Cordarrelle Patterson

Falcons To Play Cordarrelle Patterson At RB

One of this era’s best kick returners, Cordarrelle Patterson has not made as much of an impact on offense. But teams have used the former Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver prospect in a pass-catching role throughout his career. That looks to change ahead of Patterson’s ninth season.

The Falcons plan to use Patterson at running back, with Scott Bair of AtlantaFalcons.com indicating this will be a true position switch. Patterson has logged notable time in backfields in recent years, and Arthur Smith will be keen on using the 6-foot-2, 227-pound weapon in a run-game role.

Patterson signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Falcons this offseason. Although the team did add recent Panthers backup/Christian McCaffrey injury replacement Mike Davis, it did not add a running back in the draft. Javian Hawkins signed as a UDFA. This points to Patterson being given a true opportunity to work in tandem with Davis, who signed a two-year deal worth $5.5MM. The top three Falcon backs from 2020 — Todd Gurley, Ito Smith, Brian Hill — are no longer on the team.

The Bears gave Patterson a career-high 64 carries last season, doing so after the Patriots gave him 42 in 2018. Former Bears quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone is now onboard as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Patterson, 30, averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his two Chicago seasons. Both of those slates ended in first-team All-Pro kick returner selections — the third and fourth of Patterson’s illustrious return career.

While Patterson did not work out as a wideout in Minnesota, he has proven dangerous as a gadget player as a pro. The former first-round pick has 2,087 career receiving yards and 10 aerial TDs. It will be interesting to see how much running back work the Falcons give the elite return man, but a role as a Davis committee partner appears in his future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Smith, Falcons, Texans

Here are the details from some of the league’s most recently agreed-upon contracts:

  • Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Falcons): One year, $3MM. The decorated kick returner’s contract includes a $1.7MM base salary and $1.3MM signing bonus, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets.
  • DeMarcus Walker, DL (Texans): One year, $1.5MM. The ex-Broncos D-lineman will receive $500K guaranteed and can earn up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses, per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). Walker’s deal will count $1.45MM against the Texans’ cap.
  • Jaleel Johnson, DL (Texans): One year, $1.3MM. Johnson will see $300K of his $1MM base salary guaranteed, Wilson tweets. A $350K incentive also exists within this deal.
  • Roderick Johnson, T (Texans): One year, $1.15MM. Johnson will receive $350K guaranteed. He will be attached to a $920K base salary and can collect $130K in per-game roster bonuses, Wilson tweets.
  • Aldon Smith, DE (Seahawks): One year, $1.13MM. Smith agreed to a deal that includes a nonguaranteed $990K base salary, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets. He will collect a $137K signing bonus, with the contract counting at $988K on Seattle’s cap sheet.
  • Lane Taylor, G (Texans): One year, $1.13MM. Taylor will collect a $138K signing bonus and count $988K toward Houston’s cap, Wilson tweets.
  • Duron Harmon, S (Falcons): One year, $1.1MM. Harmon will receive $363K guaranteed, per Rothstein. He will count $988K against Atlanta’s cap.

Falcons To Sign Cordarrelle Patterson

The Falcons have agreed to terms with Cordarrelle Patterson (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). The veteran wide receiver/kick returner will head to Atlanta on a one-year, $3MM deal. 

Patterson, 30, entered the league as a first-round round pick of the Vikings in 2013. Expectations were sky-high — especially since mock drafts had the Tennessee product going much higher than No. 29 overall. Unfortunately, Patterson never developed into the superstar receiver he was made out to be. By 2015, the 6’2″ athlete barely factored into the Vikings’ offense, playing in 16 games and gaining just 25 yards from scrimmage.

However, he did earn first-team All-Pro honors in 2013, ’16, ’19, and ’20 on the strength of his kick returns. The Vikings didn’t get everything they hoped for, but the Raiders, Patriots, and Bears were mostly happy with the human highlight reel.

Over the last two seasons with the Bears, Patterson turned two kickoffs into touchdowns for Chicago with an overall average of 29.2 yards per return. He also logged 32 catches for 215 yards, plus 81 carries out of the backfield for 335 yards and a touchdown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Meet With Cordarrelle Patterson

Veteran wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson visited with the Falcons on Wednesday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). If all goes well, the accomplished kick returner is expected to sign fairly quickly. 

I’m going to miss my boys in Chicago,” Patterson tweeted, an indication that he’s on the verge of signing with Atlanta.

If signed, Patterson will provide new special teams coordinator Marquice Williams with a dynamic return man capable of breaking games wide open. Patterson’s done the bulk of his work on kickoffs, but he could also factor into punt returns.

Patterson, a former first-round pick of the Vikings, has spent the last two seasons with the Bears. In that span, he’s recorded 32 catches for 215 yards, plus ran 81 carries out of the backfield for 335 yards and a touchdown. On special teams, he turned two kickoffs into touchdowns for Chicago with an overall average of 29.2 yards per return, just a tick behind his previous 30.0 ypr.

Last time around in free agency, Patterson scored a two-year, $10MM deal from the Bears that included $5MM fully guaranteed. This time, the 30-year-old will likely sign for less.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Notes: Desai, Robinson, Massie, Skrine

Earlier this week, Sean Desai met with the media for the first time since being promoted to the role of defensive coordinator. While the 37-year-old will take over a defense that has ranked as a top-10 DVOA unit in each of the past three seasons, they’ve also seen some regression since peaking in 2018. However, Desai doesn’t believe the defensive needs a significant overhaul.

“I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said (via the team’s website). “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”

“There was some regression, and we’re going to overcome that,” Desai added. “But we’re going to do it in a positive way and we’re going to do it where the players are going to be able to shine through that defense. So I think we’ll build some depth and we’ll continue with our tough, physical mindset of play and do that over a 16- to 20-week season.”

Some more notes out of Chicago…

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that the Bears are “prepared” to tag wideout Allen Robinson with the hope of eventually signing him to a long-term deal. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that it will be difficult to fit a franchised Robinson into a reduced 2021 cap, but the writer also admits that replacing Robinson would be a more daunting task.
  • Speaking of the cap, Biggs provided some cost-cutting options for the Bears. The team could move on from right tackle Bobby Massie, although that would open a spot on the offensive line. Cornerback Buster Skrine could also lose his roster spot, especially since he has a $500K roster bonus due in March. Finally, Biggs also whether the front office will be receptive to paying tight end Jimmy Graham $7MM this season.
  • As for restructured contracts, Biggs points to pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson, and he notes that the team could also extend cornerback Kyle Fuller. Alternatively, the team could look to retain free agents like Cairo Santos and Cordarrelle Patterson on low-money pacts.
  • Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic passed along a few Bears players who have increased their 2021 salaries via proven performance escalators (Twitter links): defensive end Bilal Nichols (from $920K to $2.183MM) and guard James Daniels ($1.437MM to $2.183MM),. Their new salaries are contingent on the final 2021 cap number.

NFC North Rumors: Vikings, Lions, Patterson

Two weeks after reporting to Vikings camp on time, Dalvin Cook reaffirmed his commitment to the team. Going into a contract year, the Pro Bowl running back surfaced in holdout rumors this offseason. Cook, however, said the holdout noise did not come from him.

This is where I want to be at. This is what I love to do,” Cook said of his Vikings status, via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin. “I was going to be here regardless of whatever the speculations (that) came up or (questions of) if I wasn’t coming. I was going to be here ready to work. … I’m locked up full go, a thousand percent.”

The Vikings and Cook were not the same page financially, and OC Gary Kubiak — save for Terrell Davis and Arian Foster — has used a system that has featured extensive running back turnover during his two-plus decades overseeing NFL offenses. Cook is set to make $1.33MM this season. The Vikings have younger backs Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone in place as backups. While the Vikings would prefer to extend Cook, the $15MM-per-year price point that emerged appears far less palatable now that the cap could plummet by more than $20MM in 2021.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • The Lions workout in which Trevor Siemian participated also included veteran wideout Chris Hogan, per Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Now 32, Hogan is coming off an injury-sidetracked season with the Panthers. However, he was with the Patriots during Matt Patricia‘s run there. Hogan led the NFL with 17.9 yards per catch in 2016. While Hogan was not as effective in subsequent Pats years, he served as a key option for Tom Brady for most of his three-year New England stay. The Lions employ several ex-Patriots, having added a few more this offseason. Friday’s workout also included wide receivers Shelton Gibson, Krishawn Hogan and Keon Hatcher.
  • An interesting development from Bears camp: Cordarrelle Patterson is not working with Chicago’s wide receiver group. Instead, the All-Pro kick returner is practicing as a running back, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes. The Bears had hoped to dial up more plays to capitalize on the veteran’s unique skill set last season, and Garafolo adds that should be something to monitor for the upcoming campaign. Patterson never worked out as a true receiver, but the All-Decade return man has enjoyed success as a gadget piece while seeing some running back snaps in New England.
  • The Vikings have previously mentioned the prospect of Riley Reiff shifting to guard, but they shut that down this year. However, the veteran left tackle said he would be ready to move inside if called upon, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Reiff is in Year 4 of a five-year contract. The Vikings drafted tackle Ezra Cleveland in Round 2, but the pandemic will make matters especially difficult on young O-linemen. This would point to Cleveland spending 2020 as a developmental backup. Cleveland, however, is competing for the Vikes’ vacant right guard spot, along with Dakota Dozier and Aviante Collins, Kubiak said.

Contract Details: Amos, Patterson, Carpenter, Brown

Let’s take a look at the details of a few freshly-signed contracts:

Cordarrelle Patterson To Sign With Bears

Cordarrelle Patterson has a found a new home. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the wideout/returner is set to join the Bears. It will be a two-year deal worth $5MM per season.

Patterson continued to be his versatile self during his lone season in New England. The 27-year-old hauled in 21 receptions for 247 yards and three scores, and he also returned 23 kicks for the Patriots.

Patterson actually took on an additional role during the 2018 campaign, as the team used him as a running back for several weeks. Patterson ultimately finished the season with a career-high 42 carries for 228 rushing yards and one touchdown.

In Chicago, Patterson will presumably continue to play the role he’s had throughout his career. The team relied on a variety of kick returners in 2018, including Benny Cunningham, Taquan Mizzell, Anthony Miller, and Tarik Cohen. At the very least, Patterson will allow Chicago to solidify that role on their squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions To Josh Gordon Suspension

With news of yet another suspension sidelining Josh Gordon, the mercurial wide receiver’s on-field work with the Patriots likely will end up concluding with the team’s Week 15 loss to the Steelers. Here are some reactions to the news of Gordon’s ban.

  • The Patriots’ decision to trade for him as a possible quick-fix option was naive, NBC Sports’ Peter King said during a WEEI radio interview (via NESN.com). Citing the Patriots’ failure to properly address their skill positions this offseason, King scrutinizes the organization for bringing in a player with Gordon’s immense baggage — and doing so just after yet another incident in Cleveland prompted the Browns to engage in serious trade talks. New England traded Brandin Cooks and cut a slew of wideouts — Kenny Britt, Malcolm Mitchell, Eric Decker and Jordan Matthews — before acquiring Gordon. Although Gordon’s 720 yards are the second-most in NFL history by a wideout playing on a different team than he did when a season started, behind only Wes Chandler‘s 857 for the 1981 Chargers, the Pats are again shorthanded at wideout.
  • New England’s attempt to acquire Demaryius Thomas from the Broncos stemmed from its concern about Gordon, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required). The Patriots also protected seldom-used wideout Phillip Dorsett before the deadline, with Howe noting the team rebuffed at least one trade inquiry regarding the former first-round pick. Minimized by Gordon’s arrival, Dorsett has not caught a pass since Week 12. He’ll surely be called upon more now.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson has repeatedly failed to live up to expectations that come with being a first-round wideout, despite his immense talent as a kick returner, and Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston notes the Patriots have been hesitant to put too much on Patterson’s plate as a receiver. But they now may have to turn to him more in that area, Curran adds. New England still has Dorsett and Chris Hogan as Julian Edelman complements, but with Edelman and Rob Gronkowski not quite on their former levels, Gordon’s exit will damage the Patriots’ passing game. Patterson has 20 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns as a Patriot.

AFC East Notes: Darnold, Pats, Patterson

Sam Darnold ended his holdout on Monday, leaving Roquan Smith as the final unsigned rookie. But the Jets made some concessions to bring their long-term quarterback investment into camp. Offset language, bonus payments and guarantees served as sticking points for Darnold’s camp, and the Jets bent on two of these items. Darnold’s deal includes offsets, but he will receive his $20MM signing bonus payment within 15 days, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports (on Twitter). The Jets also agreed agreed to keep Darnold’s guarantees intact in the event he is fined in the future, per PFT (on Twitter). Florio notes the lump-sum bonus payment represents a rarity, and this surely indicates how badly the Jets wanted their QB in camp.

The Jets continue to believe Darnold can make a strong push to unseat Josh McCown from the starting job, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes. A Jets official categorized Darnold as not being “hopelessly behind” by missing the first few days of camp. Jets officials have gushed about the USC-developed passer’s potential all offseason, so it’s unlikely he’ll be out of the running because of this holdout.

Here’s the latest from the AFC East:

  • Despite being a two-time All-Pro return man, Cordarrelle Patterson‘s been a specialist on special teams. The former Vikings and Raiders returner has specialized in kick returns. Bill Belichick hinted at the possibility of Patterson being a punt returner with the Patriots as well, but Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes that hasn’t been the case in camp yet. Rookies Braxton Berrios and Riley McCarron have joined veterans Julian Edelman, Patrick Chung and Chris Hogan as the punt returners in Pats camp. Patterson has fielded precisely one punt in his five-year NFL career, so it shouldn’t surprise the Patriots confine him to kickoff returns.
  • Rookie Corey Bojorquez could push five-year incumbent Patriots punter Ryan Allen, per Reiss, who notes the New Mexico product probably has more natural talent than Allen. The sixth-year veteran has one year and $2MM remaining on an extension he signed in 2015.
  • Second-round Pats pick Duke Dawson is in the mix to win the nickel cornerback job, Reiss tweets. Florida’s seen several corners warrant high draft choices in recent years, and this one has a chance to play alongside Stephon Gilmore on passing downs. Reiss tabs Eric Rowe as being slightly ahead of Jason McCourty for work as the other starting corner.
  • The Jets worked out defensive lineman Drew Iddings over the weekend, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer tweets. Iddings has bounced around the league for a couple of years, with the Panthers being the most recent team to cut him by doing so last week, but has yet to play in a regular-season game.
  • Former Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas latched on with the Patriots this spring, but New England released him last week. He’s still dealing with a sore knee stemming from a 2017 injury, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (subscription required). However, Howe adds his New England’s depth chart at tight end also contributed to the move.