Cole Beasley

NFC Notes: Zeke, Beasley, Seahawks

It’s been a roller coaster news cycle regarding Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension since the regular season started. Now in another twist, it appears that if the second-year running back’s suspension is officially handed down in December, the league will force him to sit out through the playoffs, reports Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star Telegram (Twitter link). This news adds another aspect to the ongoing legal feud in that if the team felt that Elliott was going to eventually serve his suspension, wouldn’t they rather him take it now rather than wait till playoff time? It’s an interesting question, and while the 22 year-old has repeatedly stated his intention to fight the league, the issue will remain a cloud over Jerry Jones‘ organization for the rest of the year. Elliott will be allowed to suit up for this Sunday’s game after the United States Court of Appeals granted him a stay earlier in the day.

  • In other Cowboys news, another pivotal member of the offense is set to play in Week 9 as well. Wide receiver Cole Beasley cleared his final step of concussion protocol today after taking the week trying to recover from his head slamming to the ground in last Sunday’s game versus Washington, according to Brandon George of Dallas News. Beasley stated that he didn’t really suffer any concussion symptoms throughout the week, but was definitely feeling the effects of the contact during the game. “It wasn’t crazy,” Beasley said. “It was just kind of some dizziness when I hit the ground and it only lasted for a little while. I was able to pass most of the concussion test stuff, but some of the stuff we did it started making me kind of nauseous and made feel like I was going to throw up and they held me out.”
  • The Seahawks are in a tough spot with injuries heading into this week’s contest against Washington. Apart from Earl Thomas potentially missing a few games, the team also may be without defensive starters Sheldon Richardson (oblique) and Bobby Wagner (hamstring) with both players being officially listed as questionable, according to Brady Anderson of ESPN.com. Anderson does report that safety Kam Chancellor will play in Week 9 after dealing with an ankle injury throughout the week. However, losing these three key defensive starters would greatly hurt a Seattle team that is riding a ton of positive momentum after winning their last four games.
  • Anderson also passes along that Seattle’s newest trade acquisition, tackle Duane Brown, is adjusting to his new team’s offense well because of his experience with the Seahawks zone-blocking scheme, according to head coach Pete Carroll. “He’s done exceptionally well,” Carroll said. “Like we said earlier, the carry-over that he had from six years being in the same system has really ensured that he can make this transition as fast as you possibly could make it.” Brown figures to be a major upgrade at left tackle ahead of the team’s former starter on the blind side, Rees Odhiambo, who ranks as the worst qualified tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

NFC Notes: Lions, Bucs, Cowboys, Seahawks

Tight end Eric Ebron is the biggest name being floated around by the Lions with the trade deadline looming, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. General manager Bob Quinn has been aggressive since assuming the job nearly two years ago, and even pulled off a midseason deal in 2016 when he traded Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots, Meinke notes. A first-round pick out of North Carolina in 2014, the athletic tight end was expected by many to have a breakout campaign following a career year in 2016 but that has not been the case. Ebron has tallied more than two catches in a game just once this season but still possesses freakish physical traits that could lead a team to take a shot on the fourth-year pass catcher. Ebron is signed through 2018 and is due to earn $8.25MM next season.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Jameis Winston reinjured his shoulder against the Bills in Week 7, Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter confirmed in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). “[Jameis] was doing better, he played very well, especially in the second half against Buffalo,” Koetter said. “We did have that one sack-fumble in the first half, and he did kind of reinjure it, and so that’s what led to him not throwing on Wednesday or Thursday this week.” Despite missing two days of practice, Winston took all reps on Friday and will start vs. Carolina in Week 8.
  • The Cowboys are not looking to move any of their receivers, team vice president Stephen Jones said in a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link). Jones added the team has not specifically been asked about Cole Beasley‘s availability in a trade. After posting a career-high 75 catches in 2016, Beasley has hauled in just 16 grabs in the team’s first six games this season. It also doesn’t bode well for the slot receiver’s future in Dallas that the team drafted Ryan Switzer, a near carbon copy of Beasley, in the 2017 NFL Draft. Beasley is signed through 2018 and is due to make $3.25MM next season.
  • The Seahawks are paying Dion Jordan $7.2K and Malik McDowell $5K per week while the two are on the NFI list, tweets Joel Corry of CBS Sports. Though a team doesn’t have to pay a player on the NFI list since the injury occurred away from the field, Seattle was able to come to terms with the two defenders. Jordan returned to practice this week, so the team has three weeks to activate him to the 53-man roster or he will not be eligible to play again this season. McDowell is still out indefinitely.

Cole Beasley, Cowboys Agree To Extension

The Cowboys and wide receiver Cole Beasley have agreed to terms on a multiyear extension that will keep Beasley under contract through the 2018 season, reports Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). The four-year contract is worth $13.6MM, with $7MM in guarantees, including a $4MM signing bonus. Beasley can also increase the value of the deal to $15.1MM if he reaches certain escalators.

Getlin initially reported last week that the Cowboys and Beasley were discussing a new contract, and I suggested at the time that I didn’t think Dallas would go much higher than about $2MM per season. However, it looks like I undershot the wideout’s new salary, since the extension will pay him $3.4MM per year. Of course, as is the case with most NFL contracts, if the deal goes south, the team will have the opportunity to get out of it in the last year or two without paying the full amount.

Beasley, who turns 26 in April, was hardly the Cowboys’ most notable extension candidate at the wide receiver position — that honor belongs to Dez Bryant, who received the franchise tag from the team yesterday. Still, Beasley has developed into one of Tony Romo‘s more reliable targets over the last couple seasons. In 2014, the SMU product set career highs with 420 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while totaling 37 receptions.

Having take care of Beasley, who had been eligible for restricted free agency, the Cowboys will shift their focus to a handful of other pending free agents. Bryant’s situation doesn’t need to be addressed immediately now that he’s been franchised, but a number of other notable players, including DeMarco Murray, Doug Free, Justin Durant, and Rolando McClain are scheduled to reach the open market next Tuesday.

Cole Beasley, Cowboys Discussing Extension

The Cowboys and wide receiver Cole Beasley have engaged in discussions about a contract extension that would keep Beasley under team control for multiple seasons, league sources tell Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The SMU product is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason.

Beasley, who turns 26 in April, is hardly the most notable Cowboys wideout on an expiring contract, but he has developed into one of Tony Romo‘s more reliable targets over the last couple seasons. In 2014, Beasley set career highs with 420 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while totaling 37 receptions.

When I previewed the free agent market for wide receivers earlier this month, I grouped Beasley in with a handful of RFA wideouts that I thought were good bets to receive one-year tenders from their current clubs. Tendering Beasley would mean making him a one-year offer worth in the neighborhood of at least $1.5MM, depending on where the salary cap lands. However, it sounds like the Cowboys are trying to lock him up for additional years, which would give the young receiver some security and would ensure that no rival suitors try to lure him out of Dallas.

For comparison’s sake, Lance Moore had just put up similar numbers to Beasley’s 2014 output when he entered free agency last winter, and he inked a two-year, $3MM deal. Moore has a more impressive track record than Beasley, but less upside, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Cowboys wideout matched or exceeded that deal. However, I’m skeptical that Dallas would go too much higher, given the team’s other priorities in free agency and a deep 2015 class of draft-eligible wideouts.

East Notes: Kraft, Revis, Cowboys

As the Patriots prepare to represent the AFC East in the Super Bowl tonight, let’s take a look at some notes regarding the Pats, their division rivals, and a few items from the NFC East:

  • Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com writes that the league’s handling of “Deflategate” has thawed the relationship between Roger Goodell and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has been one of the commissioner’s biggest supporters and who publicly backed Goodell during the Ray Rice fiasco. Reiss notes that, if Goodell were to lose Kraft’s support, his hold on the commissioner’s job could become a bit more tenuous.
  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Patriots star corner Darrelle Revis will be courted not only by his current team this offseason–after New England inevitably declines his 2015 option–but he expects the Bills and Jets to be in on Revis as well. Joel Corry tweets that Revis will have a great deal of leverage, as the Patriots cannot put the franchise tag on him if they decline the 2015 option.
  • Jets owner Woody Johnson received the Steinberg DeNicola Humanitarian Award on Saturday, and before receiving the award, he provided a few clues to his team’s offseason plans. In response to criticism he received earlier this week, when he announced that the Jets would be aggressive in free agency, Johnson stated that although he was not afraid to spend money on free agents, he would not waste money. He specifically mentioned cornerback and strong safety as positions that could be addressed in the free agent market, and he also touched on a possible extension for Muhammad Wilkerson and the team’s quarterback situation (article via Brian Costello of the New York Post).
  • If Washington is to become competitive again in the NFC East, Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com says new GM Scot McCloughan must move away from the team’s historic reliance on big-ticket free agents.
  • After hearing that the Seahawks have offered Marshawn Lynch a lucrative extension, Joel Corry tweets that the Cowboys will have to substantially increase their offer to DeMarco Murray if they are serious about keeping him.
  • Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News looked at the Cowboys linebacker situation in 2015, both with and without impending free agent Rolando McClain. Fortunately for Dallas, Anthony Hitchens showed that he can play any of the linebacker spots in his rookie season. If McClain comes back, he’ll play in the middle and Sean Lee will be on the weakside. If McClain doesn’t come back, Machota thinks it will be Lee in the middle with Justin Durant/Hitchens on the weakside.
  • More from Machota, who writes that he’d be surprised if Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley, a restricted free agent, gets plucked away by another team. Linebacker Bruce Carter, however, is a different story. Carter has freakish athleticism and he was a projected first round choice in 2011. There could be teams out there that believe they can better utilize his abilities than Dallas has, perhaps by making him an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

Zach Links contributed to this post