Chris Myers

Extra Points: Myers, Barnes, Devlin, Thigpen

Former Texans center Chris Myers told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that he had offers to sign with multiple teams in the “past few weeks” but he had already come to grips about wanting to retire. Myers announced on Wednesday that he is stepping away from football. Myers, who turns 34 next month, was a sixth-round draft pick in 2005, going 200th overall to the Broncos. The former Miami Hurricanes lineman became Denver’s full-time center in 2007, then joined the Texans in 2008, starting every game for the team over the course of the next seven seasons.

  • Former Jets, Chargers, and Ravens pass rusher Antwan Barnes is drawing interest from a few NFL teams, sources tell Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • Former Dolphins quarterback Pat Devlin will be working out for the Browns on Thursday, a source tells Adam Caplan of (on Twitter). Devlin was with the Bears until he was released in June.
  • Tyler Thigpen is another option for the Browns as an extra quarterback, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer tweets. Thigpen was in camp with Cleveland last summer and GM Ray Farmer is a fan of his.

Chris Myers Announces Retirement

Former Texans center Chris Myers announced today that he has decided to retire from the NFL, according to John P. Lopez (Twitter link), who passes along comments Myers made on Sports Radio 610 in Houston. Myers himself has since confirmed the decision on his Twitter account, thanking the Texans, the Broncos, his family, and the fans.

Myers, who turns 34 next month, was a sixth-round draft pick in 2005, going 200th overall to the Broncos. The former Miami Hurricanes lineman became Denver’s full-time center in 2007, then joined the Texans in 2008, starting every game for the team over the course of the next seven seasons.

For his career, Myers appeared in 153 games, starting 128 of them. The veteran center also earned Pro Bowl nods in 2011 and 2012, excelling in Gary Kubiak‘s zone-blocking scheme for most of his time in Houston. There had been some speculation that Kubiak would attempt to bring Myers with him back to Denver this offseason, but there was never any indication that the Broncos seriously pursued the free agent lineman.

In Houston, former left guard Ben Jones appears poised to take over at center this season for Myers, marking the first time since 2007 that anyone else has started at the position for the Texans.

Community Tailgate: Best FA Besides Evan Mathis?

We’re still a few months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This month, we launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every weekday, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

Of course, while the debate may get spirited, we ask that it all stays respectful. If you need a reminder of our rules, please check out our commenting policy. Basically, we ask that you refrain from inappropriate language, personal insults, and attacks. Speaking of commenting: we’ve made it much easier to leave a comment here at Pro Football Rumors. You are no longer required to be a registered user – simply put in your name, email address, and comment and submit.

Today, we’re asking PFR readers to weigh in on the top remaining free agents. Excluding talented players with legal troubles like linebacker Brandon Spikes and defensive end Ray McDonald, former Eagles guard Evan Mathis is universally regarded as the best player without a deal at this time. Beyond Mathis, however, there’s hardly a clear cut silver medalist.

Over the weekend, PFR’s Dallas Robinson put together his list of the best available remaining free agents. After Mathis, he ranked tackle Jake Long No. 2, citing the former No. 1 overall pick’s talent level while also acknowledging his frustrating injury history. Tight end Jermaine Gresham, who underwent back surgery in March to repair a herniated disc, comes in at No. 3 thanks to his pass-catching ability and history of solid blocking. One-time fantasy darling James Jones is ranked fourth even though he has yet to put up the kind of numbers that he did with the Packers in 2012. Defensive end Dwight Freeney, 35, has remained productive despite his age and lack of sack totals, and was ranked No. 5. Safety Dawan Landry, guard Rob Sims, defensive lineman Red Bryant, center Chris Myers, and offensive lineman Anthony Collins rounded out the top ten. Honorable mention went to notables such as defensive end Osi Umenyiora, running back Pierre Thomas, safety Bernard Pollard, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and quarterback Michael Vick.

Long could definitely pay dividends for a team willing to roll the dice on a low-cost deal and one could hardly be slammed for considering him the most intriguing free agent after Mathis. After all, in 2013, Long graded out as the seventh-best tackle in the league with a strong 22.5 overall score, based on Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). However, he has torn his ACL in each of the past two seasons and in 2014, Pro Football Focus ranked him as just the No. 36 tackle out of 84 qualified players. Do you consider someone like Gresham, who was a focal point of the Bengals’ offense for multiple seasons, to be a better buy? Does that mantle belong to Freeney, who graded out as one of the best at his position in terms of pass-rush productivity? Or, would you cast your vote for someone else?

In the comment section below, let us know who you think is the second-best free agent on the board and why. 

South Notes: Stewart, Panthers, Texans

When the Panthers released their all-time leading rusher DeAngelo Williams, it paved the way for Jonathan Stewart to become the team’s undisputed featured running back for the first time in eight years, as Steve Reed of The Associated Press writes. His teammates believe that he’s up for the task.

We saw last year that as he got more and more reps, the better he got,” tight end Greg Olsen said. “He’s so talented. You forget that he’s just unbelievable. When he gets rolling he’s as good as there is in the league. He’s so big and strong.”

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC South..

  • The Texans have reached out to former center Chris Myers about returning to the team, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). Myers will consider multiple options before deciding, however.
  • Olsen says that playing with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been “great for his career,” as David Newton of writes. Last week, Newton signed a five-year extension that will make him a member of the Panthers through 2020.
  • Texans head coach Bill O’Brien announced that the team’s promotion of George Godsey to offensive coordinator is now official, Tania Ganguli of tweets. Godsey was previously slotted in as the team’s quarterbacks coach.
  • When asked about whether tackle David Quessenberry could play this year, O’Brien said, “This season is a possibility. I would not rule it out,” according to Ganguli (on Twitter). the former sixth-rounder has been battling with lymphoma and, fortunately, appears to have made a great recovery. The Texans lineman announced in February that he was in remission.
  • The Saints have added former Jets director of pro personnel Brendan Prophett to their scouting staff, a source tells Nick Underhill of The Advocate. Prophett has not yet been assigned an area that he will scout.

FA Rumors: Schaub, Barnes, Myers, Jaguars

The Raiders opted to replace Matt Schaub with Christian Ponder as their backup quarterback heading into 2015, releasing Schaub earlier this month. However, it doesn’t appear that the veteran signal-caller will be out of work for long. Per Adam Schefter of (via Twitter), Schaub will likely sign a new deal this week. The Jets, Ravens, and Falcons are among the teams in the running to land him.

Let’s check in on a few other items related to free agents….

  • Free agent offensive lineman Tim Barnes, who played center and guard for the Rams, is visiting the Chiefs today, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). Kansas City already fortified its interior offensive line by acquiring Ben Grubbs from the Saints, but the team is looking for additional pieces, having lost a big one in center Rodney Hudson.
  • Speaking of free agent centers, ex-Texans lineman Chris Myers is visiting the Seahawks today, a source tells Schefter (Twitter link). Seattle sent Max Unger to New Orleans earlier in March, and has been eyeing free agent centers, including Stefen Wisniewski.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union takes a closer look at free agent wideout Greg Jennings to determine whether he’s a fit for the Jaguars.
  • The Ravens aren’t necessarily done adding free agents, but there aren’t many noteworthy players still on the board at the positions they’d want to target. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun examines some of the free agent options for the team at wide receiver, tight end, cornerback, and a couple other spots.

FA Rumors: Sheard, Eagles, Broncos, Bears

If you’re a little confused about all the reported deals over the last couple days between free agents and new teams, you’re not alone — the three-day “legal tampering” period prior to free agency is supposed to allow teams to negotiate with agents of prospective free agents without any offers being made or agreements being reached.

Of course, teams have long ignored those guidelines, but typically they at least maintain the pretense that they’re waiting until Tuesday afternoon, with a flood of contract agreements hitting the news wire when free agency begins at 3:00pm central time on Tuesday. This year, however, noteworthy free agents Ndamukong Suh, Jeremy Maclin, and Byron Maxwell all reportedly have deals with new teams already in place.

According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links), the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams expressing its displeasure with the release of contract terms prior to the official start of free agency. According to Getlin’s source, the league intends to conduct an investigation to examine whether teams agreed to terms with free agents early.

Considering the leaks on new deals seem to affect so many teams around the league, it seems unlikely that the NFL would come down too hard on everyone. If anything, the situation may be the push the league needs to modify its rules for free agency. In the NBA, for instance, teams and players are allowed to reach verbal agreements during the league’s “July moratorium,” which lasts a little over a week, but those signings can’t be made official until after the moratorium lifts. A system like that could make sense for the NFL.

As we wait to see how the NFL plans to address potential free agency violations, here’s more from around the NFL on free agents and free-agents-to-be:

  • The Buccaneers, Bengals, Seahawks, and Patriots are all in the running for edge defender Jabaal Sheard, according to Getlin (via Twitter). Sheard is viewed as a better fit for a 4-3 team, which could give those first three suitors an edge over the Pats.
  • A source tells Geoff Mosher of (Twitter link) that the Eagles are showing “a little bit” of interest in cornerback Tramon Williams. Despite having reached a tentative agreement with Byron Maxwell, Philadelphia remains on the lookout for another corner and perhaps a safety as well.
  • Speaking of those Eagles, Andrew Brandt of (Twitter link) hears that the team was “hovering just below” $10MM annually on its final offer to Jeremy Maclin, which allowed the Chiefs to make a move on the wideout. Maclin will reportedly get about $11MM per year from Kansas City.
  • The Broncos have displayed interest in free agent center Chris Myers, a source tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link). This comes as no surprise, considering Myers excelled in Gary Kubiak‘s zone-blocking scheme for years in Houston.
  • Elsewhere on the center front, former Raider Stefen Wisniewski is on the Bears‘ radar, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. While Chicago has expressed interest in Wisniewksi, it’s not clear how serious that interest is, Biggs notes.
  • The Vikings have an offer out to quarterback Shaun Hill, but it’s unclear whether he’ll accept it, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
  • The Packers maintain interest in bringing back defensive tackle Letroy Guion, despite his recent legal issues, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dunne points out that Guion, in the wake of his off-field troubles, may come cheaper than he otherwise would have.

West Rumors: Cole, S. Johnson, Myers, Dockett

Since being released by the Eagles yesterday, Trent Cole has garnered a decent amount of free agent interest, as he was scheduled to meet with the Buccaneers today. Two more NFC teams could be interested in signing the 32-year-old edge rusher, as Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee reports that both the 49ers and the Seahawks have inquired about Cole. As PFR’s Luke Adams notes in the link above, Cole is viewed as a better fit for a 4-3 defense (which both Tampa Bay and Seattle utilize). San Francisco, though, fields a 3-4 look, so it presumably believes Cole is still an option at outside linebacker.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from San Francisco and the rest of the West divisions…

  • With Jerome Simpson now in the fold, the 49ers might not have a role for fellow receiver Stevie Johnson. Indeed, Dianna Marie Russini of NBC 4 tweets that the 28-year-old Johnson is expected to be released in the coming days. With no remaining guarantees on the books, Johnson would leave no dead money on San Francisco’s cap, and his release would save the club more than $6MM.
  • Whereas Johnson hasn’t yet been released, former Texans center Chris Myers has already been handed his walking papers, officially being cut by Houston yesterday. But Myers could stay in the AFC, where the Raiders are set to lose free agent Stefen Wisniewski, as Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link) that Oakland does have interest in bringing in the 33-year-old Myers. Bill Williamson of adds (via Twitter) that he senses the Raiders will target Chiefs center Rodney Hudson, with Myers serving as backup option.
  • After being released by Arizona, defensive lineman Darnell Dockett signed with the 49ers earlier today, but he insists that staying with the Cardinals was initially possible. “I was willing to restructure my contract,” Dockett said on FOX Sports 910 (Twitter link via Darren Urban of “I was willing to take less money than what SF was offering.” Dockett ultimately inked a two-year, $7.5MM deal with San Francisco.

Texans Release Chris Myers

3:07pm: The Texans have officially announced the release of Myers, tweets Lindsay Jones of USA Today.

1:30pm: The Texans have informed longtime center Chris Myers that they’ll be releasing him from his contract, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter). The latest in a line of long-tenured players to be cut by their respective teams over the last couple weeks, Myers will hit the open market a year early, since his deal had been set to expire after the 2015 season.

Myers, a former sixth-round pick, spent three years with Denver before joining the Texans in 2008. Since then, the 33-year-old has started all 112 games of Houston’s regular season games at center, earning two Pro Bowl berths in 2011 and 2012. Myers’ performance hadn’t slipped too significantly as he neared his mid-30s — Pro Football Focus (subscription required) gave him a positive grade and ranked him 16th out of 41 qualified centers for his performance in 2014. While he had some problems with pass protection, Myers, who played over 1,100 offensive snaps, excelled as a run blocker.

By releasing Myers, the Texans will reduce his cap hit from $8MM to $2MM, and will avoid paying his $6MM base salary for the 2015 season. As a vested veteran, Myers will immediately become a free agent without passing through waivers, once the move becomes official. Although he won’t be the most coveted interior lineman on the open market, he should draw some interest from teams looking to fill a hole at center or perhaps guard.

In his preview of the Texans’ offseason, our Rob DiRe identified Myers as a potential cap casualty, noting that the $6MM saved by cutting him could go a long way toward re-signing other players.