Cameron Artis-Payne

NFC Notes: Washington, Artis-Payne, Saints

Josh Norman‘s signing with Washington will likely lead to Will Blackmon making the move to safety, Mike Jones and Master Tefatsion of the Washington Post write. Blackmon started 10 games at corner last season. Although Washington signed David Bruton to compete for a starting safety job this offseason, the team has questions on the back line. Kyshoen Jarrett‘s status is unknown after a season-ending injury, and career-long corner DeAngelo Hall‘s full-time transition to the position will come in a season where he turns 33.

Jones and Tefatsion also point out that Bashaud Breeland looks like the favorite to start alongside Norman for Washington this season, since 2015 free agent acquisition Chris Culliver‘s $8MM base salary is non-guaranteed. Washington would take on $3.75MM in dead money if the club decides to release Culliver, Pro Football Focus’ second-worst full-time corner last season.

Here’s more from around the NFC, including a couple more notes on how Norman’s signing affects Washington:

  • Speaking of Breeland, when he first heard the news that Norman was heading to Washington, he “took it as disrespect,” he admitted during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio (SoundCloud link). However, he came to view the signing as a “chess move” that will not only improve the team, but could also allow Breeland himself to improve by working with one of the league’s best corners.
  • Landing Norman shouldn’t negatively impact Washington‘s chances of getting a long-term deal done with quarterback Kirk Cousins or any of the club’s other key contributors, writes John Keim of ESPN.com.
  • Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne was arrested after police recorded him driving 102 mph in a 65-mph zone, per WSOCTV (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles brought in Auburn cornerback Blake Countess for a pre-draft visit last week while clubs were still permitted to host prospects, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (Twitter link).
  • The Saints held pre-draft visits with Washington linebacker Travis Feeney and Nebraska offensive lineman Alex Lewis, reports Joel Erickson of the Advocate. Both prospects project as Day 3 picks, and Lewis is particularly interesting as the college tackle could be moved inside to guard at the pro level.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Draft Signings: Bears, Ravens, Pats, Giants

A number of mid- to late-round draft picks have agreed to terms with their respective teams so far today. Here’s the list of draftees who have been locked up by their teams, along with four-year contract information, via Over The Cap:

  • Baltimore Ravens: Za’Darius Smith, DE/OLB (fourth round). $2.763MM, including signing bonus of $483K (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Carolina Panthers: Cameron Artis-Payne, RB (fifth round). $2.446MM, including signing bonus of $166K (Twitter link via David Newton of ESPN.com).
  • Chicago Bears: Hroniss Grasu, OL (third round). $3.042MM, including signing bonus of $762K (Twitter link via Bears’ official account)
  • New England Patriots: Tre’ Jackson, G (fourth round). $2.724MM, including a signing bonus of $444K (Twitter link via Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal).
  • New York Giants: Owa Odighizuwa, DE (third round). $3.021MM, including signing bonus of $741K (Twitter link via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post).
  • Seattle Seahawks: Ryan Murphy, S (seventh round). $2.333MM, including signing bonus of $53K (Twitter link via agent Adam Snyder)
  • Washington: Jamison Crowder, WR (fourth round). $2.826MM, including signing bonus of $546K (Twitter link via John Keim of ESPN.com).
  • Washington: Tevin Mitchell, CB (sixth round). $2.413MM, including signing bonus of $133K (Twitter link via Keim).

Draft Notes: Bucs, Fowler, Mariota, Bears

As previously reported, Dante Fowler Jr. visited the Buccaneers, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht “really likes” the Florida pass rusher. However, Fowler himself seems to recognize that he’s unlikely to land with the Bucs, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times details.

“They’re going with a quarterback,” Fowler said. “I feel like there’s no need for them to talk to me and waste my time unless something happens with Jameis [Winston] or Marcus [Mariota] or something like that. They know where they’re going. I understand that.”

While the Bucs cover all their bases, Mariota appears to be doing the same thing — Adam Schefter of ESPN.com said Thursday on ESPN 1000 in Chicago that the Oregon signal-caller recently paid a visit to the Bears. Mariota is considered the favorite to come off the board at No. 2, and may not be available when Chicago’s No. 7 overall pick rolls around, but as our Rob DiRe laid out this morning in PFR’s first 2015 mock draft, there are scenarios in which Mariota is still in play at that point. It sounds like both he and the Bears are doing their due diligence.

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post and the Baltimore Sun has updates on several more draft prospects for us this morning, so let’s round those up….

  • Cameron Artis-Payne (RB, Auburn): Met with the Patriots and Browns (link).
  • Adrian Coxson (WR, Stony Brook): The Giants were “very impressed’ with him at their local prospect day (Twitter link).
  • Tyler Murphy (QB, Boston College): Visiting the Steelers today (link).
  • Nick Perry (S, Alabama): Had private workouts for the Patriots and Colts (link).
  • Tray Walker (CB, Texas Southern): Visits with the Ravens, Chiefs, Packers, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Falcons, plus private workouts with the Cardinals and Texans (link). Had a previously-reported visit with the Raiders.

Draft Updates: Saturday

With the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft approaching quickly, here are a few updates on seniors who have signed with agents and are eligible for the Draft, and underclassmen who have declared early.

For a list of all early entrants so far, please check our list here.

  • USC junior receiver Nelson Agholor has decided to go pro, and will enter the 2015 NFL Draft, reports Jordan Moore of USCTrojans.com“These past three years at USC have been a blessing, along with a lot of my life. I am very grateful to have had the coaches and staff members of this prestigious university in my life,” said Agholor. “Because of these men and women, I feel prepared to follow my dreams into the NFL. Thank you to the Trojan Family for allowing me to become one of your own.”
  • Boise State senior wideout Matt Miller has signed with the NOVO Agency, and will be eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft, reports Liz Mullen or the Sports Business Journal (via Twitter). He will be represented by Jeff Sperbeck.
  • University of Washington senior nose tackle Danny Shelton also signed with NOVO, according to Mullen (via Twitter). He will be represented by Haig Abnous and Sperbeck.
  • Two Auburn players, junior receiver Sammie Coates and senior running back Cameron Artis-Payne, both signed with Michael Perrett of Element Sports, reports Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Coates had previously declared for the draft.
  • University of Maryland junior receiver Stefon Diggs has declared for the draft, reports Matt Zenith of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).