Buster Skrine

Bears Notes: Desai, Robinson, Massie, Skrine

Earlier this week, Sean Desai met with the media for the first time since being promoted to the role of defensive coordinator. While the 37-year-old will take over a defense that has ranked as a top-10 DVOA unit in each of the past three seasons, they’ve also seen some regression since peaking in 2018. However, Desai doesn’t believe the defensive needs a significant overhaul.

“I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said (via the team’s website). “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”

“There was some regression, and we’re going to overcome that,” Desai added. “But we’re going to do it in a positive way and we’re going to do it where the players are going to be able to shine through that defense. So I think we’ll build some depth and we’ll continue with our tough, physical mindset of play and do that over a 16- to 20-week season.”

Some more notes out of Chicago…

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that the Bears are “prepared” to tag wideout Allen Robinson with the hope of eventually signing him to a long-term deal. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that it will be difficult to fit a franchised Robinson into a reduced 2021 cap, but the writer also admits that replacing Robinson would be a more daunting task.
  • Speaking of the cap, Biggs provided some cost-cutting options for the Bears. The team could move on from right tackle Bobby Massie, although that would open a spot on the offensive line. Cornerback Buster Skrine could also lose his roster spot, especially since he has a $500K roster bonus due in March. Finally, Biggs also whether the front office will be receptive to paying tight end Jimmy Graham $7MM this season.
  • As for restructured contracts, Biggs points to pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson, and he notes that the team could also extend cornerback Kyle Fuller. Alternatively, the team could look to retain free agents like Cairo Santos and Cordarrelle Patterson on low-money pacts.
  • Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic passed along a few Bears players who have increased their 2021 salaries via proven performance escalators (Twitter links): defensive end Bilal Nichols (from $920K to $2.183MM) and guard James Daniels ($1.437MM to $2.183MM),. Their new salaries are contingent on the final 2021 cap number.

Bears To Sign Buster Skrine

Moments after agreeing to terms with running back Mike Davis, the Bears are making another signing. Chicago is adding cornerback Buster Skrine, sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network added in a tweet that it’ll be a three-year deal worth $16.5MM. $8.5MM of it will be guaranteed. Garafolo writes that the news “surely means Bryce Callahan is gone from Chicago.” Skrine comes to the Bears from the Jets, after spending the past four seasons in New York.

Skrine signed a four-year $25MM deal with the Jets back in 2015, and had an up and down tenure in New York. He came close to getting cut several times, and his play has fluctuated greatly. A fifth round pick of the Browns back in 2011, Skrine is still only 29. He’s a slot cornerback, and will slight right into the hole presumably left by Callahan.

Skrine received average marks from Pro Football Focus for his work last year, which is a pretty big downgrade from Callahan, but the move should save the Bears a decent amount of money. In 14 games and 11 starts last year, Skrine had 58 tackles and eight passes defended.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Bowles, Martin, Skrine, UDFAs

Some fringe NFL players have difficulties finding a job after their NFL career has seemingly come to an end. However, Jets placekicker Ross Martin seems to have it all figured out. The former undrafted free agent out of Duke already has a job lined up at IBM if/when his football opportunities have dried up.

“Throughout my senior year, my first and foremost passion was to make it to the NFL, but I also wanted to have a contingency plan,” Martin told Ethan Greenberg of NewYorkJets.com. “I did a couple interviews with a couple different firms and ended up getting the offer from IBM with a start date in October last year. I went the whole course with the Jets through the preseason and everything. I got cut and started working for IBM in October of last year all the way up through April.”

Martin is hoping for a different outcome this time around. The 23-year-old is competing with Chandler Catanzaro in what special teams coordinator Brant Boyer described as a “wide open kicking competition.”

Let’s check out some more notes out of the Jets organization…

  • In the unlikely event that Jets coach Todd Bowles loses his job, Darryl Slater of NJ.com believes that general manager Mike Maccagnan should have a major say in hiring the team’s replacement. Bowles and Maccagnan were hired together before the 2015 season, and it’s clear that owner Woody Johnson is still running the show. However, considering the organization’s wish to rebuild next season, it seems unlikely that the team wouldn’t consider bringing Bowles back for the 2018 campaign.
  • Looking at holdovers from last season’s team, Slater makes it clear that Jets veteran running back Matt Forte will not get cut. Considering Lorenzo Mauldin‘s legal issues, the writer can envision the team moving on from the linebacker. The writer also points to cornerback Buster Skrine, who he assumes will be gone next offseason, anyway. Cutting the veteran defensive back would create nearly $6MM in cap space, which the Jets could carry over into next offseason.
  • Among all of the Jets’ undrafted free agents, Connor Hughes of NJ.com believes offensive lineman Chris Bordelon has the best chance of making the 53-man roster. While the Jets starting offensive line is seemingly set, the Nicholls State product could catch on as a reserve. The writer also lists wideouts K.D. Cannon and Gabe Marks, fullback Anthony Firkser, cornerback Xavier Coleman, and linebacker Connor Harris as potential candidates to make the team.
  • In case you missed it, free agent linebacker Zach Orr is set to meet with the Jets today.

Jets To Cut Richardson, Skrine?

The Jets aren’t done cleaning house. Sheldon Richardson, Buster Skrine, Marcus Gilchrist, and Calvin Pryor are among the players that are in danger of losing their roster spots, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini tweets. As previously reported, Eric Decker may be in the same boatSheldon Richardson (vertical)

Cimini writes that David Harris seems safe for now, but that could change if they add a free agent at inside linebacker. Gang Green could also try to deal Pryor and Richardson since the former first-round picks still have some trade value. The Jets once shopped Richardson with the hope of netting a first-round pick, but it now seems like they might have to settle for a third-round choice given Richardson’s down year and off-field red flags. Pryor, a big hitter in the secondary, has yet to really break out in his three NFL seasons. This past season, Pro Football Focus rated the Louisville slugger as the No. 73 safety in the NFL out of 89 qualified players.

In recent days, the Jets have released wide receiver Brandon Marshall, cornerback Darrelle Revis, center Nick Mangold, offensive tackles Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini, kicker Nick Folk, and linebacker Erin Henderson. It sounds like that list is about to grow even more.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Notes: Decker, Trades, Revis

Jets wideout Eric Decker recently underwent hip surgery, and the 29-year-old is also awaiting an operation to repair his partially torn rotator cuff. Despite these setbacks, Decker said he wouldn’t miss any games in 2017.

“I’m not worried about missing any time next year,” Decker said on ESPN New York (via Darryl Slater of NJ.com). “I’ll be fine by the start of next year.”

Decker will be on crutches for a few more weeks, and he’ll have his shoulder surgery once he’s recovered from his hip operation. The shoulder should take about eight months to recover, which should line up perfectly with offseason workouts.

“I think they say eight months is kind of the time frame where you’re back to full strength lifting,” Decker said. “But there are a lot of guys that say after six weeks, after eight weeks, they feel pretty good. And then it’s a matter of obviously strengthening the shoulder.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the Gang Green…

Jets’ Buster Skrine Restructures Contract

As Sunday fast approaches, more and more players are restructuring their deals to accommodate their teams. Cornerback Buster Skrine has joined the club, as Darryl Slater of NJ.com writes. The Jets created $2.5MM in salary cap space for 2016 by giving Skrine a $3.75MM signing boBuster Skrine (vertical)nus and dropping his 2016 base salary from $6.5MM to $2.75MM. Skrine’s cap number has now gone from $7.754MM to $5.254MM.

Skrine, 27, joined the Jets on a four-year, $25MM deal ($13MM guaranteed) last offseason. With Antonio Cromartie out of the picture, Skrine is now serving a more important role as he’ll start opposite of Darrelle Revis in the base defense while also serving as the primary slot corner in the nickel formation.

In 2015, Skrine appeared in all 16 regular season games and started in seven contests. He had one interception, six passes defensed, and 55 total tackles.

The Jets are roughly $430K under the cap now, according to Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap (on Twitter).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Colts, Jets, Raiders

Some assorted notes from around the AFC…

  • Despite the Colts‘ apparent need for a pass rusher (and the team’s tendency to add players older than 30), ESPN.com’s Mike Wells can’t envision the team bringing in free agent Dwight Freeney. The 36-year-old spent 11 seasons with Indy, and he played last season with the Cardinals, where he compiled eight sacks.
  • The Colts don’t have much cornerback depth outside of Vontae Davis, Patrick Robinson and Darius Butler, writes Kevin Bowen of Colts.com. This could pave the way for an undrafted free agent to play a significant role on the team.
  • Regardless of how much money Ryan Fitzpatrick is seeking, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini notes that the Jets will have to clear some cap room to retain the quarterback. The writer notes that the team could take several routes, like restructuring Eric Decker or Buster Skrine‘s contracts.
  • Raiders first-round pick Karl Joseph had to watch from the sideline during his team’s rookie minicamp this past week as he recovers from a torn ACL. While the organization is confident that the safety will be ready for the regular season, Joseph is frustrated that he can’t participate with his teammates. “It’s tough, just not being able to go out there and practice and learn the stuff, but I am still learning in meeting rooms,” Joseph told Josh Dubow of the Associated Press. “Right now, I am just focusing on rehabbing and getting healthy.”

Workout Updates: 10/20/15

Today’s workouts and visits from around the NFL..

Earlier today:

  • The Panthers are working out tight end/fullback James Casey today, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
  • The Saints tried out defensive backs Akeem Davis and Robert McClain, wide receiver T.J. Graham, guard David Arkin, and center Ryan Seymour, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter). Seymour was ultimately signed to New Orleans’ practice squad.
  • The Jets worked out cornerback Jeremy Harris on Monday, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Buster Skrine and Marcus Williams are both uncertain for this week, so Gang Green is likely looking at Harris as possible insurance.
  • The Vikings worked out former Ravens defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi on Tuesday, a source tells Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Panthers worked out former Ravens quarterback Bryn Renner according to a source who spoke with Wilson (Twitter link).
  • The Broncos are working out former Titans linebacker J.R. Tavai, according to a source who spoke with Wilson (Twitter link).
  • The Titans will try out ex-Ravens fullback Kiero Small, Wilson tweets.
  • The Ravens tried out a trio of defensive backs: Jonte Green, Sheldon Price, and Cornelius Brown, Wilson tweets.
  • The Chiefs tried out defensive back Trovon Reed, Wilson tweets.
  • The Steelers worked out tackle James Brewer, Wilson tweets.
  • Former Seahawks wide receiver Douglas McNeil is working out for the Panthers today, according to a source who spoke with Wilson (link).
  • The Broncos working out tight end Matt LaCosse today, according to a source who spoke with Wilson (link).

AFC Notes: Yanda, Titans, Shorts, Skrine

Following Marshal Yanda‘s four-year extension with the Ravens, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com writes that the lineman “has earned the right to finish his career in Baltimore.” When Yanda ultimately hangs it up, the writer believes he’ll be regarded as one of the best players in franchise history.

That sentiment was echoed by general manager Ozzie Newsome on Friday.

“Marshal Yanda is not only a staple of our offensive line but also a staple of our entire team,” he said. “He is the best of what a Raven should be.”

Predictably, Yanda was calm and collected while discussing his new contract.

“I look forward to carrying on the Baltimore Ravens’ great tradition,” he said. “Hopefully I will finish my career as a Raven.”

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • The Titans should have an open roster spot when they inevitably place linebacker Deiontrez Mount on injured reserve. Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com expects that spot to either be filled by practice squad participants Jason Ankrah or Justin Staples. “At some point, everyone’s number gets called, so I just have to make sure I am ready so I can help the team,’’ Staples said. “I am excited. My body is feeling great and I am ready to get out there and fly around with my teammates.”
  • The Jaguars let wideout Cecil Shorts depart to the Texans this offseason, but the receiver isn’t upset that the team didn’t put more of an effort into retaining him. “That’s where I started my career and spent four years of my life,” Shorts told Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com. “I have nothing but love for that community and for the fans. It will be a little emotional, but it will be fun to compete.”
  • Buster Skrine certainly wasn’t one of the Jets‘ biggest offseason moves, but the former Browns defensive back has proven to be an invaluable part of New York’s defense, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.


Dolphins Notes: Crabtree, Ridley, Gore, Skrine

Free agent receiver Michael Crabtree turned down approximately $3MM from the Dolphins, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who adds that Crabtree is seeking at least $4.5MM. We had heard that Miami was interested in the former 49er, and it appears as though they had serious enough interest to offer a contract. The 27-year-old Crabtree is reportedly in no rush to sign, but he will head to Oakland this week to meet with the Raiders.

Let’s check out some more Dolphins notes, all courtesy of Jackson…

  • Running back Stevan Ridley‘s visit with the Dolphins was simply “exploratory,” writes Jackson, but Miami has not ruled out signing the free agent. Ridley is coming off a torn ACL, so the club was presumably checking out his medicals.
  • Oklahoma defensive tackle prospect Jordan Phillips met with the Dolphins last week, reports Jackson, who points out that Miami probably isn’t in need on interior defensive line help given the presence of Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell, among others. Phillips ranks as the fifth-best available defensive tackle according to the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock.
  • Miami showed “some interest” in running back Frank Gore, but not as much as some other clubs, Gore told Jackson. The 31-year-old Gore added that he would have liked to team with current Fin running back Lamar Miller, who like Gore is a University of Miami product.
  • One of the Dolphins’ top targets on defense was cornerback Buster Skrine, but the defensive back ultimately chose the Jets over Miami.