Cedric Thornton

49ers DT Cedric Thornton Retires

49ers defensive tackle Cedric Thornton is retiring from football, the team announced. The move came without any real warning, though the team should be alright without him after signing defensive tackle Chris Jones

A former three-year starter for the Eagles, Thornton signed a four-year deal with the Cowboys prior to the 2016 campaign but lasted only a single season. He latched on with the Bills just before the 2017 season got underway and ultimately appeared in 15 games, playing on roughly a third of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. In late July, he signed a lost-cost deal with the Niners.

It’s not clear why Thornton is retiring, but it’s possible that he decided to quit before the Niners potentially left him off of their 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Sign DTs Cedric Thornton, Will Sutton

The 49ers have signed defensive tackles Cedric Thornton and Will Sutton, as well as offensive lineman J.P. Flynn, the club announced today. In corresponding moves, San Francisco has cut defensive back Don Jones, offensive lineman Jamar McGloster, and defensive lineman Blaine Woodson.

Of the players involved in today’s transactions, Thornton boasts the longest NFL track record. A former three-year starter for the Eagles, Thornton signed a four-year deal with the Cowboys prior to the 2016 campaign but lasted only a single season. He latched on with the Bills just before the 2017 season got underway and ultimately appeared in 15 games, playing on roughly a third of Buffalo’s defensive snaps.

Sutton, meanwhile, is a former third-round pick of the Bears who flamed out after three seasons. Although he inked a deal with the Vikings last summer, Sutton didn’t make Minnesota’s initial 53-man roster and spent the rest of the year on the workout circuit. While he never did land a deal last year, Sutton is still only 26 years old.

The 49ers aren’t hurting for depth along their interior defense, as starters DeForest Buckner and Earl Mitchell are backed up by Chris Jones, Sheldon Day, and others, while end Arik Armstead can also play inside. Still, Thornton and/or Sutton could have an outside chance to make San Francisco’s roster if they perform well during training camp.

Eagles Host DL Cedric Thornton

The Eagles recently hosted free agent defensive lineman Cedric Thornton for a workout, according to Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (Twitter link).

Thornton is no stranger to Philadelphia, as he signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Arkansas in 2012. Thornton, now 29, went on to start 45 games for the Birds, and was extremely effective after the Eagles shifted to a 3-4 scheme under Chip Kelly in 2014. As an oversized defensive end, Thornton especially excelled against the run.

Thornton signed a four-year deal with the division-rival Cowboys in 2016, but made it only one season in Dallas before being released. He quickly resurfaced with Bills on a single-season pact, and ultimately appeared in 15 games and made three starts for Buffalo. During that time, Thornton posted 18 tackles and two sacks, but graded as the fifth-worst interior defender among 122 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Now that the Eagles are running a 4-3 front, Thornton would likely line up at defensive tackle if signed. Philadelphia is on the hunt for depth given that starting tackle Timmy Jernigan is expected to miss four-to-six months following back surgery, while defensive ends Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham (who recently underwent a minor ankle operation, per Tim McManus of ESPN.com) are also recovering from surgery. The Eagles have also looked at other free agent defenders in recent weeks, as they expressed interest in Terrell McClain before he signed with the Falcons and met with Courtney Upshaw.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Place QB T.J. Yates On IR

The Bills announced that they have placed quarterback T.J. Yates on injured reserve. In other QB news, the Bills confirmed that Tyrod Taylor will be ready to go for Week 1 against the Jets. T.J. Yates (vertical)

Both Yates and Taylor suffered concussions in August, putting the team’s QB depth in serious jeopardy. The team signed Joe Webb on Monday to brace for the possibility that rookie Nathan Peterman would be left as the team’s only other healthy signal caller. Now that Taylor has been given the green light, Webb may or may not stick on the roster as the QB3. Yates will be eligible to return after eight weeks, if the Bills want to use one of their two IR-DTR spots on him.

In other news, the Bills signed safety Colt Anderson and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. Defensive tackle Deandre Coleman has been released.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins

Cowboys Cut DT Cedric Thornton

The Cowboys cut defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. His $3MM base salary was guaranteed for this year, so Dallas will be on the hook for that sum. Cedric Thornton (vertical)

Thornton signed a four-year deal with Dallas worth $17MM last year but disappointed in his Dallas debut. The former undrafted free agent compiled only 22 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the year. The Cowboys were hoping he’d bounce back this summer, but they didn’t see the results they were looking for.

Ultimately, the Cowboys paid Thornton $6MM for one season of work. They’ll take on $1.25MM in dead money this season and $2.5MM in 2018.

Dallas was already thin along the defensive line given that David Irving and Damontre Moore will begin the 2018 season on the suspended list. First-round pick Taco Charlton figures to start opposite Tyrone Crawford at defensive end.

Extra Points: Packers, Cowboys, Buccaneers

The Packers will be returning seven wideouts from last year’s roster, and they’ve also brought in rookies DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre. A number of players could logically slot in behind starters Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Davante Adams, and they’re all aware of the fierce competition.

“I’d like to think we have more than seven guys who can play in that group, for sure,” receivers coach Luke Getsy told Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com. “Circumstances dictate a little bit the way things go … but the thing I’m excited about is I really do think we have more than seven guys who can contribute to us winning football games.”

Besides the starters and pair of rookies, the Packers are also rostering wideouts Jeff JanisGeronimo AllisonTrevor Davis, and Max McCaffrey.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • The Cowboys signed defensive tackle Cedric Thornton to a four-year, $17MM deal last offseason, and Brandon George of The Dallas News says the organization expects more from the 29-year-old during his second season with the team. The former undrafted free agent compiled only 22 tackles and 1.5 sacks for Dallas last year, and George believes he’ll once again be apart of the team’s eight-man defensive line rotation.
  • The Buccaneers inked free agent wideout DeSean Jackson to a contract earlier this season, and fellow receiver Mike Evans is excited about the duo’s potential. “This is going to be awesome,” Evans told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “Obviously, I think we could be one of the best tandems in the league. DeSean is an explosive receiver. I think we can do great things together…As soon as he got signed, we had dinner and we connected right away. We knew each other already. I’ve always been a fan of his game and the swagger he brings. Having him on the team will be very helpful.” Evans finished last season with 1,321 yards on 96 catches, while Jackson hauled in 56 catches for 1,005 yards.
  • 27 years after he was released by the Los Angeles Raiders and 16 years after he played with the AFL’s Los Angeles Avengers, quarterback Todd Marinovich is attempting a comeback. The 48-year-old is currently competing for a starting spot on the SoCal Coyotes of the World Developmental Football League. “It’s the greatest game on the planet and I’ve been away from it for so long, and I can’t think of anything more fun,” he told reporters (via ESPN.com). “Recovery has changed every aspect of my life and made it better so why wouldn’t that carry over to the football field?” Marinovich is referring to a former drug problem that led to him being arrested in 2016, although the former NFL quarterback said he’s been sober since that time.

Contract Details: Smith, Martin, Sweezy, Thornton

Here are some of the latest details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All Twitter links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless otherwise indicated…

  • Sean Smith, CB (Raiders): Four years, $38MM. $20MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2016 $5.75MM base salary is guaranteed. 2017 $5MM salary guaranteed against injury upon signing. 2018 base: $8.25MM. 2019: $8.75MM. $500K annual Pro Bowl incentive. Smith has $4.25MM roster bonus guaranteed on third day of 2017 league year. (Twitter links). $15.25MM fully guaranteed in first 12 months of the deal, per Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter)
  • Byron Maxwell, CB (Dolphins): As part of restructure, gave back $1.5MM in cash on 2017 salary in exchange for $2MM guaranteed in ’17, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter)
  • Doug Martin, RB (Buccaneers): Five years, $35.75MM. $15MM guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus on March 14. Guaranteed base salaries of $4MM, $7MM in 2016, 2017. Salaries from 2018-20: $6.75MM, $7MM, $7MM. $1.44MM escalator for stats, playing time, Pro Bowls from 2017-20 (Twitter links)
  • J.R. Sweezy, G (Buccaneers): Five years, $32.5MM. $14.5MM guaranteed. $5MM roster bonus on March 15. Base salaries from 2016-20: $4.5MM, $2.5MM, $6.5MM, $5.75MM, $5.75MM. $2.75MM roster bonus in 2017. (Twitter link)
  • Cedric Thornton, DE (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. Base salaries 2016-19: $1MM (guaranteed), $3MM (guaranteed against injury), $4MM, $4MM. (Twitter link)
  • Tracy Porter, CB (Bears): Three years, $12MM. $4.25MM guaranteed. $900K signing bonus. $1.6MM roster bonus on March 30. Base salaries from 2016-18: $1.5MM, $3.5MM, $3.5MM. $1MM Pro Bowl bonus in each year. (Twitter links via Wilson and Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Bilal Powell, RB (Jets): Three years, $11.25MM. $250MM signing bonus. 2016 base salary of $850K, which is guaranteed. $2.5MM of $3.75MM 2017 base salary guaranteed. (Twitter link)
  • Tony Bergstrom, C (Texans): Two years, $5.75MM. $750K signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed. Base salaries in 2016-17: $1.23MM (guaranteed), $2.63MM (guaranteed against injury). $750K roster bonus April 18. (Twitter links)
  • Johnson Bademosi, DB (Lions): Two years, $4.5MM. $2.9MM guaranteed. Base salaries in 2016-17: $1.1MM, $1.3MM. $50K annual workout bonus. $400K Pro Bowl incentive. (Twitter link)

Cowboys To Sign Cedric Thornton

5:55pm: Language in Thornton’s pact with the Cowboys calls for Thornton to receive $9MM in guaranteed money, with the aforementioned $6MM amount being the fully guaranteed portion, Getlin tweets.

4:57pm: The four-year deal is worth $17MM with a chance to reach $18MM, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Of that sum, $6MM is guaranteed.

4:18pm: The Cowboys have agreed to sign Cedric Thornton, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a four-year deal, per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The deal is worth $18MM, per Rand Getlin of NFL.com (on Twitter). Cedric Thornton

Thornton, 28 in June, started all 16 games for the Eagles in 2014, posting 36 tackles, one sack, and three fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. In that season, the Southern Arkansas alum graded as the league’s 20th-best 3-4 defensive end, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and was especially proficient against the run, where his +11.3 grade placed him eighth at his position.

This past season, Thornton racked up 32 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass deflection. PFF (sub. req’d) rated him as the 44th best defensive tackle in the league with a 76.2 grade. That slotted him just behind fellow unrestricted free agents Haloti Ngata and Akiem Hicks. Here at PFR, we considered Thornton to be this year’s sixth-best available interior defensive lineman, behind Malik Jackson, Damon Harrison, Ian Williams, Jaye Howard, and Nick Fairley.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: RG3, Rams, Chiefs

The latest free agent rumors:

  • Robert Griffin III would “very much” like to play for the Rams in Los Angeles, a source tells Vincent Bonsignore of the Daily News (on Twitter). The 49ers and the Broncos have also been connected to Griffin this week.
  • Despite outside interest, Tamba Hali says that he gave no thought at all to leaving the Chiefs, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets. The Falcons were reportedly a finalist for his services.
  • Stevan Ridley‘s market continues to unfold but the Patriots haven’t shown interest in a reunion, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets. Still, Howe (link) points out that the Patriots reached out to Ridley late last offseason before he joined the Jets, so nothing can be completely ruled out, even though that union is still unlikely. Ridley racked up 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground back in 2012 for the Pats.
  • The Ravens reviewed eight free agent tight ends but after watching a handful of plays from Ben Watson on tape, they determined that he was their guy, GM Ozzie Newsome told reporters, including Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles‘ interest in defensive tackle Cedric Thornton is “tepid,” Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The Eagles haven’t ruled out a return, however.
  • The Seahawks are interested in guard Ted Larsen, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). As we learned yesterday, Larsen will also take a visit with the 49ers.