.”

Lynch’s first start of the season will come on Sunday against the Raiders.

The news was first reported by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Osweiler, Cousins, Jim Harbaugh

The Broncos have tried to tinker their playbook a bit to suit Brock Osweiler‘s strengths, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). However, Rapoport calls tonight’s matchup with New England Osweiler’s final audition, and if he should continue to struggle, Paxton Lynch — who is reportedly getting healthier — will be given the chance to show what he can do.

Now for more rumors from the AFC (we rounded up some NFC nuggets earlier today):

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes that the Jets‘ chances to acquire Kirk Cousins in the offseason improved after Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to San Francisco, thereby (presumably) taking the 49ers out of contention for Cousins’ services. Of course, it all depends on what Washington does, but Cimini thinks New York will make a major QB acquisition one way or another. He thinks the club will either pursue Cousins or another quality veteran (like Alex Smith, should he become available) or else trade up for one of the top signal-callers in the draft.
  • Browns LT Joe Thomas is battling an injured triceps that has knocked him out for the remainder of the season, and he remains undecided about his future, even though Cleveland gave him a pay raise for the 2018 season. As Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com writes, however, the Browns’ outlook could play a role in his decision. Thomas said, “Is it going to be for trying to pursue a championship or are we trying to pursue a playoff berth or are we trying to pursue a first pick overall? Those are all things that could play into that decision.”
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that, when the 49ers were considering trading former head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Browns offered San Francisco two third-round picks and offered Harbaugh a five-year, $40MM contract. Harbaugh, though, did not want to go to Cleveland, but sources close to the current University of Michigan head coach say his eventual return to the league is “inevitable.”
  • Rookie Gareon Conley might be the Raiders‘ most talented corner, but he has only been able to appear in two games in 2017 due to a shin injury that has taken longer than expected to heal. Per Scott Bair of NBCSports.com, Conley’s prospects for the remainder of the year will become clearer this week. If he is able to return to practice, he could work his way back into the mix. If not, Oakland will place him on injured reserve, thereby ending his first professional season.

AFC Notes: Luck, Fournette, Watson

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says no one is exactly sure what the future holds for Colts QB Andrew Luck, who was recently placed on IR and ruled out for the remainder of the year. Per Rapoport, Luck has met with at least four doctors and has been advised that he should not throw for two to three months, though surgery is not in the cards at this point. Rapoport says all indications are that Luck will be healthy for the start of 2018, but Alex Marvez of Sporting News is not so optimistic. Because of the way the Colts publicly handled the situation, Marvez does not put much stock in reports that Luck will be ready to go by the start of 2018 — especially since he still cannot throw without soreness 10 months after surgery — and he says Indianapolis is facing the possibility of Luck never playing again at a high level and being on the hook for $87 million in salary guaranteed against injury. Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com tweets that Luck will be reevaluated in December, and that the Colts are “not ignoring” the 2018 QB draft class.

On that sobering note, let’s take a look at more rumors from around the AFC:

  • The Colts claim that cornerback Vontae Davis is out for today’s game due to non-injury reasons, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hears that is actually a cover-up for the fact that the Colts have not disclosed Davis’ lingering groin injury in recent weeks. Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star says there is more to Davis’ absence than the team is letting on, but he believes Davis’ absence is due to personal reasons and is not injury-related.
  • Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was deactivated for today’s game against the Bengals, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports tweets that the star rookie missed treatment, a workout, and a team photo this week, which led to his benching. Head coach Doug Marrone is clearly trying to change the culture in Jacksonville, though Jags fans have to hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the team’s playoff push.
  • Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is expected to miss eight to nine months as a result of his ACL tear, though the last time he tore his ACL, he missed only five months, so Houston is hopeful for a shorter timeline.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Broncos QB Paxton Lynch is under consideration to start in the team’s Week 10 matchup against New England, but Mike Klis of 9News.com says (via Twitter) that report is inaccurate. Klis reports that Lynch is not yet physically ready and that Brock Osweiler will keep the job if he plays well.
  • As La Canfora writes in a separate piece, there are some Browns coaches who believe GM Sashi Brown intentionally scuttled the team’s near trade for A.J. McCarron, presumably because he believed the cost (a second- and third-round draft choice) was too high. Even if Brown is right about that, his efforts to intentionally sabotage the trade represent a massive breach of protocol and will only intensify the much-discussed rift between the team’s coaching staff and front office. But even if Brown did not act duplicitously, and even if the botched trade was simply due to human error, the fact that the coaching staff thinks Brown intentionally nixed the deal suggests things have gone beyond the point of no return in Cleveland.

Brock Osweiler To Start For Broncos

As expected, the Broncos are making a change under center. Brock Osweiler will take over for Trevor Siemian as the team’s new starting quarterback. Brock Osweiler (vertical)

It’s my job to do what’s best for the football team,” Joseph said Tuesday. “… If you try to go the same way and it doesn’t get better, that’s on me. Again, we have players and coaches putting a lot of time and effort in to get ready for these football games and guys are playing hard. I think it’s fair to examine [the quarterback] position and all positions.”

This, of course, marks Osweiler’s second stint as the Broncos’ starting quarterback. In 2015, he was the No. 1 QB in place of the injured Peyton Manning. In that stretch, he threw for 1,589 yards, eight touchdowns, and three interceptions over six games. Manning took the reins later in the year and was the signal caller for the team’s Super Bowl 50 win, but Osweiler was able to parlay his success into a fat free agent contract with the Texans.

Things didn’t go as planned in Houston (and he never took a real snap in Cleveland), but things have worked out just fine for Osweiler. He has his old job back and, this time around, he has way more money in the bank account.

Mired in a three-game losing streak, Osweiler will look to get the Broncos back to .500 with a win over the red-hot Eagles on Sunday. If he looks sharp the rest of the way, Osweiler might be able to position himself as the team’s QB solution in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.