Chase Daniel

Bears To Sign QB Chase Daniel

The Bears are expected to sign quarterback Chase Daniel to a two-year deal worth $10MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal includes $7MM guaranteed and it can void after one season. 

The void clause, as Rapoport puts it, gives Daniel options in the event that he “becomes this year’s Nick Foles.” If Mitch Trubisky gets injured and Daniel is a breakout star, he can become a free agent in 2019 and cash in.

This time last year, the Bears signed Mike Glennon to a three-year, $45MM deal with the notion that he would be the team’s starter. Weeks later, the Bears selected Mitch Trubisky high in the 2017 draft, which radically changed everything. Glennon got the hook after one month and Trubisky did not cede the starting job the rest of the way. Mark Sanchez was the only other quarterback rostered by the Bears last year and is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

This time around, things are a bit more cut and dry. Trubisky is entrenched as the upcoming starter and Daniel is here to mentor and serve as the backup in the event of injury. Glennon has already moved on since his release and has signed to back up Sam Bradford with the Cardinals.

Daniel, 31, spent last season backing up Drew Brees with the Saints and has also had stops with the Eagles and Chiefs. He has two career starts, which both came while with the Chiefs from 2013-15. The Saints originally signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Missouri. Daniel has completed 65.4% of his passes in 78 career attempts, with a touchdown and an interception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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Free Agency Notes: Jets, Colts, Lewis, Burton

Here’s a look at the latest free agency buzz:

  • Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears the Jets and Colts are “possible destinations” for Patriots free agent running back Dion Lewis. The language in Fowler’s report is admittedly soft, but free agents are technically forbidden from talking to rival teams during this time, so this may be a wink-wink acknowledgement that both teams have engaged in some secretive discussions prior to the legal tampering period on March 12. Recently, Mike Florio of PFT indicated that the Texans, 49ers, and Raiders were also potential destinations for the 27-year-old (28 in September).
  • No surprise here, but free agent tight end Trey Burton is a popular man. With the Eagles unlikely to retain him, 16 clubs have already checked in on his status this week, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link).
  • Some executives who spoke with Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com indicated that Dontari Poe could be a fit for the Buccaneers. Poe, who did well on his one-year platform deal with the Falcons, may also fit the Redskins, Broncos, and Colts, per JLC.
  • More from JLC, who cautions of a potential bidding war between the Bears and Chiefs over backup quarterback Chase Daniel. The Saints would like to retain the veteran, but they might not be able to afford him with a big money extension on the horizon for Drew Brees. The Bears and Chiefs both make sense for Daniel given the ties he has to both coaching staffs.

South Notes: Jaguars, Saints, Titans, Bucs

The Jaguars will host Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Ohio State safety Malik Hooker later this week, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (Twitter link). Jacksonville holds the fourth overall pick, but both Foster and Hooker seem like unlikely selections given the club’s recent draft picks (Myles Jack) and free agent additions (Tashaun Gipson, Barry Church). Still, the Jaguars are likely simply doing due diligence on the draft’s top prospects. Indeed, the club is also slated to meet with running back Dalvin Cook (Florida State), running back Leonard Fournette (LSU), edge rusher Myles Garrett (Texas A&M), and running back Joe Mixon (Oklahoma), as O’Halloran writes in a full piece.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Count the Saints among the clubs that may consider Mixon, as the controversial prospect met with New Orleans today, tweets Nick Underhill of the Advocate. While a number of teams, including New England and Miami have ruled out selecting Mixon due to an assault incident, the Saints are reportedly among the clubs “digging in” on the 20-year-old. In New Orleans, Mixon would pair with Mark Ingram to give the Saints a lethal running back combination.
  • Missouri defensive end Charles Harris worked out for the Titans on Monday, as he detailed to SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Harris is expected come off the board during the second half of the first round, and could conceivably be an option for Tennessee at pick No. 18. He put up 16 sacks over the past two seasons for the Tigers.
  • The Buccaneers are hosting USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson on Monday, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Jackson, who ranks as Daniel Jermiah of NFL.com‘s 37th overall player, would give Tampa Bay another young defensive back after the team spent a first-round pick on Vernon Hargreaves in 2016. Also a dynamic returner, Jackson could augment a Buccaneers special teams unit that was below average on both kick and punt returns last year.
  • While Chase Daniel had other proposals on the table, the longtime backup chose a reunion with the Saints in part because Drew Brees‘ contract expires after 2017, as Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com writes. “[Brees] could play until he’s 45 if he wanted to,” Daniel said. “And the way his contract is sort of set up, yeah, it’s the last year of his contract, but for me, I’d be crazy to say that didn’t play a little bit into effect to come here, to play behind Drew again, to learn this offense, to get noticed in this offense and to see where it takes me.” Daniel, however, only signed for a single season, as well.

Details On Chase Daniel’s Saints Deal

Chase Daniel will be making solid money for a backup quarterback, but not in the conventional way. His Saints contract will pay him a guaranteed base salary of $900K, according to a source who spoke with Mike Florio of PFT. The real money comes in the form of guaranteed cash still owed to him by the Eagles. Chase Daniel (vertical)

Daniel’s deal with Philly included $5MM in guaranteed salary, so he’ll collect on $4.1MM from his former team with the remainder coming from New Orleans. On top of that, he can earn as much as $3MM through incentives, but I would speculate that those bonuses will be tied to playing time. If that’s the case, the only real opportunity to make that extra money will be if Drew Brees gets hurt and Daniel fills in. Because the Eagles agreed to reduce his offset to $2MM, they would get the first $1.1MM of any incentive payments, according to Florio. All in all, that means Daniel can personally max out at $6.9MM for the coming year.

Florio also hears that Daniel was offered better contracts by other teams. Ostensibly, Daniel chose New Orleans for the opportunity to replace the aging Brees as well as his familiarity with the organization. It’s not clear which teams were also in the mix for his services, but Daniel did meet with the Jets before agreeing to sign with the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints To Sign QB Chase Daniel

The Saints are signing quarterback Chase Daniel to a one-year deal, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Financial details of the deal are not yet known. "<strong

Daniel will likely serve as the No. 2 quarterback behind Drew Brees for the second time in his NFL career. The Saints also have veteran Luke McCown and former third-round pick Garrett Grayson under contract.

Daniel, 30, has been a free agent since securing his release from the Eagles two weeks ago. The QB spent the first three years of his career in New Orleans but only attempted nine passes during that time while holding the clipboard for Brees. Given that the Eagles were unable to trade Daniel earlier this month, it makes sense that he is signing on for a backup role without a chance to start.

Daniel inked a lucrative contract with the Eagles last offseason that made him one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL. He’s attempted only 78 passes as a pro, but as many as six teams were interested in Daniel last year before he signed with Philadelphia. No one knows for sure what Daniel can do in live action, but the Saints believe they have scored a solid backup QB.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chase Daniel Visiting Jets

The Jets’ quarterback search continues. Today, the Jets will meet with free agent Chase Daniel, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Daniel, 30, huddled up with the Saints on Sunday but left New Orleans without a contract. Despite the lack of game film on him, Daniel is highly respected in coaching circles and is said to be a strong quarterback in practice. Last season, Doug Pederson‘s endorsement was enough to convince the Eagles to sign him to a three-year pact with a $21MM value. Now, the Jets are seriously entertaining him as a starting option even though he’s only thrown 78 passes over the course of his seven-year NFL career.

If the season started today, Bryce Petty would be the Jets’ starting quarterback with 2016 second-round pick Christian Hackenberg as his backup. When all is said and done, Petty could still wind up as the starter, but the Jets will fully explore their options before committing to the Baylor product. Former Browns QB Josh McCown is also in the mix.

In a poll on Sunday night, 47% of PFR readers predicted that Jay Cutler would wind up as the Jets’ starting QB in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chase Daniel Visiting Saints

Free agent quarterback Chase Daniel is meeting with the Saints today, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Chase Daniel (vertical)

Daniel, 30, spent the first three years of his career in New Orleans after entering the league as an undrafted free agent. He only attempted nine passes during that time while backing up Drew Brees, and he’d be coming to the Saints as a clear-cut No. 2 signal-caller once again. Given that the Eagles were unable to trade Daniel earlier this month, it’s perhaps unsurprising that he may have to accept a backup job without the chance to start.

Daniel inked a lucrative contract with the Eagles last offeason that made him one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Despite his paycheck, Daniel is very inexperienced as an NFL passer, as he’s attempted only 78 passes during his seven-year career. Still, as many as six teams were interested in Daniel last year before he signed with Philadelphia, so he figures to have suitors as a free agent this time around.

At present, the Saints have veteran Luke McCown and former third-round pick Garrett Grayson under contract behind Brees.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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East Notes: Jets, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles

Contrary to previous reports, the Jets were “not close” to offering linebacker Dont’a Hightower $12MM annually, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. However, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link) New York had an offer of $11MM per year, with $22MM in guarantees, on the table, but withdrew that proposal after Hightower left without signing. Hightower ultimately re-signed with New England for four years, $43.5MM, and $19MM guaranteed.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Although defensive tackle Dontari Poe visited with the Dolphins, Miami seems unlikely to sign him unless it’s at an extremely team-friendly rate, opines Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Given that Miami already has a high percentage of cap space tied up in fellow defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the club probably won’t land Poe unless he’s willing to accept a deal in the one-year, $4MM range. Alternatively, the Fins could convince Poe to ink a two-year pact that contains a low cap charge for the 2017 campaign, per Salguero.
  • New Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks denies he requested to be traded away from the Saints, tweets Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune. According to published reports, Cooks is correct, as he never vocally expressed the need to leave New Orleans, at least to the media. Cooks did express frustration with his role in the Saints’ offense last year, saying “closed mouths don’t get fed,” but that’s far from asking to be traded.
  • Cornerback Marcus Cromartie visited with the has generated interest from the JetsEagles, and Seahawks according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, who notes the 49ers are also “keeping an eye” on the three-year pro. Cromartie, 26, hit the open market last week after San Francisco declined to offer him a restricted free agent tender. He’s appeared in 21 games during his three-year NFL tenure, mostly acting as a special teams player during that time. The Lions are also intrigued by Cromartie, and hosted him for a visit over the weekend.
  • Before releasing quarterback Chase Daniel earlier this week, the Eagles restructured his offset language in order to be able to recoup more money, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. While Caplan doesn’t detail how exactly Philadelphia restructured Daniels’ deal, the ESPN scribe does note Daniel will still be able to earn more than the $5MM that was fully guaranteed under his Eagles contract.