Let’s take a quick look at the latest happenings from the AFC North, starting in Pittsburgh:
- The Steelers gave Mike Tomlin a one-year extension (through 2021) instead of their usual two-year re-ups, and this one does not have an option for a future year. But the 13th-year Steelers sideline boss does not look to be on shaky ground, despite the franchise missing the playoffs last season and parting ways with two of the most talented players in team history this year. Tomlin, 47, also has no plans to walk away any time soon. “He certainly hasn’t put any sticker date on himself, and neither have we,” Steelers owner Art Rooney said, via Albert Breer of SI.com. “He’s still a relatively young guy in the coaching profession and has certainly as much energy and enthusiasm as he’s ever had. So I don’t think there’s any particular window that he’s going to coach through. He hasn’t given me any indication that he’s got any date in mind.”
- The Ravens boast one of the NFL’s premier secondaries and auditioned another Pro Bowler who could potentially fill a role there. Safety Brynden Trawick worked out for his former team recently, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Trawick is known more for his special teams acumen, having made the 2017 Pro Bowl as a Titans special-teamer. But Trawick began his career in Baltimore, the former UDFA playing three seasons with the Ravens from 2013-15.
- Duke Johnson‘s agent was in Berea, Ohio, this week to discuss his client’s complicated situation with the Browns. Drew Rosenhaus met with John Dorsey and assistant GM Eliot Wolf, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Dorsey maintains the Browns are not going to trade Johnson, who has requested to be dealt out of Cleveland. For now, the passing-down back remains sidelined with a hamstring injury — one that could keep him out “a little while,” Cabot adds.
- It looks like the best-case scenario for A.J. Green is a late-September return. Zac Taylor acknowledged the Bengals will likely be without their Pro Bowl wideout to start the season.
An undrafted free agent out of Troy in 2013, the 29-year-old Trawick is essentially a pure special teamer. He’s played only 194 defensive snaps during his six-year career, and just four over the past two seasons. On special teams, though, Trawick is especially valuable, managing at least 300 ST snaps in each of the past five campaigns.
Last year, Trawick saw action on 342 special teams plays (good for top-35 in the NFL) and posted eight tackles. He earned a 2017 Pro Bowl nod as a special teamer as a member of the Titans, with whom he just finished a two-year, $4.75MM contract.
New Orleans hired a new special teams coach this offseason in former Dolphins associate head coach Darren Rizzi. The Saints, which ranked ninth in Football Outsiders’ special teams DVOA a season ago, already roster several players who are nearly exclusively special teamers, including defensive backs Chris Banjo, Justin Hardee, and Josh Robinson, and linebackers Craig Robertson and Vince Biegel.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Looking to bolster their special teams unit, the Titans have made a trio of notable moves in that phase of the game. In addition to re-signing linebacker Nate Palmer, the club has agreed to deals with safety Brynden Trawick and another LB, Daren Bates (Twitter links via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN, Adam Caplan of ESPN and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports).
Trawick is now the highest-paid special teamer in the NFL, having landed a contract worth a max of $6.85MM over two years. The Titans will be the third team for the 27-year-old Trawick, who was with the Ravens from 2013-15 and the Raiders last season. Trawick saw action in 67.7 percent of the Raiders’ special teams plays.
Bates was teammates with Trawick last year in Oakland, where the former was involved in 83.9 percent of the club’s special teams plays. Bates, who spent 2013-15 with the Rams, will make $6MM on a three-year deal.
Palmer, meanwhile, was on the field for 60 percent of the Titans’ special teams snaps a year ago and is now set to remain with the club for the next two seasons. The 27-year-old was with Green Bay in the 2013 and ’15 campaigns.
Each of these moves should aid a Titans club whose ST unit finished a below-average 19th in DVOA last season.
Here are today’s minor transactions from around the NFL:
- The Falcons announced the signings of linebacker LaRoy Reynolds and offensive tackle Tom Compton (link via their website). Reynolds has spent time with the Jags and Bears since entering the league in 2013, totaling 43 appearances and four starts. Compton, Washington’s sixth-round pick in 2012, has 44 appearances and 11 starts under his belt. He amassed career highs in both categories (16 and nine, respectively) in 2014.
- The Raiders have signed safety Brynden Trawick, according to their website. Trawick appeared in 38 games with Baltimore from 2013-15 and made one start.
- The Bears have signed long snapper Aaron Brewer to a one-year deal, per their Twitter account. Brewer was the Broncos’ long snapper from 2012-15.
- Seahawks linebacker Eric Pinkins signed his exclusive rights tender, according to Dov Kleiman of RantSports (Twitter link). Pinkins, a sixth-rounder in 2014, logged his first six appearances last season.
- While the Seahawks will keep Pinkins, the same isn’t true for long snapper Clint Gresham. The club has released him, Kleiman tweets. Gresham had been Seattle’s snapper since 2010.
- Browns safety Don Jones signed his restricted free agent tender, per Kleiman (on Twitter). Jones joined the Browns last season after spending time with three other organizations since Miami took him in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.
The Steelers were among the teams rumored to be in the hunt for safety Eric Weddle, who ultimately agreed to join the division-rival Ravens, but Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) hears that Pittsburgh didn’t make a formal contract offer to the safety. According to La Canfora, the Steelers stopped monitoring Weddle’s market over the weekend, shifting their focus to landing an offensive tackle.
Meanwhile, the Patriots were also a team frequently cited as a potential suitor for Weddle, but New England wasn’t one of the finalists for his services, according to Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Schrager notes that Weddle and his agent spent a few hours this morning “going back and forth with two teams.” One of those clubs was the Ravens, but the identity of the second team remains unclear.
Here’s more from around the AFC:
- The Raiders are making a push to bring back wide receiver Andre Holmes, tweets Bill Williamson of Fanrag Sports. Williamson cautions that nothing is done yet, and there’s no guarantee Holmes will return to Oakland, but the two sides appear headed toward a reunion for now.
- While there’s a belief that the Jets will eventually increase their offer to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and find a middle ground, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if Fitzpatrick may not give them the opportunity, possibly having been insulted by a lowball offer. Of course, for that to happen, the free agent quarterback will need to find a suitable offer elsewhere.
- According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (via Twitter), Patriots head coach Bill Belichick called Akiem Hicks last night in a last-ditch effort to keep him in New England. The defensive tackle ultimately signed with the Bears instead, and Howe suggests that the Pats’ offer was for more years, but at a lower annual salary.
- Former Ravens safety and special-teamer Brynden Trawick, who was non-tendered by Baltimore, is paying a visit to the Bengals, tweets Joe Goodberry of CincyJungle.com.
- Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald isn’t sure why the Dolphins are interested in veteran defensive end Chris Clemons.
Unrestricted free agent news will obviously dominate the day, but several clubs also had to make decisions on whether to offer tenders to restricted free agents. We’ll round up those decisions here:
- Buccaneers – Bradley McDougald, S (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times)
- Second-round tender (Twitter link via Auman)
- Jets – Kenbrell Thompkins, WR (Twitter link via Rand Getlin of NFL.com)
- Packers – Justin Perillo, TE (Twitter link via Wes Hodges of the Green Bay Press Gazette)
- Rams – Benny Cunningham, RB (Twitter link via Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com)
- Ravens – Chase Ford, TE (Twitter link via Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun)
- Saints – Josh Hill, TE; Tim Lelito, C (Twitter links via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com)
- 49ers – Tony Jerod-Eddie, DL (Twitter link via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com)
- Bears – Patrick Omameh, G; LaRoy Reynolds, LB; Deonte Thompson, WR (Twitter link via Kevin Fishbain of ChicagoFootball.com)
- Bills – Stefan Charles, DT; Ty Powell, LB; Bacarri Rambo, S (Twitter link via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com)
- Chargers – Cordarro Law, LB; Brandian Ross, S; Damion Square, DL; Johnnie Troutman, G (Twitter link via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Colts – Dan Herron, RB (Twitter link via Mike Chappell of FOX 59)
- Falcons – Nathan Stupar, LB (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com)
- Lions – Tim Wright, TE (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press)
- Packers – Andy Mulumba, LB (Twitter link via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Patriots – Kevin Hughes, T; Sealver Siliga, DL; Brian Tyms, WR (Twitter link via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com)
- Rams – Chase Reynolds, RB (Twitter link via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch ); Daren Bates, S and Brian Folkerts, C (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com )
- Ravens – Marlon Brown, WR; Micajah Reynolds, DT; Brynden Trawick, S (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle and Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun)
- Seahawks – Alvin Bailey, OL; Derrick Coleman, FB; Ricardo Lockette, WR; Christine Michael, RB; Nick Moody, LB (Twitter links via Greg Bell of the News Tribune and Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle)
- Steelers – Terence Garvin, LB (Twitter link via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Washington – Tom Compton, T (Twitter link via Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com)
Here are Tuesday’s minor transactions from around the NFL, with the latest minor moves added to the top of the list throughout the day:
- Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette signed his exclusive-rights tender with the Seahawks, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun and National Football Post. The 28-year-old Lockette appeared in all 16 of Seattle’s games in 2014 and made 11 catches.
- A trio of exclusive rights free agents are now officially back under contract with the Ravens, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, safety Brynden Trawick, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen are now locked up for the 2015 season, having signed their one-year ERFA contract tenders.
- The Steelers announced today that they’ve signed former Eastern Kentucky punter Jordan Berry to a contract, giving the team three punters on its offseason roster (Twitter link). Berry will join Richie Leone and incumbent Brad Wing in the battle for the 2015 job.
Brian De La Puente is arguably the best center still available in free agency, and it sounds as if he’s drawing interest from plenty of potential suitors. Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports that the Saints, Giants, Broncos, and Patriots remain possibilities for De La Puente, who is scheduled to visit with the Redskins. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link) adds that if there’s no agreement in place when the veteran center leaves Washington, more visits are expected.
Here’s more on some of the free agents still on the market:
- We already heard this week that veteran free agent James Harrison is interested in returning to the Steelers, and according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that interest is mutual.
- Having visited for two days with the Buccaneers, wide receiver Louis Murphy is scheduled to meet with the Bengals tomorrow, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
- The Giants will host free agent offensive lineman Charles Brown, tweets Adam Caplan.
- After leaving his visit with the Rams without an agreement in place, free agent quarterback Shaun Hill appears to be considering both the Rams and Lions, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Bengals confirmed (via Twitter) that free agent defensive end Robert Ayers visited with them today, which means he left that meeting without an agreement in place.
- Ravens safety Brynden Trawick is no longer an exclusive rights free agent, having signed his $495K tender from the team, tweets Aaron Wilson.
The 49ers are expected to extend the restricted free agent tender to defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs and extend a tender to exclusive rights free agent Michael Wilhoite, tweets Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. We’ll keep track of the latest contract tenders here..
- The Packers put the low ($1.431MM) restricted tender on linebacker Jamari Lattimore, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
- The Bears are not planning to place the restricted free agent tender on safety Anthony Walters, so he will become an unrestricted free agent this afternoon, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Cardinals won’t tender Marcus Benard, Alfonso Smith, Ronald Talley, or Jake Ballard, tweets Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. That doesn’t mean they won’t return, it just means Arizona doesn’t want to pay the tender price.
- The Ravens have tendered Omar Brown, D.J. Bryant, Josh Bynes, Adrian Hamilton, Anthony Levine and Brynden Trawick, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today.