Bryce Callahan

Contract Details: Vaccaro, Callahan, Okafor

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed NFL contracts, with all links going to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle’s Twitter account:

Broncos To Sign CB Bryce Callahan

The Broncos are signing slot cornerback Bryce Callahan, Benjamin Allbright was the first to report (Twitter link). It’s a three-year deal, tweets James Palmer of NFL.com. The pact is worth $21MM in total and contains $10MM guaranteed, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Callahan will now reunite with new Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, who coached Callahan as the Bears’ defensive coordinator.A broken foot ended Callahan’s strong contract year, but Fangio coached the slot corner in all four of his NFL seasons. While Callahan will be a natural fit for Fangio’s defense in Denver, his injury and the makeup of the Broncos’ secondary will complicate it.

Chris Harris has handled the Broncos’ slot duties for most of this decade and has become one of this era’s top corners, being most identified for his inside coverage skills. While Harris plays outside in base sets, the Broncos use the veteran corner often in the slot. Harris, though, has requested at multiple junctures to be a full-time boundary corner, so Callahan being brought in may appease the incumbent.

Callahan, 27, finished his abbreviated season as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 overall corner — just four spots behind Harris — and intercepted two passes in each of the past two seasons. The 5-foot-9 defender coming to Denver will, however, add another short corner to the Broncos’ secondary. Harris and Kareem Jackson stand 5-10.

The Broncos added Jackson on an $11MM-AAV deal earlier this week. Having played both corner and safety in Houston, though mostly corner, Jackson brings hybrid potential for the Broncos. However, Denver lost Bradley Roby and does not plan to re-sign Tramaine Brock, creating a need for two new cornerbacks. Callahan would potentially complete that trio.

The Jets were the only other team linked to Callahan this offseason, with the Bears not expected to pursue him. But the Jets signed former Falcons slot man Brian Poole, taking them out of the running.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Hosting CB Bryce Callahan On Visit

Vic Fangio and Bryce Callahan will be reuniting soon, with the former Bears cornerback set to visit the Broncos, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post tweets.

A broken foot ended Callahan’s strong contract year, but Fangio coached the slot corner in all four of his NFL seasons. While Callahan would be a natural fit for Fangio’s defense in Denver, his injury and the makeup of the Broncos’ secondary could complicate it.

Chris Harris has handled the Broncos’ slot duties for most of this decade and has become one of this era’s top corners, being most identified for his inside coverage skills. While Harris plays outside in base sets, the Broncos use the veteran corner often in the slot. Harris, though, has requested at multiple junctures to be a full-time boundary corner, so Callahan being brought in may appease the incumbent.

Callahan, 27, finished his abbreviated season as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 overall corner — just four spots behind Harris — and intercepted two passes in each of the past two seasons. The 5-foot-9 defender coming to Denver would, however, add another short corner to the Broncos’ secondary. Harris and Kareem Jackson stand 5-10.

The Broncos added Jackson on an $11MM-AAV deal earlier this week. Having played both corner and safety in Houston, though mostly corner, Jackson brings hybrid potential for the Broncos. However, Denver lost Bradley Roby and does not plan to re-sign Tramaine Brock, creating a need for two new cornerbacks. Callahan would potentially complete that trio.

The Jets have been the only other team linked to Callahan this offseason, with the Bears not expected to pursue him. But the Jets signed former Falcons slot man Brian Poole, possibly taking them out of the running.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Mathieu, Texans, Bucs, Bennett, Bears

It sounds like the Texans tried to keep Tyrann Mathieu before he ultimately signed with the Chiefs. Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo tweets that Houston offered the safety a long-term deal that would have paid him around $9.5MM per season.

The reporter notes that the Texans and Chiefs were bidding for Mathieu until the end, and Houston’s final offer was close to Kansas City’s. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes that the organization was (and, presumably, is) “willing to spend liberally” on a veteran safety, and both general manager Brian Gaine and coach Bill O’Brien wanted to keep Mathieu.

The safety ended up inking a three years worth $42MM with the Chiefs. The Texans have reportedly shifted their focus to other safeties, including Earl Thomas.

Let’s take a look at some additional notes from around the NFL…

  • Besides a safety, McClain notes that the Texans are also hunting for a pass-rushing “inside player.” The team could ultimately look towards the draft if nothing solidifies during free agency.
  • The Buccaneers reached out to linebacker Deone Bucannon, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 26-year-old had spent his entire career with the Cardinals, and he started all of his 41 games between 2015 and 2017. He took a bit of a step back in 2018, compiling 38 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 13 games (six starts). The linebacker played with new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during their stints in Arizona.
  • Following the Patriots‘ acquisition of Michael Bennett, there were some rumblings that his brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, would come out of retirement and return to New England. However, the Patriots’ new acquisition poured some water on the rumors this evening, saying that the whispers of Martellus coming out of retirement were “fake news” (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). After winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2016, the tight end split the 2017 season between New England and Green Bay.
  • The Bears are expecting a pair of defensive backs to go elsewhere this offseason. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that safety Adrian Amos is “close to having a deal in place elsewhere,” and it sounds like the team is already eyeing potential replacements. Meanwhile, Biggs notes that cornerback Bryce Callahan won’t be back with the Bears after they signed veteran Buster Skrine.
  • Before agreeing to a deal with the Broncos, safety Kareem Jackson was hoping he’d be back in Houston. However, the veteran didn’t receive a whole lot of interest from the Texans, leading to the player feeling “a little disrespected.” “They didn’t even approach me with an offer or any type of deal,” Jackson told Mark Berman of KRIV (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, they didn’t want me back or whatever the case may be. I’m not really sure. My agent was never approached by anybody from the Texans organization, so I wasn’t offered a deal of any sort. I kind of feel a little disrespected to be honest about it. At the end of the day, no hard feelings. I had a great nine years here. This will always be home for me. I definitely appreciate all the memories and all the opportunities. I appreciate the fans and everything I was able to build here. I’ll always have love for Houston.”

AFC East Rumors: Flowers, Jets, Pats, Bills

Big changes have occurred in Miami, and more are coming. The Dolphins are expected to shed the contracts of Ryan Tannehill, Robert Quinn, Andre Branch and Josh Sitton (and perhaps more notable names). But the rebuilding team may look to add an impact player familiar with Brian Flores‘ philosophies. The buzz in Indianapolis has led DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline to call the Dolphins the favorites for Trey Flowers, a prospective UFA who helped the Patriots reach the past three Super Bowls. New England’s top pass rusher may stand to benefit from the likely franchise tags the Cowboys, Texans, Seahawks and Chiefs apply to DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Dee Ford. This marketplace could place Flowers in position to push for a near-$20MM-AAV deal, despite sack numbers that don’t correspond with such a pact. However, the Patriots will make a strong attempt to retain their top edge defender. It may take an atypical Patriots contract to keep him, though.

Here is Thursday’s latest coming out of the AFC East (via Indianapolis):

  • Shifting to the Jets, they again need cornerback help. Buster Skrine, the lowest-profile name in Mike Maccagnan‘s 2015 spending spree that brought Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to New York, played out his four-year contract. Morris Claiborne‘s second one-year Jets deal is also expiring. (And Gang Green is having buyer’s remorse on Trumaine Johnson.) The Jets are looking at a slot corner to replace Skrine, and Pauline notes they are high on Bears UFA-to-be Bryce Callahan. Prior to going down with an injury, Callahan was operating as a top-tier slot corner and helping the NFL’s No. 1 DVOA defense.
  • Additionally, the Jets will examine the first- and second-tier edge rushers in free agency, per Pauline. If they are able to land one, that may intensify the team’s desire to trade down. The Jets do not own a second-round pick. However, they do now have more than $100MM in cap space. If the big four edge rushers are all tagged, Flowers, Brandon Graham, Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith and Ziggy Ansah profile as the next-best crew. The Jets will obviously be able to outmuscle other buyers for their preference, so the team — a strong Khalil Mack bidder last year — will be a key presence on this front come March.
  • Chris Hogan did not produce for the Patriots the way he did during the 2017 and ’18 seasons, but he is drawing interest as free agency nears, Doug Kyed of NESN.com notes. The 30-year-old wideout struggled in the playoffs, at least compared to his strong performances at key moments for the previous two Patriot teams he was on, but posted 532 regular-season receiving yards, despite Josh Gordon diminishing his role. And this is not a particularly loaded wideout free agent class. Teams might be eyeing Hogan as a second-tier option come March.
  • On the subject of receivers, the Bills may not feel the need to chase big-ticket wideout options. Brandon Beane has said their offense can survive without a surefire No. 1 wideout, but the third-year GM may be looking for a new slot receiver, per Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com. Broncos castoff Isaiah McKenzie saw time there toward the end of last season. Buffalo has one of the least inspiring receiving corps at this point. It would be a surprise if the Bills did not make attempts to augment their receiver situation in free agency and the draft.
  • Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones hired a new agent, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss (Twitter link). He is a restricted free agent, one whom Kyed opines may need to be given a second-round tender.

Bears Place CB Bryce Callahan On IR

Bryce Callahan‘s season is over. On Wednesday, the Bears placed the slot cornerback on injured reserve. 

Callahan broke a bone in his foot during Sunday’s huge win over the Rams. Initially, the Bears were keeping their fingers crossed for a quick recovery, but further tests revealed that he’ll need more time to heal.

Callahan isn’t a household name, but he has been stellar for Chicago this year. Through 14 weeks, he ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 ranked corner in the league, thanks to his strong scores in both coverage and the pass rush. Callahan has two sacks and five total QB hits, showing that his speed can be used for more than just neutralizing receivers.

To take Callahan’s place on the roster, the Bears signed defensive back Marcus Williams. Williams, who previously played for the Texans and Jets, spent two games with the Bucs this season before being waived from IR with a settlement in October.

Without Callahan, the Bears will likely turn to Sherrick McManis as the third corner. He’s a bit unproven, but he has played well in a limited sample of snaps this season. With a bit of luck, and help from the Bears’ linebacker group, McManis could be a decent replacement for Callahan in the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears CB Bryce Callahan To Miss Time

Bears cornerback Bryce Callahan will miss time after breaking a bone in his foot in Sunday’s win over the Rams (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com). His timeline for recovery is unclear, but given his importance to the defense, the Bears will likely avoid putting him on IR until they have no other choice. 

The Bears have virtually wrapped up the NFC North and they’ll want Callahan on the field for the playoffs, if possible. Through 14 weeks of action, Callahan ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 ranked corner in the NFL, thanks to his strong scores in both coverage and the pass rush. Callahan has two sacks and five total QB hits, showing that his speed can be used for more than just neutralizing receivers.

Without Callahan, the Bears could turn to Sherrick McManis or Kevin Tolliver as the third corner alongside Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller. Their first game without Callahan will come on Sunday when they face the Packers at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Vikings Have Interest In CB Bryce Callahan

The Vikings are among the teams interested in Bears restricted free agent cornerback Bryce Callahan, according to Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (on Twitter). The Bears used the lowest tender on Callahan, which grants them only the right of first refusal without draft compensation. 

Callahan would provide the Vikings with another option at nickel corner. As it stands, Mackensie Alexander is their only nickel corner with experience. Through two seasons, he has not quite lived up to expectations.

Last year, Callahan graded out as the No. 31 cornerback in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He also gave the Vikings an up-close look at what he can do when he returned a punt for a touchdown and deflected two passes against the Vikings in 2017.

Goessling points out that some other options on the market at nickel corner include Rams free agent Nickell Robey-Coleman and Jaguars free agent Aaron Colvin. Goessling also noted that the Vikings had shown interest in Robey-Coleman, 26, last offseason. Terence Newman and Marcus Sherels make up the members of the Vikings cornerbacks set to become free agents.

The Bears have a lot of question marks regarding their secondary leading up to the opening of the new league year, especially if Callahan were to depart. The team has already placed its transition tag on Kyle Fuller and fellow starter at cornerback Prince Amukamara is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/12/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day.

RFAs

Tendered at second-round level:

Tendered at original-round level:

Non-Tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-Tendered: