Colin Jones

NFC Notes: Rosen, Panthers, 49ers

Although Patrick Peterson expects Sam Bradford to start the season as the Cardinals‘ quarterback, what he saw early this offseason from Josh Rosen may make that a short-lived arrangement. Peterson said the first-round pick “blew my mind” with the football IQ he was known for challenging coaches with at UCLA.

Just to see him run hurry-up offense, to see him make all different checks, to see him put guys in position, I was completely stunned when I saw it,” Peterson said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. “I was like, ‘This guy’s only been here a week, and he’s already doing what? We’re already running two-minute offense now?

I was very, very impressed with that, and he’s definitely the future of our franchise.”

While this praise tops Steve Wilks‘ a bit, it’s consistent with what the first-year Cards coach described about the No. 10 overall pick. Bradford has not been given the Cards’ starting job yet, and he’ll have to show the Cardinals — who slow-played his offseason work due to the major injury concerns attached to the former Heisman Trophy winner — he can stay healthy. An injury-free preseason will likely have Bradford at the controls come Week 1. But the Rosen era appears imminent.

Shifting to another rookie’s standing, here’s what’s new out of the NFC on Friday night.

  • Daryl Worley‘s release leaves the Panthers somewhat vulnerable at cornerback. That hasn’t been an uncertain spot since Josh Norman‘s departure, but David Newton of ESPN.com expects second-round pick Donte Jackson to emerge as the starter opposite James Bradberry. “You see it on the field. You see it when you talk to him,” Ron Rivera said regarding Jackson. “You watch in his gait, the way he carries himself. That’s the type of attitude you have to have to play this game. You have to have a certain kind of swagger.” Ross Cockrell, Kevon Seymour¬†and perhaps slot man Captain Munnerlyn figure to factor into the Panthers’ competition here as well.
  • Speaking of Carolina competitions, Colin Jones has a good shot to start at safety despite his presence as a career special-teamer. The Panthers are counting on the 30-year-old Jones to play opposite 37-year-old Mike Adams, per Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of USA Today. Carolina, though, signed Da’Norris Searcy and drafted Rashaan Gaulden in the third round, so it would appear Jones may stand to be a stopgap solution. He played 213 defensive snaps last season but only has 13 starts in seven NFL seasons.
  • 49ers defensive ends Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas are switching positions, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, with the 2017 No. 3 overall pick moving to the “Leo” end spot reserved for the best outside pass rusher in San Francisco’s 4-3 scheme. Thomas played some at this position last season, but Armstead resided there at the outset of the 49ers’ most recent campaign. Armstead being a former defensive tackle makes him a more obvious fit as the “big” end, and the ex-Oregon product has put on weight this offseason to play that role. The 49ers still hope to have Thomas (three sacks as a rookie) shift inside at times on passing downs, though both would profile as players who could join DeForest Buckner inside in sub-packages.

Panthers Re-Sign Colin Jones

The Panthers have brought back a key member of their special teams unit. Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer reports (via Twitter) that the team has re-signed defensive back Colin Jones. It’s a two-year deal worth $2.4MM.

The 29-year-old has spent the past five seasons in Carolina, playing in 76 games (six starts). His best season came in 2014, when he collected 27 tackles, one sack, and three passes defended. This past season, Jones compiled five tackles in 14 games.

The defensive back originally entered the league as a sixth-round pick by the 49ers in 2011. He was traded to the Panthers for a seventh-round pick in 2012, and he inked a two-year extension with the team in 2014.

Panthers Extend Chandler, Addison, Jones

THURSDAY, 11:32am: According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter), Addison’s new deal is worth $3.205MM over the next three years, with $660K guaranteed, while Jones’ three-year value is $2.5MM, with $300K guaranteed. Both guarantees are in the form of signing bonuses (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 1:23pm: The Panthers have signed three players to contract extensions, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, offensive tackle Nate Chandler has inked a three-year extension, while defensive end Mario Addison and safety Colin Jones have each signed new two-year deals. All three players had been entering the final year of their respective contracts.

“You have to think long-term and be proactive,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “Around here we talk about earning the right, and these three young guys have earned the right to these contract extensions. We think all three are ascending as players. This gave us a chance to lock them up long-term.”

With Jordan Gross no longer in the picture at left tackle, Chandler could be competing this summer for the right to protect Cam Newton‘s blind side. The third-year player out of UCLA started eight regular-season contests and a playoff game at right guard for Carolina last season, and figures to see his fair share of playing time somewhere on the Panthers’ offensive line. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), Chandler’s three-year extension will be worth $7.95MM, with $1.87MM in guaranteed money.

As for the pair of players receiving two-year extensions, Addison is expected to head into the 2014 season as a reserve defensive end, after recording 2.5 sacks and 28 total quarterback pressures in 264 defensive snaps last season. Jones, meanwhile, didn’t see much action on defense in 2013, but he and Addison are key contributors on special teams — they each recorded nine tackles in kick and punt coverage last season.