Chris Long

Eagles Rework Chris Long’s, Nigel Bradham’s Contract

The Eagles have created a chunk of cap space. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the team has adjusted the contracts of defensive end Chris Long and linebacker Nigel Bradham. The move will open up about $5.032 in cap space.

Long had signed a new deal with the Eagles last offseason, but there were still whispers that the defensive end could end up calling it a career. The 33-year-old still hasn’t necessarily committed to playing, as the veteran tweeted that he’s still weighing his options.

“I love Philly so much,” Long wrote. “The fans, all of it. I’m making a football decision, though. Money moved doesn’t mean it’s been made.”

The veteran had another productive season as an Eagles reserve in 2018, compiling 23 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games.

Bradham re-signed with the Eagles last offseason, inking a new five-year, $40MM deal with the organization. However, his one-game suspension last season voided all guarantees, which were estimated to be around $14MM. The 29-year-old has emerged as one of the Eagles’ top defenders in recent years. He had another productive season in 2018, compiling 97 tackles, two sacks, and four pass defended.

The Eagles have been relatively busy so far this offseason. The team is set to sign Malik Jackson, they traded for DeSean Jackson, and they re-signed Jason Peters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Packers, Smith, Seahawks, Janikowski, Chris Long, Eagles

The Packers have made their latest addition to Matt LaFleur’s staff, hiring Mike Smith to coach their outside linebackers, the team announced in a tweet. No, it’s not former Falcons head coach and Buccaneers defensive coordinator, but a different Mike Smith. Smith was drafted by the Ravens back in 2005, and spent three-plus seasons in the league with Baltimore. He started as a coaching intern with the Jets in 2010, and has steadily moved his way up the ranks.

He was on Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City for the past three seasons, where he served as assistant defensive line coach and then outside linebackers coach. When the Chiefs fired longtime defensive coordinator Bob Sutton earlier this week and hired Steve Spagnuolo, it meant Smith was unlikely to be retained. Smith coached under current Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in New York, so the reunion makes sense.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Sebastian Janikowski‘s season ended on a low note, as he was injured and unable to kick in the second half of the Seahawks’ Wild Card round playoff loss. That might’ve been his last game as a Seahawk, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times expects Seattle to move on from the impending free agent this offseason. Janikowski is soon to be 41, and his play has clearly declined from his peak, but teams could be interested assuming the Seahawks let him walk. As Condotta notes, the team recently signed former Rams kicker Sam Ficken to a reserve/futures contract, and they could add more competition through the draft or free agency.
  • Eagles defensive end Chris Long has flirted with retirement in the past, but he wants to keep playing, according to Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I’d like to play football in 2019. I thought I had a strong year and felt good physically. Listen, I know I’m an older guy. But, you know, I don’t think I’ve missed a practice over the last two years. I feel like I’ve been durable and ready when called upon”, Long told a Philly radio station. He did leave the door open for a possible retirement still, saying he still “could go either way”, depending on “what the Eagles do and who they bring in or don’t bring in and how deep that room gets.” Long had 6.5 sacks this season, his highest total since 2013.
  • In case you missed it, things are progressing toward an extension for Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

Eagles DE Chris Long To Play In 2018

Despite rumors that he’d been considering retirement, Eagles defensive end Chris Long plans to continue his career in 2018, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link).

Long reportedly signed a new deal with Philadelphia last week, leading to speculation that he would indeed return for the upcoming campaign. Long is now guaranteed $3MM in 2018, and his base salary will increase from a non-guaranteed $1MM to $2.5MM guaranteed. Additionally, the Eagles eliminated Long’s $750K in per-game roster bonuses and $750K in incentives.

Philadelphia has revamped its defensive line this offseason, as the club added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata while losing Vinny Curry and Beau Allen. Bennett, though, is scheduled to turn himself into authorities on Monday after being indicted on a felony charge, so Long’s presence will be all the more important if Bennett is handed a league-imposed suspension.

Long, 32, appeared in all 16 games and saw roughly 50% playtime for the Super Bowl champion Eagles last season. In that time, Long managed 20 tackles and five sacks while grading as the NFL’s No. 30 edge defender among 106 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chris Long Signs New Deal With Eagles

Chris Long has yet to address the retirement rumors surrounding him, but the latest word indicates that he’s planning to play in 2018. Long signed the new contract that was offered to him last week, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter). 

As previously reported, the new deal guarantees Long $3MM in 2018 and includes a jump in base salary from a non-guaranteed $1MM to $2.5MM guaranteed. In theory, Long can still retire after signing the new deal, but his signature on the dotted line suggests that he intends to play.

The Eagles’ recent acquisition of Michael Bennett means that Long would be ticketed for a reserve role, but he also hasn’t been a full time starter in the last three seasons. And, with his 33rd birthday coming up on Monday, a limited snap count probably suits him well. If he continues to play, Long will be behind starters Brandon Graham and Bennett while last year’s first round pick Derek Barnett also participates in the rotation.

Long was on the field for 588 regular season snaps last year, down from 677 in the previous season with the Patriots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles’ Chris Long Considering Retirement

The Eagles have offered to restructure defensive end Chris Long‘s contract, but it’s not a certainty that he’ll play this season. Long is mulling retirement, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com

The new deal would guarantee Long $3MM in 2018, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). That includes a jump in base salary from a non-guaranteed $1MM to $2.5MM guaranteed with the team eliminating his $750K in per-game roster bonuses and $750K in incentives.

The Eagles’ defensive line has been revamped this offseason thanks to the additions of Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. last year’s first round pick Derek Barnett will return as a backup defensive end, but Long still has an important role carved out for him as a situational pass rusher. Without Long, the Eagles’ D-Line would be weakened, even though it would still project to be among the best in the NFL.

Long was on the field for 588 regular season snaps last year and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 30 ranked edge defender, higher than both Bennett and Barnett.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Lions, Long, Bush

Some assorted notes from around the NFL this morning…

  • There were rumors that veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata could consider retirement, but the 33-year-old decided to return to the Lions for the 2017-18 campaign. Coach Jim Caldwell is certainly happy that the defensive lineman will be sticking around. “Obviously, when you get to (have) played as many years as he has, you never know,” Caldwell said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). “And I think once a guy gets about eight, nine years (in), that’s certainly always a possibility. But certainly we’re glad that he’s coming back.”
  • Lions offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson may have lost his starting gig last season, but general manager Bob Quinn made it sound like the first-round pick will be returning. “Laken’s still here,” Quinn told Birkett. “Laken’s going to compete at the left guard spot, and we’ll head into training camp and OTAs with really good depth and really good competition across the board.”
  • Chris Long‘s contract with the Eagles includes options from the 2018 to 2021 season, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). The total deal could max out at $11.25MM, and he’ll essentially earn $2.25MM each season from 2019 through 2021.
  • Safety Rafael Bush‘s one-year deal with the Saints is worth $885K, reports Wilson (via Twitter). $775K of that will come via the player’s salary (with $100K guaranteed), with another $80K coming via a signing bonus.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Saints

The latest from the NFC:

  • Tony Romo won’t like this, but the injuries he and Cowboys backup quarterback Kellen Moore suffered last summer might have been “a little blessing in disguise,” Moore told 93.1-FM Idaho Sports Talk (via the Dallas Morning News). Both the broken bone in Romo’s back and Moore’s broken leg paved the way for the Dak Prescott era, and instead of acting as a caretaker as a rookie, he performed like a star for a 13-3 club. The Cowboys are now Prescott’s team as a result, leaving Romo’s future with the franchise in doubt. It’s unlikely he’ll be a Cowboy again next season, which could open the door for the recently re-signed Moore to serve as Prescott’s primary backup.
  • The Eagles released pass rusher Connor Barwin earlier this month, and believe it or not, he then helped the team find his replacement. Before signing with Philadelphia on Tuesday, defensive end Chris Long talked with Barwin, who gave glowing reviews of the city and the franchise, writes Zach Berman of Philly.com. Now that he’s an Eagle, Long expects to thrive in their system. Even though Long’s numbers dropped over the previous three seasons, during which he combined for eight sacks in 34 games with the Rams and Patriots, the 32-year-old believes he still has “a lot left.”
  • Safety Rafael Bush’s one-year deal with the Saints is worth $855,000, including $100K in guarantees and an $80K signing bonus, tweets Nick Underhill of The Advocate.
  • Recapping Friday’s NFC news: The Vikings added a familiar backup quarterback; the Lions lost a coach to Pro Football Focus; and the Bears bailed on a recent second-round pick.

East Notes: Jets, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles

The Jets did not make a real effort to re-sign Geno Smith, as NJ.com’s Connor Hughes writes. When asked whether he had any contact with the quarterback during free agency, coach Todd Bowles replied, “No. I would have been happy to have him back. But things don’t work out like that all the time.” Smith will now look for a fresh start with the other tenant of the Meadowlands.

More from the East Coast:

  • With Smith on hand, the Big Blue QB depth chart could get crowded as the team is open to taking a signal-caller early in the draft. The Giants had scouts at the pro days for Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Miami’s Brad Kaaya, tweets James Kratch of NJ.com. Kaaya had an encouraging showing at his pro day, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). He would seemingly be a more realistic target for the Giants than Watson, who could be off the board when the Giants’ first-round pick (No. 23) comes up. Kaaya might have to wait until Day 3 to come off the board.
  • The Cowboys had two big-time defensive end prospects, Michigan’s Taco Charlton and UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, in for visits, according to the Dallas Morning News. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com ranks both players among his top 25, though McKinley could be on the shelf until late in the summer after undergoing shoulder surgery. Dallas is also looking at Washington cornerback Kevin King, whom it worked out, relays Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). King has the makings of a Day 1 pick, so he could be a possibility for the Cowboys at No. 28.
  • Eagles defensive back Ron Brooks took a pay cut Friday, reports Field Yates of ESPN (via Twitter). He’s now slated to make $1MM in 2017, down from the $1.85MM he had been scheduled to collect. The Eagles also changed 2018 into an option season for Brooks, whom they signed to a three-year, $6MM deal last March. Brooks missed most of last season with a ruptured quad, appearing in six games and picking up five starts.
  • Defensive end Chris Long‘s two-year contract with the Eagles is worth $4.5MM plus incentives, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles Sign Chris Long

The Eagles announced that they’ve signed free agent defensive end Chris Long to a two-year deal. The first year of the deal is similar to the $2.4MM pact Long inked with the Patriots last year, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Chris Long (vertical)

Long’s deal with Philadelphia serves as a nice birthday present, as the nine-year pro turns 32 years old today. After spending one season with New England (and winning a Super Bowl in the process), Long announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t re-sign with the Patriots, citing the need for increased playing time and a more prominent defensive role. Long ranked as PFR’s No. 3 free agent edge defender behind Dwight Freeney and Elvis Dumervil.

With the Eagles, Long will likely fill the role Connor Barwin played in 2016, although unlike Barwin, Long probably won’t be a starter, per Geoff Mosher of 97.5 The Fanatic (Twitter links). Instead, Long is set to serve in a rotational capacity, taking pass-rushing snaps behind Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry. While Barwin was never a perfect fit for Jim Schwartz‘s scheme, Long has played in 4-3 fronts for the entirety of his career.

With the Patriots in 2016, Long appeared in all 16 games (seven starts) and played on roughly 65% of the club’s snaps. In that period, Long posted 35 tackles and four sacks, grading as the league’s No. 59 edge defender among 109 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Mike Garafolo of NFL.com first reported the signing (Twitter link). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

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 defensive 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 defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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