Cody Parkey

Extra Points: Bucs, Koetter, Bears, Parkey, Bengals, Kirkpatrick

After a promising start, the Buccaneers have spiraled downward. The team is now 3-6, they’ve shuffled between Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick multiple times, and the offense is completely in the tank. The defense has been historically bad, and coach Dirk Koetter is firmly on the hot seat.

In a move seemingly made out of desperation, Koetter took back play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Todd Monken for the team’s loss to the Redskins, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Monken had been calling plays all season, and had been widely praised for the Bucs’ initial offensive success. Whatever Koetter was trying to accomplish clearly didn’t work, as the Buccaneers scored just three points today. A move might not be made until the end of the season, but it seems pretty clear Koetter’s time with the organization is coming to an end.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed two field goals and two extra points today against Detroit, but Chicago coach Matt Nagy ruled out replacing him after the game, according to ESPN.com. Parkey has now missed five field goals this season, but Nagy flat-out rejected the notion the team would look for a new kicker. Parkey missed a potential game-winner in overtime against the Dolphins a few weeks back.
  • The Bengals were demolished by the Saints at home today, and their already injury depleted defense got even more bad news. Starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was ruled out for the game with a concussion and is currently in the concussion protocol, according to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Bengals are already down multiple starters on defense, so they can’t afford to be without Kirkpatrick.
  • In case you missed it, the Steelers are expected to place the transition tag on Le’Veon Bell this offseason.

Bears To Sign K Cody Parkey

Former Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey intends to sign with the Bears, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). It’s a four-year deal worth $15MM ($9MM guaranteed), reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (via Twitter).

Parkey’s signing, of course, is not the biggest news of the day for the Bears. Already, Chicago has agreed to terms with wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Trey Burton, giving them two of this year’s top available offensive weapons.

Parkey, 26, spent the 2017 campaign with the Dolphins after kicking for the Browns from 2015-16. Last year marked the best season of Parkey’s career, as he nailed 91.3% of his field goal attempts. In Chicago, Parkey will reunite with longtime Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Heading into free agency, PFR had ranked Parkey as the top free agent kicker on the board.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 Free Agents By Position: Defense

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. After looking at offense on Monday, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

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 2018:

Edge defender:

  1. Julius Peppers
  2. William Hayes
  3. Trent Murphy
  4. Pernell McPhee
  5. Aaron Lynch
  6. Alex Okafor
  7. Adrian Clayborn
  8. Kony Ealy
  9. Connor Barwin
  10. Jeremiah Attaochu
  11. Junior Galette
  12. Derrick Shelby
  13. Barkevious Mingo
  14. Kareem Martin
  15. Erik Walden

As a positional group, pass rushers comprise interesting market on the defensive side of the ball. It’s not often that a list of best available players is topped by a 38-year-old, but Peppers is the top free agent edge defender after the Cowboys and Lions deployed the franchise tag on Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah, respectively. As with quarterbacks, NFL clubs are extremely reluctant to allow pass rushers to hit the open market, so top-tier options are rarely ever truly “available.” Peppers, for his part, hasn’t even declared whether he’ll return in 2018, but indications are that he’ll suit up for a 17th campaign after posting 11 sacks last year.

Alongside Peppers, other veterans populate the edge market, and while William Hayes may not be a household name, he’ll be a contributor for whichever team signs him. A stout run defender, Hayes is also capable of generating pressure despite managing only one sack in 2017. The Dolphins used Hayes on only 271 defensive snaps a season ago, and have since replaced him by acquiring fellow defensive end Robert Quinn from the Rams. Now that he’s entering his age-33 season, Hayes should come cheap, but will almost assuredly outplay his contract.

Nearly every other available pass rusher has some sort of flaw which will likely limit his market next week. Trent Murphy is only 27 years old and put up nine sacks in 2016, but he missed the entirety of the 2017 campaign with injury. Pernell McPhee, Alex Okafor, Junior Galette, and Derrick Shelby have also been plagued by health questions in recent seasons. And Adrian Clayborn famously registered the majority of his 2017 sacks (and 20% of his career sack total) in one game against overwhelmed Cowboys backup Chaz Green.

The two names that I keep coming back to are Aaron Lynch (49ers) and Jeremiah Attaochu (Chargers). Yes, Lynch has been suspended for substance abuse, struggled with his weight, and was reportedly in danger of being waived prior to last season. He’s also extremely young (he won’t turn 25 years old until Thursday) and ranked fifth in the league with 34 pass pressures as recently as 2015. Attaochu, a 25-year-old former second-round pick, also has youth on his side, and while he hasn’t quite flashed as much as Lynch, he’s also been buried on LA’s depth chart for much of his career.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Muhammad Wilkerson
  4. Star Lotulelei
  5. DaQuan Jones
  6. Beau Allen
  7. Denico Autry
  8. Justin Ellis
  9. Tom Johnson
  10. Bennie Logan
  11. Chris Baker
  12. Kyle Williams
  13. Dominique Easley
  14. Haloti Ngata
  15. Jay Bromley

Interior rushers are getting more respect in today’s NFL, but that still hasn’t translated to them being paid on the level of edge defenders — the 2018 franchise tag for defensive tackles, for example, is roughly $3MM cheaper than the tender for edge rushers. While the 2018 crop of interior defenders boasts some impressive top-end talent, none of the available players figure to earn a double-digit annual salary. Sheldon Richardson may have the best chance to do so, but Seattle determined he wasn’t worth a one-year cost of $13.939MM, so is any other club going to pay him $10MM per year? I’d guess he comes in closer to $9MM annually, which would still place him among the 25 highest-paid defensive tackles.

Dontari Poe will be an intriguing free agent case after setting for a one-year deal last offseason, but the most interesting battle among defensive tackles will take place Star Lotulelei and Muhammad Wilkerson, and I’m curious to see which player earns more on the open market. Both are former first-round picks, and it’s difficult to argue Wilkerson hasn’t been the more productive player — or, at least, reached higher highs — than Lotulelei. Wilkerson also won’t affect his next team’s compensatory pick formula given that he was released, but his off-field issues, which include a reported lack of effort and problems with coaches, could limit his appeal.

While Beau Allen and Denico Autry are potentially candidates to be overpaid based on their youth, there are bargains to be had at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson is 33 but he’s offered consistent pressure from the interior for years — his last contract was for three years and $7MM, so he shouldn’t cost much this time around. Haloti Ngata was injured in 2017 but plans to continue his career, and he can still stop the run. And Dominique Easley was outstanding as a 3-4 end in 2016 before missing last season with a torn ACL, meaning the former first-round pick could be a value play for any number of teams.Read more

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC East

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC East teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the BillsDolphinsPatriots, and Jets are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets

Dolphins Claim Cody Parkey

The Dolphins have claimed kicker Cody Parkey off waivers from the Browns, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Parkey will provide competition for incumbent Andrew Franks, who missed a 40-yard field goal in the team’s final preseason contest on Thursday.

Parkey made 80% of his field goal attempts (20-of-25) for Cleveland last season, while Franks connected on just 76.2% of his attempts (16-of-21) for Miami in 2016.

Browns Trim Roster To 53

The Browns have reduced their roster to the league-mandated 53 players by making the following transactions:

Acquired:

Released:

Waived:

Browns Keeping Kicker Cody Parkey For Now

Despite his lackluster performance on Sunday, the Browns are planning to roll with kicker Cody Parkey, head coach Hue Jackson told reporters, including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). For what it’s worth, Jackson did couch his declaration a bit, saying his intention “right now” was to keep Parkey.Cody Parkey

[RELATED: Josh McCown Out 2-4 More Weeks]

Signed this week to replace the injured Patrick Murray, Parkey face-planted in his Cleveland debut, missing three-of-six field goal attempts, including a potential game-winner at the end of regulation against the Dolphins. The Browns went on to lose the game in overtime, leaving Parkey squarely planted as the scapegoat. For his career, however, Parkey has been an above-average kicker, converting 87.5% of his field goals and all of his extra point attempts.

Meanwhile, Browns sources pushed back against a weekend report that suggested the club chose Parkey over fellow free agent kicker Robbie Gould on the basis that Parkey was less expensive. “Money played no role in the decision,” the Browns source told Ulrich in a full article. “It’s ridiculous to think that it would.” Cleveland’s specials team coach Chris Tabor reportedly preferred Gould, but the front office chose to go in a different direction.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Browns, Te’o, Jags, Jets, Simmons

The Browns endured an agonizing defeat for the second straight week, and their new kicker hovered at the center of the loss to the Dolphins. Cody Parkey missed three field goals, including what would have been a game-winning 46-yarder at the end of regulation. But the new Cleveland kicker was reportedly not the preferred choice of Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor.

Instead, the sixth-year Browns ST boss wanted the team to sign Robbie Gould, whom the Bears recently released, but he was overruled by Browns management, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. The Browns signed Parkey on Saturday morning after top kicker Patrick Murray sustained an injury Friday. Cleveland’s decision-makers decided Gould, a 12th-year veteran, was too expensive for them. This led to the decision to bring in third-year man Parkey, per Salguero.

Gould made $3.6MM with the Bears last season and remains a free agent. Parkey, per OverTheCap, is set to make $529K upon signing with the Browns, who possess just more than $48MM in cap space.

Here’s more from the AFC as Week 3’s night-game schedule continues.

  •  The Chargers fear starting inside linebacker Manti Te’o tore his Achilles’ tendon, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter). He will undergo testing on Monday to determine the severity of the injury that forced him out of the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Colts, Gehlken tweets. One of the Bolts’ captains, Te’o was beginning a contract year that would lose steam if he’s no longer able to play this season. The 2013 second-round pick has made 34 starts for the Chargers since his rookie season. An injury to the former Notre Dame standout would likely thrust rookie fifth-rounder Jatavis Brown into the lineup.
  • Broncos third-round safety Justin Simmons missed today’s game because of a broken bone in his left wrist, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Simmons operates as Denver’s third safety, but the team saw backups Will Parks and Shiloh Keo record turnovers. The defending champions released Keo earlier this week after his two-game suspension ended but re-signed him shortly after, likely due to Simmons’ status.
  • Jaguars owner Shad Khan has given Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley a long leash, but the team that received a fair amount of hype based on its offseason is now 0-3. The Jags are set to make their annual London trip next weekend, and with the bye looming, an 0-4 return from England will bring about a change of some sort, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union writes. After today’s 19-17 loss to the Ravens, the Jaguars — who will now occupy the No. 1 slot in the waiver order as the pecking order shifts to reflect this season’s records instead of 2015’s — are 12-39 under Bradley. That’s by far the worst mark in franchise history for a coach in his first four years. Both Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio went 9-7 in their second seasons. A coach has been fired after a Week 4 London loss the past two seasons. The Raiders jettisoned Dennis Allen after his team fell to 0-4 in a Wembley Stadium defeat to the Dolphins, who a year later canned Joe Philbin after his team lost its Week 4 England tilt.
  • The Jets‘ four-quarterback setup deprives the team of a fullback, and Todd Bowles doesn’t see the team making a move at that spot. “We’re good,” Bowles said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, when asked about a fullback-less roster. As Cimini notes, only 17 teams have fullbacks. The Jets cut Julian Howsare earlier this week and promoted tight end Braedon Bowman.

Browns Sign Cody Parkey

The Browns have found a kicker to replace the injured Patrick Murray. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), the team has signed former Pro Bowler Cody Parkey. The reporter notes that the team also placed Murray on the injured reserve, Cody Parkeypresumably ending his season.

There were whispers yesterday that the Browns were likely to sign Parkey after Murray went down with an injury during practice. The 24-year-old made a Pro Bowl as rookie in 2014, but a groin injury soon derailed his career with the Eagles. The kicker was released by Philadelphia back in early September after he lost his job to Caleb Sturgis. In 19 career games, Parkey has converted 87.5-percent of his field goals and all of his extra point attempts.

Murray, meanwhile, was playing his first season with the Browns following two years in Tampa Bay. In 16 games for the Buccaneers, the 25-year-old converted 83.3-percent of his kicks. In two games with the Browns this season, Murray made one of his two field goal attempts and three of his four extra point opportunities.

Browns Likely To Sign Cody Parkey

The Browns are likely to sign free agent kicker Cody Parkey, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). If a deal materializes, Parkey will fill in for Patrick Murray, who hurt his left knee in practice Friday. The severity of the injury isn’t yet known, but Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes (via Twitter) that Murray tore his ACL in the same knee two years ago.

Cody Parkey

The 24-year-old Parkey spent the first two seasons of his career with Philadelphia, which cut him Sept. 3. As a rookie in 2014, the former Auburn Tiger connected on 32 of 36 field goals and nailed all four attempts of 50-plus yards en route to a Pro Bowl bid. Parkey then began last year by making three of his first four field goal tries and going a perfect 7 of 7 on extra points, but he landed on injured reserve Sept. 29 with a groin injury.

Between his departure from the Eagles and his forthcoming deal with the Browns, Parkey garnered interest from the Giants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.