Brodrick Bunkley

Saints Release Brodrick Bunkley

The Saints have terminated the contract of Brodrick Bunkley with a failed physical designation, according to Jayson Braddock of ESPN Radio (on Twitter). The nose tackle has been struggling with injuries as of late.

Bunkley, 31, agreed to a pay cut for the second year in a row, but it wasn’t enough to save his job in New Orleans. Bunkley’s pay cut, agreed to back in March, created about $3MM in cap savings for the club. Last November, he suffered a leg injury during a loss to the Ravens, ending his season. With 276 defensive snaps this year, Bunkley was New Orleans’ second-most-used defensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).


Saints Re-Sign Sanford, Retain Bunkley

The Saints have re-signed safety Jamarca Sanford, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, citing agent Drew Rosenhaus (via Twitter). According to the PFT report, the former Viking has agreed to a one-year deal to remain in New Orleans.

Sanford, 29, started 41 games for the Vikings from 2011 to 2013, but was cut by the team in August and had trouble finding regular work for the 2014 season. After a short stint in Washington, Sanford landed with the Saints in November, and appeared in six games down the stretch for the team, logging 14 tackles.

Financial terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but I’d expect a modest salary for Sanford, who should have the chance to compete for playing time on the Saints’ defense this summer.

Here’s more out of New Orleans:

  • A year ago, defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley accepted a pay cut in return for a $300K roster bonus and a spot on the Saints’ roster, and it appears he has made a similar concession this time around. Mike Triplett of reports (via Twitter) that the team is bringing back Bunkley on a reduced salary, and Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune (Twitter link) confirms that the agreement is a “mirror image” of last year’s, and will create about $3MM in cap savings for the club.
  • The Saints have been “quietly” looking for trade partners for Junior Galette, a league source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports. However, as Getlin notes, a deal is unlikely (Twitter links). Galette has been involved in some off-the-field legal issues recently and has a $12.5MM roster bonus on the way next Thursday, making him a pretty unappealing trade chip, despite his on-field production.
  • Head coach Sean Payton is high on Reggie Bush, who is currently a free agent, tweets Jason La Canfora of La Canfora adds that the still has interest in re-signing Mark Ingram, but is keeping an eye on other running backs as well.

La Canfora On Manning, Suh, McCown, Saints

Weighing in on two of the biggest offseason stories, Jason La Canfora of leads off his latest piece by looking at the Peyton Manning and Ndamukong Suh situations. In La Canfora’s view, Manning will ultimately return to the Broncos after the two sides tweak his contract a little. As for Suh, the scribe doesn’t have any updates on the Lions‘ talks with the defensive star, but says he thinks the Jaguars and Raiders will be major players. For those teams to be involved in the Suh derby, he’d have to reach the open market, which would mean no long-term deal or franchise tag from Detroit.

La Canfora also passes along plenty more tidbits related to free agency, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights….

  • When it comes to the market’s top pass rushers, La Canfora thinks Pernell McPhee can reach $10MM per year, with Jerry Hughes in the $9MM range, and Brandon Graham and Jason Worilds around $7.5MM. La Canfora also believes that all four of those players will join new teams next month.
  • Free agent quarterback Josh McCown is expected to decide on his new team later this week or early next week, and could land another deal worth $5MM annually. The Bills and Browns look like the best bets for McCown, according to La Canfora.
  • The Saints are working through contract issues with about a half-dozen players on their roster, sources tell La Canfora. If things work out the way the team hopes, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans, and Curtis Lofton would likely stick around on reduced salaries, while Ben Grubbs, Brodrick Bunkley, and David Hawthorne could be let go. As for Junior Galette, La Canfora is hearing that head coach Sean Payton has “expressed a desire” to part ways with him, following his January arrest. However, Galette’s contract still contains a sizeable chunk of guaranteed money, and the team likely can’t void those guarantees.
  • Percy Harvin probably won’t accept a pay cut from the Jets, which means the team will likely cut him. La Canfora expects the wideout to gamble himself in free agency, signing a one-year deal with a team that has a good quarterback in place.
  • The Jaguars will be seeking a top pass catcher, and La Canfora wouldn’t be surprised if the team lands a player like Randall Cobb or Julius Thomas. Per La Canfora, the Packers recognize Cobb’s market could get out of hand, and may focus on re-signing other key free agents, like Bryan Bulaga and Letroy Guion.
  • Chiefs center Rodney Hudson came very close to signing a four-year extension worth $6MM per year during the season. He’s a good bet to exceed that amount in free agency, and the Raiders are one viable suitor.
  • La Canfora anticipates the Ravens will work out a restructured deal with Lardarius Webb, but isn’t as certain about Haloti Ngata, who may play for a new team in 2015.
  • The Jets would have interest in Ryan Mallett if he reaches the open market. However, the Texans have made their interest in the quarterback clear, and Mallett himself said today that he’d like to return to Houston (Twitter link via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle).

NFC Links: Quinn, Colston, Sanchez, Warner

With the resurgence of the Seahawks‘ defense, the team’s defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has re-emerged as a top head coaching candidate this offseason, according to Chris Wesseling of

Here are some other links from around the NFC:

  • The Saints are looking at salary cap hell in the coming seasons, which could lead the team to move on from some veterans. According to Mike Triplett of, the Saints could release Brodrick Bunkley, David Hawthorne, and Marques Colston this offseason due to their high salaries.
  • The Falcons are 5-8 but in first place in the dismal NFC South. Despite looking at a playoff berth, the team has already started preparing for the 2015 NFL Draft. Their biggest need is at pass rusher, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He writes that the team will also look closely at receivers, a receiving tight end, and linebackers.
  • Eagles‘ quarterback Mark Sanchez has played well in starter Nick Foles‘ absence, but has looked bad against the Seahawks and Packers. He will likely need to impress during these next three games in order to keep Foles from usurping the starting job for the playoff run, if they even stay in contention with Sanchez, writes Jeff McClaine of the Philadelphia Inquirer. With the Eagles likely to only keep one of the two going forward into 2015, Sanchez could also be auditioning for next season.
  • With the Cardinals‘ quarterback situation potentially in ruins after losing Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton to injuries, thoughts of Kurt Warner returning to save the 10-3 Cardinals from an early playoff exit have been floated. Those hoping for Warner to save them shouldn’t hold their breath, according to Bob McManaman of He writes that while Warner may have thought about it, the idea of him stepping in after not playing for five years is unrealistic.
  • Giants‘ quarterback Eli Manning has not been spectacular the last few seasons, but it isn’t time to look for his replacement, writes Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. The team has more pressing needs along the offensive line, at pass rusher, safety, and even possibly receiver, according to Vacchiano.
  • As the problems in Washington continue, Bill Simmons of ESPN and Grantland posed in interesting question to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post: Would the fans be willing to give up the team to another city and go without NFL football for three years, with the promise of getting an expansion team (retaining the rights to the colors and name if they want it) along with a new ownership group? Definitely a loaded question, but Steinberg initially thought 75% of fans would make that trade, and based on response from fans, he thinks he may have underestimated that number.

Saints Place Brodrick Bunkley On IR

The Saints have made a defensive roster change in advance of Week 13’s contests against the Steelers, officially placing injured defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley on their injured reserve list, according to a team release. To fill Bunkley’s spot on the 53-man roster, defensive tackle Lawrence Virgil has been promoted from the practice squad, as we heard yesterday.

Bunkley, who turned 31 on Sunday, suffered a leg injury during New Orleans’ Monday loss to the Ravens. Although the team didn’t specify the diagnosis, a report earlier in the week indicated that Bunkley had torn his quad and was expected to be out for the rest of the season.

With 276 defensive snaps this year, Bunkley was New Orleans’ second-most-used defensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). I’d expect increased roles for players like John Jenkins and Tyrunn Walker over the last few weeks of the season, with Virgil serving as a depth piece on the defensive line.

Ohrnberger, Buckley Likely Out For Season

With just five weeks left in the NFL’s regular season, even shorter-term injuries can spell the end of a player’s season, and it appears two more won’t return until 2015. According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chargers center Rich Ohrnberger will undergo back surgery and will be placed on injured reserve, while Ian Rapoport of reports (via Twitter) that the Saints believe defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley tore his quad, ending his season.

Ohrnberger, 28, will become the third San Diego center whose 2014 campaign has been cut short by injury, following Nick Hardwick and Doug Legursky to the IR list. In his absence, Chris Watt, who received the first start of his NFL career this past weekend, is expected to continue to hold the job. The Chargers will also open up a spot on their 53-man roster when Ohrnberger officially lands on IR, perhaps leading to the promotion or signing of another offensive lineman.

As for Bunkley, his diagnosis is still pending the result of an MRI, but according to Rapoport, his season is “almost certainly over.” With 276 defensive snaps this year, Bunkley was New Orleans’ second-most-used defensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). I’d expect increased roles for players like John Jenkins and Tyrunn Walker over the last few weeks of the season.

Minor Moves: Scales, Dombrowski, Bunkley

Here’s a round-up of today’s more minor transactions, including contract restructures or signings and cuts involving players without much NFL experience:

  • After signing him to a futures contract in January, the Buccaneers have waived long snapper Patrick Scales, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). The move opens the door for Jeremy Cain to handle snaps for the Bucs in 2014.

Earlier updates:

  • Former Harvard punter Jake Dombrowski has signed with the Bills, according to his agency’s Facebook page (hat tip to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun). The team has since confirmed the move in a press release. Dombrowski will provide some camp competition at the position for veteran punter Brian Moorman.
  • Saints defensive lineman Brodrick Bunkley has reworked his contract to help make room for the team’s latest signees, Rafael Bush and Champ Bailey, tweets Joel Corry of According to Corry, Bunkley cut his 2014 salary down to $1.65MM in exchange for a guaranteed $300K roster bonus, creating $2.85MM in cap savings for the club.

NFL Notes: Saints, Redskins, Vikings

Despite cutting ties with a handful of veterans earlier this offseason, the Saints hover just $3MM under the salary cap with free agent tight end Jimmy Graham‘s future still uncertain. Accordingly, Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune lists a handful of veterans who could be released in order to create more room (cap figure in parentheses): Brodrick Bunkley ($6.1MM), Lance Moore ($5.1MM), Pierre Thomas ($2.9MM), Darren Sproles ($4.25MM) and Patrick Robinson ($2.8MM).

In other NFC notes:

    • The Redskins “must devote a significant of attention and efforts to improving the offensive line,” says Mike Jones of the Washington Post. The coach and scheme will not change, and eight of the team’s top nine linemen are under contract, but personnel upgrades are needed. Aside from stalwart left tackle Trent Williams, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger (who could be tried at center) seems like the only 2013 starter whose job is safe. Whether or not the team intends to release center Will Montgomery, right guard Chris Chester and/or right tackle Tyler Polumbus is uncertain, but any of the three could be replaced via free agency or draft.
    • Vikings new head coach Mike Zimmer plans to implement a more aggressive defensive scheme, meaning the team’s scouting staff will take a longer look at prospects whose skill sets might not have fit with Leslie Frazier’s more conservative cover-2 system, writes’s Ben Goessling.
    • Panthers free agent Captain Munnerlyn says his agent will meet with team officials at the Combine next week, according to Charlotte Observer beat reporter Joe Person (via Twitter).

Payton Talks Graham, Free Agency

Saints head coach Sean Payton joined Fox Sports 1 on Friday and discussed the issues facing his team this offseason, according to Larry Holder of The Times-Picayune.

The most notable free agent in New Orleans, without a doubt, is tight end Jimmy Graham. Now, if it comes down to a franchise tag, Graham will contend that he should be paid as a wide receiver rather than a tight end. The difference figures to be nearly $5MM ($11.6MM for WR and $6.8MM for TE).

“I know that Mickey Loomis, CAA (Creative Artists Agency), Jimmy Sexton (Graham’s agent) and all parties involved are going to work very hard and very diligently, no different than they did with Drew (Brees) on his contract,” Payton said. “With that being said, the first thing that comes to my mind with free agency is your own roster. I think often times that gets overlooked.

“The most challenging part of your job as a coach, and I share that with Mickey or anyone that has been with an organization as long as we have been, going on year nine, is some of the tough decisions that have to be made with regards to your cap with the ability that you possibly can sign Jimmy Graham.”

Holder points out safety Malcolm Jenkins, tackle Zach Strief and center Brian de la Puente as “key potential free agents” the team would like to re-sign. Easier said than done, noted Payton.

“It’s very easy to say ‘you are certainly going to get this done’ but you have to understand there is a budget here. That’s the challenging part. You are going to read these names that have already come across the ticker from Atlanta last week (Asante Samuel and Stephen Nicholas) and we will be no different.”

According to Holder, players that could become cap-casualties to help the Saints be able to afford signing Graham to a long-term contract include (figures courtesy of Holder):