Cole Beasley

East Notes: Jets, Cowboys, Dolphins, Bills

The Jets are expected to hire former Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack for the same position, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Pollack did a solid job with Cincinnati in 2018, but he was revered for his work with the Cowboys’ front five from 2013-17. He drew interest from the Packers after being fired by the Bengals, but will now head to New York, where the Jets ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric and 18th in pass protection. Before hiring Pollack, the Jets also had interest in former 49ers assistant OL coach Adam Stenavich, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). Stenavich has since joined the Packers’ staff as offensive line coach.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Dez Bryant regularly criticized the Cowboys‘ front office and coaching staff before and — especially — after being released, and now another Dallas receiver has taken the same tact. “Honestly, the front office pushes who they want to get the ball to,” Cole Beasley tweeted on Tuesday. “I haven’t been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I’m not sure. More balls come my way in 2 minute drill where nothing is planned.” In 2018, the 29-year-old Beasley ranked second on the Cowboys in targets, receptions, and yardage, and tied for second with three touchdowns. His four-year, $13.6MM extension expires in March, at which point he’ll hit the free agent market.
  • NFL agent Damarius Bilbo was suspended for three months and fined $12,500 for violations of the NFLPA’s Regulations Governing Contract Advisors, as Darren Heitner tweets. Bilbo’s clients include Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry, Saints running back Alvin Kamara, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, and Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard, notably, is entering the final year of his rookie deal and scheduled to hit free agency after the 2019 season, but Bilbo won’t be able to negotiate on his behalf for the time being. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald looked at Howard’s case for an extension earlier today.
  • Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams has no intention of reversing his decision to retire, as he tells Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter link). “I make a decision, I’ve got to go with it…” said Williams. “You couldn’t dream about coming back and trying to replicate [my final game]. That was such a great day. It’s something I’ll remember forever.” Williams, 35, spent the entirety of his 13-year career in Buffalo, appearing in 178 games during that time.
  • The Senior Bowl will be an opportunity for the Jets to begin their offseason by speaking with other clubs, as Brian Costello of the New York Post. New York could potentially be a suitor for Steelers wideout Antonio Brown, and could begin putting out feelers this week. Meanwhile, rival teams could inquire on the availability of defensive tackle Leonard Williams, per Costello.

Injury Notes: Watkins, Berry, Chiefs, Cowboys

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to play in today’s divisional playoff game against the Colts, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The wideout was listed as questionable with a foot injury.

The 25-year-old had only appeared in a single game since injuring his foot in Week 9, but he was able to practice throughout the week. When healthy, Watkins has managed to play a relatively big role in the Chiefs offense. In 10 games (nine starts) this season, the receiver had hauled in 40 receptions for 519 yards and three touchdowns.

With Watkins back in the mix, Chris Conley and Kelvin Benjamin will find themselves sliding down the depth chart.

Let’s take a look at some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • While Watkins is set to play today, it sounds like one of his teammates will not. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Chiefs safety Eric Berry isn’t likely to play today against the Colts. The veteran has been dealing with injuries throughout the season, with a heel ailment being his latest issue. After playing in only one regular season game in 2017, the 30-year-old has been limited to only a pair of games in 2018, compiling 11 tackles. If there’s any silver lining, the Chiefs were reportedly preparing for Berry to miss today’s contest, as they adjusted their defensive packages to not include the veteran (via NFL.com’s Adam Maya).
  • The Cowboys are “cautiously optimistic” that both wideout Cole Beasley and tight end Blake Jarwin will be ready to play in tonight’s playoff matchup against the Rams, tweets Rapoport. Neither player practiced this week, and they’re both listed as questionable. However, Schefter tweets that the plan is for “both to work out pregame and both be active.” Beasley, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, had one of his best offensive seasons in 2017, compiling 65 catches for 672 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jarwin emerged late in the season, including a Week 17 contest where he had seven receptions for 119 yards and three scores.
  • We heard last night that Colts receiver Ryan Grant and defensive end Tyquan Lewis will not suit up for today’s matchup against the Chiefs.

East Rumors: Patriots, Cowboys, Bills

Reports of discord within the Patriots‘ organization are nothing new, but a new book by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor has shed even more light on the dynamic between head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. In “Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time,” O’Connor reports that Brady would “divorce” Belichick if he could, but feared alienating New England fans after the Patriots traded backup (and possible successor) Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers last season. “If you’re married 18 years to a grouchy person who gets under your skin and never compliments you, after a while you want to divorce him,” a source told O’Connor. Brady will return for yet another season with the Belichick and the Patriots after agreeing to a revised contract that includes multiple performance-based incentives.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • The Cowboys, perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t have any interest in re-signing veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant, as executive Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News). “Don’t necessarily see that at this moment, but we’re always looking for ways to improve,” Jones said. “Obviously we’re focused on the guys that are on our team at the moment.” Dallas is currently fielding arguably the league’s worst receiving corps, as complementary options such as Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin, Deonte Thompson, and Allen Hurns top the club’s depth chart. Bryant, though, wouldn’t be a clear improvement after a disappointing 2017 campaign. Now 29 years old, Bryant has been linked to multiple clubs this offseason, but only came close to a contact with the Browns, who could still opt to sign him.
  • Speaking of Bryant, the veteran receiver was a factor in Brice Butler re-signing with the Cowboys this week, per Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram, who notes Bryant told Butler to head back to Dallas if the opportunity presented itself. As Hill tweets, the Cowboys called Butler after a Week 1 loss to the Panthers, so his addition was in the works for awhile. Butler, who had spent his entire career in Dallas before signing with the Cardinals this spring, signed a two-year deal, per Calvin Watkins of The Athletic (Twitter link). He’ll earn the veteran minimum of $790K in 2018.
  • Before signing with the Vikings earlier this week, defensive tackle Tom Johnson drew interest from the Bills and Browns, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. Johnson, whose release from the Seahawks precipitated his free agency, was in fact close to signing with Buffalo before Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson — who led Johnson in Minnesota from 2014-17 — reached out. Seattle also expressed interest in re-signing Johnson, but his number of suitors allowed to him to a land a one-year, $1MM deal from the Vikings, one that includes $500K in incentives.

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