Chris Ivory

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Tannehill, Parker, Bills, Ivory, Jets, Maccagnan, Bowles

The Dolphins will have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason, including what to do with Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is set to have a cap hit of over $26MM in 2019, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and hasn’t been great on the field even when he is. Deciding Tannehill’s fate “clearly tops” the list of Miami’s priorities for the offseason, according to Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald, who writes “Tannehill would need to be exceptional when he returns from his shoulder injury” for the Dolphins to bring him back at that salary next year.

Tannehill missed the end of the 2016 season with a torn ACL, then missed all of the 2017 season when he re-tore the ACL. This year, Tannehill started the first five games, then went down with a mysterious shoulder injury. He’s been sidelined for four games, and it’s not clear when he’s coming back. It’s still very early, but at this point it would be a surprise if Tannehill is brought back at his current cap number. For what it’s worth, Beasley writes that the Dolphins like Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Speaking of decisions the Dolphins have to make, they’ll also have to decide the fate of receiver DeVante Parker and right tackle Ja’Wuan James this offseason, according to Beasley. Parker is owed $9.4MM next year, and Beasley writes that keeping him “seems unlikely now, but if he strings together several games like the one last Thursday in Houston (six catches, 134 yards), it becomes a strong consideration.” James will be a free agent after this season, and Beasley writes that “unless he’s great the final eight games, the Dolphins again figure to explore outside options” this March.
  • The Bills’ offense has already been an injured mess this year, and they got even more bad news today. Running back Chris Ivory “was taken to Erie County Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, for evaluations on his left shoulder”, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s unclear the exact nature of the injury, but it seems clear Ivory will miss some time, and he’s been playing a fairly big role in the offense lately.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan “was noticeably less effusive” when talking about Todd Bowles in his ‘state of the team’ press availability than he was in last year’s availability, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini thinks that Maccagnan “is safe, no matter what” and is trying to separate himself from Bowles and from the narrative that the two are joined at the hip, in case Bowles needs to be fired. Bowles is on a very hot seat, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a change is made soon with the Jets suffering another loss today.

LeSean McCoy Still In Concussion Protocol

LeSean McCoy‘s status for Monday night’s game against the Patriots is still up in the air. ESPN’s Mike Rodak tweets that the Bills running back is still in the concussion protocol. Head coach Sean McDermott said the team is taking it “one day at a time” with McCoy as they prepare for the team’s first Monday night game in almost a decade.

McCoy left the opening drive of Buffalo’s Week 7 loss to the Colts, but he was already back at Thursday’s practice on a limited basis. The veteran would have to be cleared by the medical staff if he wants to suit up against New England, but his participation in practice is encouraging. At the very least, there seems to be more optimism surrounding McCoy’s status than there was at the beginning of the week.

The 30-year-old is currently averaging a career-low 3.9 yards-per-attempt, and he’s yet to score a touchdown this season. However, McCoy had compiled at least 1,000 rushing yards in both 2016 and 2017, and his Pro Bowl pedigree has to led him being involved in a number of trade rumors. While teams like the Eagles are still monitoring the situation, we recently heard that the Bill were unlikely to trade the running back.

While McCoy’s status is up in the air, it sounds like Chris Ivory is ready to go on Monday night. Rodak tweets that the veteran running back is on track to play despite his injured hamstring. The 30-year-old compiled 81 rushing yards on 16 carries in place of McCoy last weekend, and he added another three receptions for 25 yards. Marcus Murphy would also see reps if McCoy doesn’t suit up.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign RB Chris Ivory

Chris Ivory is off of the board. The Bills are signing the veteran running back, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a two-year deal worth $5.5MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal gives him $3.25MM guaranteed in the first year and it can be worth as much as $6MM.

Ivory was released by the Jaguars late last month, freeing him from the final three years of a five-year, $32.5MM deal. At the time, the Jaguars thought they were getting a high-end running back as Ivory was coming off of a 1,000+ yard, seven-touchdown season with the Jets. Unfortunately, he did not produce in Jacksonville. Last season, Ivory averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.

Even though we haven’t seen Ivory play consistently well since 2015, multiple teams expressed interest in recent days. The Browns also met with Ivory before he agreed to a deal with Buffalo.

Ivory will slot somewhere behind LeSean McCoy on the Bills’ depth chart. Other tailbacks currently under contract in Buffalo include Marcus Murphy and Aaron Green. Bills veteran running backs Travaris Cadet and Taiwan Jones are eligible for free agency next week, as is fullback Mike Tolbert.

Most of the league’s impact free agents will not be able to sign with teams until March 14. Because Ivory was released from his contract, he had the ability to sign with a club at any time. The Bills snagged another “early” free agent recently when they inked cornerback Vontae Davis to a one-year deal.

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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Chris Ivory Visits Browns

This is shaping up to be a busy week for running back Chris Ivory. The free agent is visiting with the Browns on Tuesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Chris Ivory (vertical)

News of Ivory’s trip to Cleveland comes on the heels of word that he met with the Bills on Monday. He plans to take a “few visits,” so it sounds like he’ll explore his options fully before signing anywhere.

The Browns don’t have many noteworthy free agents this year, but running back Isaiah Crowell is among them. After two down years in Jacksonville, Ivory wouldn’t exactly be a great one-for-one replacement for Crowell, but the cash-flush Browns may see the veteran as a solid reserve.

From the sound of it, teams are eager to speak with Ivory even though he is not among this year’s top tailbacks. Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, Crowell, and Jerick McKinnon figure to draw some of the highest offers in this year’s free agent RB crop. Other running backs near the top include Rex Burkhead, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Jeremy Hill, LeGarrette Blount, and Orleans Darkwa.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Meet With RB Chris Ivory

Free agent running back Chris Ivory spent all of Monday meeting with the Bills, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This marks Ivory’s first free agent visit since being released by the Jaguars last week, but it won’t necessarily be his last. Rapoport hears that Ivory is drawing considerable interest and plans to take a few visits. "<strong

[RELATED: Bills Sign Vontae Davis]

Ivory spent two seasons with Jacksonville before being handed his pink slip on Friday. The running back’s five-year, $32.5MM deal with $10MM guaranteed was a bust for the Jaguars, but teams are apparently still interested in him as a complementary veteran piece. If signed, the Bills would slot Ivory behind top rusher LeSean McCoy.

Before his big free agent pay day, Ivory ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015 while averaging 4.3 yards per carry for the Jets. In two years with Jacksonville, Ivory amassed just 821 yards with 3.6 yards per tote.

Ivory will celebrate his 30th birthday on March 22. By then, he figures to be with the fourth team of his NFL career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Cut RB Chris Ivory

On Friday, the Jaguars announced the release of Chris Ivory. The running back spent the last two years with the Jaguars. "<strong

In March of 2016, the Jags signed Ivory to a five-year deal worth $32.5MM with $10MM guaranteed. It seemed like a reasonable signing at the time since the Jaguars were armed with tons of camp space and Ivory was coming off of a 1,000+ yard, seven-touchdown season with the Jets.

Unfortunately, things did not pan out. Ivory missed considerable time in his first season with Jacksonville and averaged just 3.4 yards per carry in his most recent campaign. His performance made for an easy call this offseason. The Jaguars are eating $3.25MM in dead money, but they’re also saving $3.69MM by dropping him.

Ivory will turn 30 in March and no longer profiles as an RB1 type. However, he could draw interest from teams looking for depth at the position.

In related moves, the Jags also waived rookie defensive back Jarrod Harper, rookie running back I’Tavius Mathers and second-year wide receiver Larry Pinkard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jets, Chargers, Ivory, Maclin

A video emerged on Twitter this weekend allegedly showing Jets linebacker Darron Lee in an apparent altercation with a woman at the Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island. The video shows a man shouting at a woman, and the Twitter user claimed the individual proceeded to “manhandle her’’ and “call her names.’’

Jets defensive end Leonard Williams can also be seen in the video physically restraining his teammate, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Williams’ Instagram account showed that quarterback Bryce Petty was also at the festival.

We are aware of the reports,” a Jets spokesman said (via Schwartz). “We are taking them seriously, and we are looking into the specifics of the situation. We will have no further comment at this time.”

Lee, a 2016 first-round pick, appeared in 13 games (nine starts) with the Jets last season, compiling 73 tackles and one sack.

Let’s take a look at other notes from around the AFC…

  • Danny Woodhead signed with the Ravens this offseason, so ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams took a look at current Chargers who could replace the departed running back’s production. The writer points to Branden Oliver and Kenjon Barner as players who could serve as the pass-catching back behind starter Melvin Gordon.
  • We learned yesterday that running back LeSean McCoy was recruiting former teammate Jeremy Maclin to join the Bills. Now it looks like quarterback Tyrod Taylor is also looking to touch base with the free agent receiver. “Today was the first day I seen Shady,” Taylor told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News. “We texted about it, but [I] want to get Maclin’s number and try to reach out to him. Just to see what his thoughts, what is he thinking moving forward and try to get him here.”
  • After a season that saw him compile only 439 rushing yards, Jaguars running back Chris Ivory wants to prove that he’s still capable of starting in the NFL. Unfortunately, despite his experience, the veteran has fourth-overall pick Leonard Fournette breathing down his neck. While the odds seem to be against the 29-year-old, he’s still confident that his 2016 woes are a thing of the past. “One thing about it, people and everybody are going to have their opinions,’’ Ivory told John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. “Mainly, the people that know nothing about football. They don’t know the things we go through to get to this point. What we actually face before we come out for those games…Most of the stuff the people on the outside see are the mistakes and the bad things you do. It’s not always going to go the way you want. I think a lot of people that like to see guys get a 1,000 yards each year, but it just don’t work that way.’’

Jaguars RB Chris Ivory Remains Sidelined

From a medical standpoint, it appears that Chris Ivory is in the clear. However, the running back is not quite ready to return to the field for the Jaguars. The team says that Ivory will not play this Sunday against the Chargers, as Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com tweets. Same goes for fellow free agent acquisition Prince Amukamara who suffered a hamstring injury last week. Chris Ivory (vertical)

[RELATED: Jaguars Unlikely To Add RB]

Ivory missed out on the Jaguars’ first game of the season after being checked into the hospital for an undisclosed issue. After spending the early part of the week at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, Ivory was released and he returned to the team facility on Thursday. Still, the tailback is going to need some additional time before he can be activated. It is not immediately clear when Ivory will get the greenlight to play.

T.J. Yeldon was pretty impressive for Jacksonville last season, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and scoring twice in 12 starts. Still, Ivory is the more proven option and operates with the kind of power you only see from a handful of tailbacks. The Jaguars’ offense won’t be operating at full strength without him, but they’re hoping they have enough to top San Diego on Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chris Ivory Returns To Jaguars

Chris Ivory is out of the hospital and back with his team. Today, the running back issued a statement thanking fans for their support and indicated that his undisclosed medical issue is behind him. Chris Ivory (vertical)

I returned to the stadium this morning to rejoin my coaches and teammates as we continue to prepare for the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. This past weekend was a challenging time for my family and me because of an emergency medical condition that developed while I was with my team at the hotel. I am now grateful to be back in the facility and able to refocus on the game that I love.

I want to extend a special thanks to the Jaguars medical staff, the first responders and everyone at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville for their assistance over the past couple of days.

I appreciate everyone’s sensitivity during this personal matter, and I’m ready to be back out on the field and look forward to doing so in the near future. Thank you for all for your support. I want you to know that I read each and every message and I’m thankful for them all.

Ivory, 28, was forced to miss the Jaguars’ season-opener against the Packers last weekend. Without their prized free agent acquisition in the lineup, the Jags’ running game was stagnant. The team will hope to have Ivory back in the lineup for Sunday’s contest against the Chargers, but it’s not immediately clear if Ivory will be ready in time. Ivory’s statement says that he will “prepare for” the Chargers on Sunday, but it’s not a given that he’ll be activated.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.