Bears Rumors

Browns, Colts Lead League In Cap Space

The Browns and Colts have the most cap room of any team in the NFL heading into draft, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. Here’s the official rundown of every team’s cap space for 2018 on the eve of draft weekend:

  1. Browns – $69.5MM
  2. Colts – $59.8MM
  3. 49ers – $43.8MM
  4. Titans – $35.8MM
  5. Texans -$35.6MM
  6. Bears – $24.1MM
  7. Jets – $21.9MM
  8. Bills – $19.4MM
  9. Jaguars – $18.6MM
  10. Cardinals – $18.1MM
  11. Redskins -$17.1MM
  12. Bengals – $16.8MM
  13. Packers – $16.2MM
  14. Vikings – $15.5MM
  15. Broncos – $14.6MM
  16. Patriots – $13.8MM
  17. Buccaneers – $12.3MM
  18. Cowboys -$11.9MM
  19. Chargers – $11.4MM
  20. Lions – $9.4MM
  21. Giants -$9.4MM
  22. Ravens – $8.8MM
  23. Seahawks – $7.6MM
  24. Chiefs – $6.7MM
  25. Saints – $5.7MM
  26. Panthers – $5.2MM
  27. Dolphins – $2.9MM
  28. Eagles – $2.2MM
  29. Steelers – $2MM
  30. Raiders – $1.8MM
  31. Falcons – $1.3MM
  32. Rams – $264K

Bears To Sign WR Marlon Brown

While Marlon Brown won’t be as likely to make the Bears’ 53-man roster as the franchise’s other offseason additions at this spot, he reached an agreement to compete for a spot.

The Bears signed the former Ravens supporting-cast wideout on Thursday, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Brown has not played in an NFL game since the 2015 season. Brown worked out for the Bears on Tuesday.

Brown joins Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Bennie Fowler as newcomer Bears wideouts. Still just 26, the 6-foot-5 receiver was out of football last season, last being affiliated with the Broncos during their 2017 training camp. Brown’s best season came in 2013, when he caught 49 passes for 524 yards and seven touchdowns. The Georgia product has not gotten into the end zone since his rookie season.

After losing RFA Cameron Meredith to the Saints, the Bears’ wide receiver group will look almost entirely new this season. Josh Bellamy and Kevin White remain on the roster, but the latter can’t exactly be counted on given his extensive injury past. Beyond Bellamy, 2017 UDFA Tanner Gentry s three catches last season were the most among the remaining receivers still on the Bears’ roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Cowboys, Key, Bills

Wednesday marks the final day for NFL draft visits, and we have some notable ones to pass along. Here’s the latest NFL Draft news:

  • LSU linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out with the Cowboys on Tuesday and met with the Saints on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans is visiting the Bills and Texas tackle Connor Williams is visiting the Packers, Rapoport tweets.
  • The Patriots are hosting Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley on a pre-draft visit, a source tells Rapoport (on Twitter). The Patriots aren’t known for taking receivers in the first round, but Ridley could be an exception as they look to rebuild that group. Ridley also visited the Bears on Tuesday.
  • Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore seems to be a firm first round prospect, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). For a while, Moore appeared to be a fringe first/second round type, so his stock is improving as the draft draws near. Moore met with the Bills, who pick No. 12 and 22, on Wednesday.
  • Ohio State center Billy Price will meet with the Seahawks, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. Price is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered during the bench press at the combine. The good news is that Price is expected to be ready in time for training camp.

Bears Work Out Veterans At Minicamp

  • The Bears will work out veteran defensive back Tharold Simon at their minicamp this week, tweets Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Simon, 27, didn’t see the field last season after inking a futures deal with the Redskins, as he was cut in May. A subsequent tryout with the Saints didn’t result in a contract, and Simon never generated any other known interest. However, Simon was a key contributor for the Seahawks in 2014, and as Bigg notes, has the type of size 6’2″, 200 pounds) that Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio covets. Wide receiver Marlon Brown and linebacker Ryan Delaire, each of whom boasts NFL experience, are also auditioning for the Bears, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Draft Rumors: Nelson, 49ers, Eagles

Good news for Wisconsin product Nick Nelson. The surgery to fix the cornerback’s torn meniscus was successful and he did not need a full repair, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Because it was not a full repair, he is expected to recover in six weeks rather than 3-4 months and should be ready for training camp. Nelson was projected to come off the board no later than the third round before the injury and he should be in consideration for rounds 2 and 3 once again after the operation.

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft news:

  • The 49ers met with Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith on Tuesday, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Smith had 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks last season and could be a replacement for Reuben Foster, who is embroiled in serious legal trouble stemming from a domestic violence arrest.
  • Iowa center James Daniels, who is widely regarded as the top center in this year’s draft, visited with the Eagles this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. On Tuesday, he’ll meet with Bears before traveling to the 49ers on Wednesday. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com says that Daniels is one of the best center prospects he’s seen in the last five years and has him ranked as the 23rd best prospect overall in this year’s draft.
  • South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, met with the Lions on Tuesday, Rapoport tweets. If the Lions select Hurst in the first round, that will make three first round tight ends for them in the last ten years, following Brandon Pettigrew (2009) and Eric Ebron (2014).
  • Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander visited the Eagles and Dolphins this week, Rapoport tweets. Alexander is widely projected to be a first round pick and may be the second CB to come off the board after Ohio State’s Denzel Ward.
  • Teams like Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, but the belief that he is a two-down defender and not an adept pass-rusher may keep him out of the Top 10, Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com hears.
  • Speaking of Payne, he visited the Redskins on Monday, a source tells ESPN.com’s John Keim (on Twitter). Washington owns the No. 13 overall pick in the draft.

Bears Won’t Trade Jordan Howard

Despite some rumblings this offseason of a potential Jordan Howard deal, the running back has been assured that he is staying put. When asked about the speculation on Tuesday, Howard told reporters that Bears executives told his agent that they have “no plans” to trade him (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). 

Howard’s own reaction to the trade speculation this offseason only fueled the buzz. At one point, Howard removed all of his Bears-related photos from his Instagram page. Howard dismissed a question regarding that as well, saying there was “nothing to it.”

Howard, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, has been solid for Chicago over the last two seasons. He boasts a career average of 4.6 yards per carry and last year he topped 1,100 yards with nine touchdowns. He also hauled in 23 catches for 125 yards in 2017.

If the Bears ever did entertain a trade for Howard, they probably set the asking price pretty high. Not only is Howard productive, but he’s also one of the league’s best values at running back. He is under contract for another two seasons with modest charges of $692K in 2018 and $782K in 2019.

The Bears have yet to make any changes to their running back group this offseason. Reserve Benny Cunningham was the only free agent of note at the position and he was re-signed in early April after meeting with the Saints and Bucs. The Bears may look to add a supporting running back in the draft, but Howard remains their top option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Guice, Redskins, Patriots, Bills, Giants, Darnold

Running back Derrius Guice visited the Redskins at their team facility on Monday, a source tells John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Redskins have been public about their desire to add a pass-catching running back and Guice, with 18 catches last year at LSU, would fit the bill.

With needs to address on the other side of the ball, many believe that the Redskins will take a defensive player at No. 13 overall. However, the Redskins could probably trade back into the early 20s to take Guice and address their defensive holes later on.

Here’s the latest round of NFL draft news:

  • The Patriots hosted UCLA left tackle Kolton Miller on a pre-draft visit, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets.
  • Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen met with the Bills on Monday and will travel to the Giants on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, USC QB Sam Darnold met with the Giants on Monday and will meet with the Jets on Tuesday.
  • Linebacker Rashaan Evans visited the Bengals on Monday, Rapoport tweets. The Bengals own the No. 21 pick in the draft, which could allow them to snag the Alabama standout.
  • Speaking of Alabama, Rapoport also notes that standout defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne met with the Redskins on Monday. Payne has shot up draft boards in recent weeks thanks to his remarkable strength. “He’s the best. He’s the best I’ve seen,”Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran said earlier this year. “I’ve never seen a guy hit 385 on the power clean every single year. His first year he hit 365 on the power clean and it was like wow, freshman, that’s incredible.
  • USC running back Ronald Jones visited the Patriots on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Within the same tweet, he notes that Stanford safety Justin Reid visited the Panthers before heading off to his Steelers visit.
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson took a pre-draft visit to meet with the 49ers on Monday, a league source told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 49ers have the ninth pick in the first round and Jackson is projected to come off the board as a middle-to-late first-round pick.
  • LSU pass-rusher Arden Key visited the Bears on Monday, Rapoport tweets. He also notes Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller visited the Redskins on Monday and Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson visited the Raiders.

Bears To Sign WR Bennie Fowler

In an offseason that’s seen the Bears overhaul their receiving corps, another name will be added to the mix. Chicago are bringing in Bennie Fowler on a one-year deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Broncos non-tendered Fowler last month, sending the former UDFA into the veteran sector of free agency. The Michigan State alum played four seasons in Denver, serving as an auxiliary wideout in the Demaryius Thomas– and Emmanuel Sanders-dominated passing attack.

Fowler showed some promise during his first run of action in 2015, making a key catch in the Broncos’ narrow divisional-round win over the Steelers and hauling in a two-point conversion in Super Bowl 50 that doubled as Peyton Manning‘s final pass, but the Broncos did not view him as a fit at the near-$2MM rate it would have cost them to retain Fowler via RFA tender.

The 6-foot-1 pass-catcher enjoyed his most statistically productive season in 2017, grabbing 29 receptions for a career-high 350 yards. He’ll join new Bears wideouts Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.