Chris Hogan

AFC Notes: Hogan, Patriots, Broncos, Lynch, Texans

Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan was on his way to a career year in 2017 before a shoulder injury derailed his season. In a recent article, Jeff Howe of The Athletic breaks down why the Patriots will be leaning on Hogan more than ever in 2018, and how it could lead to a “big payday” for the impending free agent.

Howe points out that although Hogan missed essentially the entire second half of last regular season and was quiet in the Patriots’ first two playoff games, he exploded for 128 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, showing he can still be a dynamic playmaker for the team. Howe notes that with Brandin Cooks traded to the Rams, Danny Amendola gone to the Dolphins, and Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games of the season, the Patriots will be counting on Hogan more than ever.

Howe also points out that the extra opportunity comes at a great time for Hogan, who is headed into the final year of his three-year $12MM deal. Howe thinks Hogan could earn himself “a life-altering contract in free agency” and says that “barring injury, Hogan’s floor shouldn’t be a dime less than $6.5 million per season.”

Here’s more from around the AFC:

AFC Notes: Dolphins, Grimes, Gordon, Hali, Ford, Stanley, Pats Injuries

The Dolphins season has taken a dive in recent weeks. After starting the year 4-2, the team has lost control of the final AFC Wild Card spot, losing their past three games by a combined 67 points, thanks to blowout defeats at the hands of the Ravens and Panthers. However, while their reliance on Jay Cutler and midseason trade of Jay Ajayi have’t helped, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald opines that the secondary has been one of the major reasons why the Dolphins are not in position to be playoff contenders, particularly in regards to loss of Brent Grimes when the franchise opted to cut him before the 2016 season.

Beasley explains that the front office decided to move on from the veteran cornerback because his age, salary, 2015 performance and even his wife’s antics, but in hindsight the team misses Grimes’ steady contributions. The 34 year-old corner will face his former team for the first time since they let him walk this Sunday. Since his release, the Dolphins have failed to rectify the position with the likes of Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley. While Howard and Tankersley are still young, both aren’t guys you can lean on during a playoff run. In comparison, Grimes has played more like a middle of the pack corner this season , grading out as the 60th best corner in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, in Beasley’s opinion the way the team has handled their defensive back situation has been a dud all around over the past few years.

  • Josh Gordon is back at the Browns practice facility and he has made a positive impression on head coach Hue Jackson, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Ulrich passes along that the second-year Cleveland head coach has stated that the wideout has been “involved” and is a “pleasure to be around”. The Browns reporter also states that Jackson expects the talented reciever to be back on the practice field on November 20. Still just 26 years old, Gordon last played for the team in 2014, and has since been suspended from the league for multiple drug violations. The former high supplemental draft pick will be a restricted free agent in 2018, so he needs to make the most of every opportunity to impress the coaching staff if he wants a real chance to continue his playing career.
  • The Chiefs will be without two key pass rushers when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants this Sunday. Both Dee Ford and Tamba Hali have been ruled out for the contest, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (Twitter link). This is particularly interesting development in the case of Hali because the team took the cautious approach to resting him by putting him on the PUP before the start of the regular season. However, he remains on the sideline despite being placed back on the active roster. Kansas City will lean on Frank Zombo with these pass rush specialists unavailable. Getting to the quarterback has been an issue for the team, as the Chiefs currently rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of sacks, racking up just a combined 19.0 through ten weeks.
  • The Ravens have already lost their best offensive lineman for the year in Marshal Yanda and have another troubling injury situation unfolding regarding left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Even after a bye, the second-year lineman is doubtful to play with a concussion, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Obviously, all concussions should be taken seriously, but his absence should be a concern considering that Baltimore has really had to shakeup their protection for Joe Flacco with the injuries to Yanda and second-year guard Alex Lewis. James Hurst would likely get the start in place of Stanley, which is a significant downgrade for a team that is looking to gain momentum in securing the final AFC wild card spot over the last seven weeks of the regular season.
  • The Patriots will be without two starting offensive lineman of their own when they travel to Mexico City to take on the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Both center David Andrews (illness) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) have been ruled out, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Backup lineman Ted Karras got some snaps at center during last week’s blowout of the Broncos and the team has reserve tackles in Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle who could fill in at right tackle. Bill Belichick and co. will also be without Chris Hogan and special teams ace Matt Slater, so the team has to overcome more than just new surroundings to get out of Mexico with their eighth win of the year.

 

East Notes: Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Eagles

Chris Hogan won’t require surgery for the shoulder injury he suffered on Sunday, but his need for rest and recovery means the Patriots wideout could miss a few weeks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New England heads into a bye in Week 9, so Hogan will be re-evaluated before the Pats face the Broncos in Week 10. In his second season in New England, Hogan ranks second among Patriots receives in catches (33) and yards (438), and is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns with five.

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

  • Bills general manager Brandon Beane expects veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin to stay retired now that he wasn’t traded at the deadline, tweets Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Beane & Co. allowed Boldin — who expressed interest in returning from a brief retirement — to seek a trade, but he presumably wasn’t able to find a suitable landing spot. Buffalo had already expressed that it wouldn’t consider releasing Boldin, who inked a one-year deal with the club earlier this season. The 37-year-old Boldin could still return to the Bills, although Beane’s comments suggest that isn’t a likely outcome.
  • Offensive lineman Ted Larsen has been designated to return by the Dolphins, reports veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). This was the expected outcome for Larsen (who is dealing with a torn biceps), as reports as early as September indicated Larsen was a candidate to play again in 2017. Miami placed starting guard Anthony Steen on injured reserve earlier today, so Larsen — who is eligible to return as soon as this weekend — could be immediately inserted into the Dolphins’ lineup.
  • Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is done for the season after suffering a torn ACL, but the veteran blindside protector is financially protected for the 2018 campaign, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (Twitter link). Under the terms of the one-year extension Peters inked in June, he has a $4.5MM injury guarantee that becomes fully guaranteed in March. Because Peters likely won’t be able to pass a physical before the 2018 league year begins, he’ll be able to collect his salary, whether he’s on the Philadelphia roster or not.

AFC East Notes: Bills, Taylor, Wendell, Branch

The Bills came into the 2016 offseason as one of the NFL’s most cap-strapped teams, and while the team was able to retain its top two free agents – offensive linemen Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito – that lack of cap flexibility resulted in some key losses.

In speaking to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press about defensive lineman Stefan Charles and to Tom Curran of CSNNE.com about wide receiver Chris Hogan, Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley repeated a similar refrain, suggesting that the Bills “can’t pay everybody.” The team non-tendered Charles, who was eligible for restricted free agency, allowing him to sign with the Lions as an unrestricted free agent. As for Hogan, he got an RFA tender from Buffalo, but it was a low-end tender, allowing the Patriots to sign him to an offer sheet that Whaley and the Bills couldn’t match.

“It was (difficult to let him go),” the Bills GM said of Hogan. “He’s done a great job, not only on the field as a third and fourth wide receiver (and) special teams, (but also) what he’s brought to the community. He’s a great asset to the Patriots. We’re sorry we’re gonna lose him. And add the fact that we’re gonna have to deal with him with the other end of that being (Tom) Brady, it’s a tough matchup because he’s a talented person.”

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • It appears increasingly likely that Tyrod Taylor will enter the 2016 season without a contract extension in hand, says Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. According to one of Carucci’s sources, there has been little – if any – progress in contract talks between the Bills and their starting quarterback. The team is more focused on locking up cornerback Stephon Gilmore before the start of the 2016 campaign.
  • Veteran offensive lineman Ryan Wendell remains in a holding pattern when it comes to his free agency, agent Frank Bauer tells Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Wendell’s 2015 season ended after just two games due to a knee injury, and even if and when he returns to full health, it’s not clear whether there will be a spot on the Patriots‘ 2016 roster for him.
  • Defensive end Andre Branch is looking forward to a “new beginning” in Miami that will see him become part of a Dolphins‘ defensive line featuring players like Ndamukong Suh, Mario Williams, and Cameron Wake. As James Walker of ESPN.com details, Branch is expected to fill the hole vacated by Derrick Shelby, who signed with the Falcons.

Contract Details: Weddle, Sensabaugh, Hayward

Listed below are several of the latest contract details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless other indicated.

AFC:

  • Eric Weddle, S (Ravens): Four years, $26MM. $13MM guaranteed ($9MM fully guaranteed). $7MM signing bonus. $1MM roster bonus due on April 4. $4MM base salary guaranteed for injury at signing; becomes fully guaranteed if on the roster on the fifth day of the 2017 league year. $1MM annual Pro Bowl incentives from 2017 to 2019 (Twitter links).
  • Casey Hayward, CB (Chargers): Three years, $15.3MM. $6.8MM guaranteed. $2.5MM signing bonus. $3.3MM roster bonus due on March 18. $1MM roster bonuses due on third day of 2017, 2018 league years (Twitter links).
  • Chris Hogan, WR (Patriots): Three years, $12MM. $7.5MM guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus paid on March 14. $500K in annual per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau, OL (Jaguars): Two years, $3MM. $250K signing bonus. $250K option bonus to be exercised 22 days before first day of 2017 league year (Twitter links).

NFC:

  • Coty Sensabaugh, CB (Rams): Three years, up to $19MM. $6.5MM guaranteed. $3.5MM roster bonus due on March 18. $1MM roster bonus due third day of 2017 league year (becomes fully guaranteed this Friday). $1.5MM annually incentives for playing time, fumble recoveries, interceptions, and playoffs (all Twitter links).
  • J’Marcus Webb, G/T (Seahawks): Two years, $6MM. $2.45MM guaranteed. $1.2MM signing bonus. $500K in annual per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Zach Miller, TE (Bears): Two years, $5.5MM. $3MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $500K roster bonus due on March 18. $500K in annual per-game roster bonuses. Up to $1MM in annual incentives for playing time, catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns (Twitter links).
  • Chris Conte, S (Buccaneers): One year, $3MM. $2.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM roster bonus due on March 17. Up to $1MM in incentives for playing time, stats, and playoffs (Twitter link).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): One year, $2MM. $500K roster bonus due on March 18 (Twitter link).
  • Sealver Siliga, DT (Seahawks): One year, $1.05MM. $200K signing bonus. $50K Week 1 active roster bonus. Up to $350K in incentives (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Bradley Sowell, T (Seahawks): One year, $1MM. $200K signing bonus. Up to $500K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link).
  • Dan Orlovsky, QB (Lions): One year, minimum salary benefit. $160K guaranteed. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Red Bryant, DL (Cardinals): One year, minimum salary benefit. $55K Week 1 roster bonus. $25K workout bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

Patriots Sign Chris Hogan; Bills Decline To Match Offer Sheet

Wide receiver Chris Hogan will be a Patriot, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the Bills have declined their right of first refusal. That means Hogan will head to New England under the terms of the three-year, $12MM offer sheet he signed with the club.Chris Hogan

The Bills had five days to decide whether or not to match the Patriots’ offer to Hogan, but the team didn’t even take one full day before making its decision.

Having tendered Hogan with a low-end tender worth $1.671MM, the cap-strapped Bills weren’t expected to be able to go much higher for him, and won’t receive any compensation for losing him. The offer sheet the wideout signed with the Patriots reportedly carries a $5.5MM first-year cap hit, which made it even more difficult for Buffalo to match.

In 2015, Hogan hauled in 36 catches for 450 yards and two touchdowns. The New Jersey native had a similar season in 2014 for the Bills when he caught 41 passes for 426 yards and four scores.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has done serious research on Hogan, so much so that he knows the 27-year-old could serve as a backup (left-footed!) punter should the need ever arise. While Hogan likely won’t be pressed into action as a punter, he’s capable of contributing on special teams as well as on offense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chris Hogan Signs Patriots’ Offer Sheet

11:26am: Hogan has signed the offer sheet from the Patriots, according to John Wawrow of The Associated Press. Assuming that move becomes official today, the Bills will have five days to match.

FRIDAY, 8:12am: Barring a late snag, Hogan will sign a three-year, $12MM “heavily-guaranteed” deal to join the Patriots, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Bills now have five days to match the offer.

THURSDAY, 7:48pm: New England’s offer sheet to Hogan is expected to arrive Friday morning and be one the Bills will have a difficult time matching, according to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News (on Twitter).

5:20pm: The Patriots are believed to be preparing an offer sheet for Bills wide receiver Chris Hogan, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Hogan is a restricted free agent who has drawn significant interest from New England this week. Chris Hogan (vertical)

The Pats could sign the wide receiver/special-teamer to an offer sheet that the Bills would have five days to match.

Pats head coach Bill Belichick has done serious research on Hogan, so much so that he knows that Hogan could serve as a backup punter should the need ever arise. That versatility is a plus for Belichick though, of course, it’s not one of his main draws.

In 2015, Hogan hauled in 36 catches for 450 yards and two touchdowns. The New Jersey native had a similar season in 2014 for Buffalo when he caught 41 passes for 426 yards and four scores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Free Agent Rumors: Hogan, Pats, Steelers

The latest free agent rumors out of the AFC:

  • Bills restricted free agent Chris Hogan is visiting the Patriots today, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Pats could sign the wide receiver/special-teamer to an offer sheet that the Bills would have five days to match. Pats head coach Bill Belichick has done serious research on Hogan and he likes the fact that he could serve as a backup punter, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News tweets.
  • Steelers H-back Will Johnson has talked with the Jets, Bears, Chargers, and Titans since the opening of free agency, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. Johnson is a versatile blocker and special teamer, but Fowler adds that he could be looking for more carries, too.
  • The Chiefs weren’t close to matching the Raiders‘ offer for cornerback Sean Smith, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter).
  • The Bengals are trying to close on re-signing linebacker Vincent Rey today, as Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com tweets.

RFA Tender Signings & Decisions: 3/7/16

When teams assign first- or second-round tenders to their restricted free agents, or when those RFAs accept the tender, we’ll devote full news stories to those moves. For news concerning everyone else getting the lower tenders, we’ll round it up in the space below, with the latest updates added to the top of the list throughout the day….

  • Fullback James Develin announced that he is returning to the Patriots on a one-year deal, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. The Patriots did not plan to tender Develin an offer at $1.6MM, so the two sides worked out a reduced one-year pact (link).
  • Defensive tackle Stefan Charles will not be tendered an offer by the Bills, per John Kryk of The Toronto Sun (on Twitter). Defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, wide receiver Chris Hogan, and tackle Jordan Mills were tendered offers, however. There could be some teams interested in Hogan, Tyler Dunne of The Buffalo News tweets, and that low tender might not ward of interested clubs.
  • Washington has tendered a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Duke Ihenacho, a source tells John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Fullback Jorvorskie Lane will not be getting a tender from the Buccaneers, Greg Auman of The Tampa Bay Times tweets.
  • The Panthers will not tender defensive end Frank Alexander an offer or re-sign him, a source tells Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer (on Twitter). Alexander must sit out until November thanks to his third drug suspension.

Patriots Notes: Jones, Hightower, Ebner, Hogan

The Patriots have filled the vacancy created when Bob Quinn left for the Lions, as Dave Ziegler has been promoted to director of pro personnel, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Ziegler, 38, had spent the past three year’s as Quinn’s No. 2, and previously worked for the Broncos under current New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Here’s a bit more on the Patriots…

  • New England has an impressive crop of players entering the final year of their contracts, as Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Malcolm Butler — among others — will be free agents after the 2016 season. But the club hadn’t initiated extension talks with any of those players as of Friday, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. The Patriots might begin contract conversations after free agency concludes, per Volin, but Hightower, for his part, appears likely to play out the season on his fifth-year option without coming to a long-term agreement.
  • Receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell are both potential cap casualties, but the Patriots haven’t “tipped their hand” about their plans for the pass-catchers, writes Volin. Additionally, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon, also though to be on the roster bubble, aren’t sure of their status.
  • The Patriots want to retain free agent defensive back Nate Ebner — a special-teams ace — but the team is playing “hardball” at the moment, and hopes that it can re-sign Ebner for the veteran’s minimum.
  • Defensive tackle Alan Branch‘s $400K option bonus is due on the third day of the new league year, according to Reiss. If he’s retained, the 31-year-old Branch is due to count $2.75MM against New England’s cap.
  • The Patriots have a history of targeting restricted free agents — both those who are tendered by their clubs and those who aren’t — and one such player who might interest New England this offseason is Bills receiver Chris Hogan, per Reiss, who notes that Buffalo may not tender Hogan due to its salary cap restraints.