Cordarrelle Patterson

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.

AFC West Rumors: Broncos, OL, Patterson

While the Broncos have made two Super Bowls in the past five seasons and have seen numerous players sign extensions or land lucrative deals elsewhere, they have not had much luck filling their right tackle job. Denver has assembled Week 1 lineups with five different right tackles since the 2013 season, and in 2018, the franchise could be set to extend that streak to six. The Broncos are scouring the market for tackle help, Nick Kosminder of the Denver Post notes. With Garett Bolles set to play left tackle for a second season, this presumably means the franchise is again looking to upgrade on the other side.

John Elway said at the Combine the team planned to keep Menelik Watson, despite his struggles with performance and injuries last season. The 2017 UFA acquisition followed Donald Stephenson as a disappointing mid-level UFA add, but at this point, Denver would be pursuing another lower-tier free agent since the top talents on this market have signed. Of PFR’s top 10 UFA tackles, only LaAdrian Waddle, Cameron Fleming and Sam Young remain unsigned. Waddle is meeting with the Patriots, and Fleming is visiting the Cowboys on Monday. The Broncos signed Watson after middling results with the Raiders, and Oakland’s other two right tackles in that span — Austin Howard and Marshall Newhouse — are now available. The Broncos have tried draft choices Michael Schofield and Ty Sambrailo here as well and could bring in competition through that avenue again, but the team looks like it’s examining veterans right now.

Here’s the latest from Denver and other AFC West locales.

  • Brandon Marshall‘s $5MM 2018 salary became fully guaranteed on Sunday, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. He will return to start for a fifth season in Denver. This isn’t a big surprise considering the Broncos signed Marshall to a four-year, $32MM extension in the summer of 2016. He’s set to comprise $7MM of the Broncos’ 2018 cap. This comes after the Broncos agreed to a three-year, $15MM deal with Marshall’s inside linebacker running mate, Todd Davis.
  • Prior to bringing back Davis, however, the Broncos offered to pay Corey Nelson a one-year deal worth $2.25MM, Jhabvala reports. The Broncos were interested in retaining their longtime backup, who is viewed as a superior coverage player to Davis, but he instead accepted a one-year, $2.25MM offer to sign with the Eagles. Denver still has backup inside linebacker Zaire Anderson under contract.
  • The Raiders agreeing to ship Cordarrelle Patterson to the Patriots freed up $3.25MM in cap space, but the primary reason for the trade was Patterson not being a fit for what Jon Gruden is eyeing, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. Patterson signed a two-year deal with the Raiders last year. The Raiders have reshuffled their receiving corps but are now in deed of more depth at that position.
  • The Chiefs are examining the RFA pool by hosting defensive lineman Xavier Williams on a visit. Williams is a Kansas City, Mo., native.

Raiders Trade Cordarrelle Patterson To Patriots

The Raiders will be parting ways with Cordarrelle Patterson and sending the former All-Pro kick returner to the Patriots, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. Barstool Sports first reported the deal. The Raiders have since announced the deal.

The AFC teams will exchange late-round picks in this deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms as such, reporting (via Twitter) the Raiders will receive a fifth-rounder and send out a sixth-round choice. Oakland previously did not possess a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.

Patterson has one more year remaining on his contract, and he’ll be changing teams for the second straight offseason. The Patriots will receive a player who has two first-team All-Pro honors to his credit, those coming during the former first-round pick’s time with the Vikings.

The sixth-year wideout stands to count $3.25MM against the cap this season. He worked as an auxiliary Raiders pass-catcher and gadget player during his one season in Oakland, accumulating 430 yards from scrimmage and scoring twice — both on runs. He averaged 9.3 yards per tote on 13 attempts.

Dion Lewis served as New England’s primary kick returner last season. He’s since signed with the Titans to leave that role vacant, and a franchise that’s valued special teams immensely under Bill Belichick will acquire a dangerous return man to fill Lewis’ spot. Patterson has not served as a punt returner much in his career, so it’s likely the 6-foot-2 cog will be installed on the Pats’ kick-return unit and potentially have a role as a backup wide receiver.

The 2013 first-rounder has not lived up to expectations as a receiver, but he landed on the 2013 and ’16 All-Pro teams for his return work. Patterson has six career kick-return scores, with three of those coming as a rookie.

Oakland has rearranged its wide receiving corps this offseason, jettisoning its No. 2 and No. 4 WRs from a season ago. Although, Jordy Nelson replaced Michael Crabtree. The team may be in need of some depth to take Patterson’s place. Seth Roberts is due back after receiving a $2MM roster bonus late this week. His $2.25MM base salary is now fully guaranteed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Revis, Garoppolo, Lynch

Criminal charges were dropped against free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis earlier this week, which ostensibly opens the door for him to find a new employer soon. Ben Volin of The Boston Globe reports that one league executive believes a Revis reunion with the Patriots is the only thing that makes sense, and while he would likely not serve as a starting corner in New England, he could be used as a strong safety or as cornerback depth. Interestingly, though, Karen Guregian of The Boston Herald tweets that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Revis several years ago that Revis’ skill-set did not translate to the safety position. While that does not preclude a New England reunion, it does add an interesting twist to the Revis saga, as many have taken it for granted that Revis will wind up playing safety for whoever signs him in 2017.

Now for more from the AFC:

  • As Volin notes in the same piece cited above, the Patriots’ apparent desire to trade Malcolm Butler is reflective of the team’s usual philosophy of getting rid of a player a year too soon instead of a year too late. However, the Pats have notably departed from that philosophy with respect to Jimmy Garoppolo, whom the club has been reticent to trade despite the haul of picks they could acquire in return. Volin says the Patriots’ stance with Garoppolo is simply based on the fact that he plays quarterback, and they believe that if something were to happen to Tom Brady, they could still compete for a title with Garoppolo under center. The team took a similar approach in 2014, when they held onto Ryan Mallett throughout training camp and did not deal him until they were confident that Garoppolo could handle the backup role.
  • Some Patriots fans are wondering why the club is willing to trade Butler but handed Stephon Gilmore a mega-deal this offseason. As Dan Hatman of The Scouting Academy (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com) notes, Gilmore is simply bigger than Butler, and his size and length can create more flexibility for defensive coordinator Matt Patricia when matching up against some of the game’s bigger receivers. Simply put, Gilmore is a premium man corner, and those players get paid.
  • Despite the Morris Claiborne signing, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com still expects the Jets to select a cornerback in the first or second round of this year’s draft.
  • Saturday night, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, retired running back Marshawn Lynch retweeted a message in which someone noticed that a musical playlist put together by Lynch contains a track entitled “Oakland Raiders.” The playlist was created in September 2015, but Florio believes the fact that Lynch went ahead and retweeted the message further legitimizes the Lynch-to-Raiders rumors.
  • Meanwhile, new Raiders acquisition Cordarrelle Patterson is actively recruiting free agent running back and former Vikings teammate Adrian Peterson to join him in Oakland, as Ben Goessling of ESPN.com writes. However, the latest reports about a Peterson/Oakland match suggest that Peterson has more interest in the Raiders than the Raiders have in him at the moment.
  • Sean Spence agreed to a deal with the Colts earlier today, and Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com tweets that Spence’s former team, the Titans, could use newly-acquired Jonathan Cyprien, a strong safety by trade, to fill Spence’s role as nickel linebacker.

Raiders Sign Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson initially left his Raiders visit without a contract, but the two sides later reached a deal, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Raiders have since confirmed the move.

Patterson will get $5MM guaranteed in the first year of the deal, by way of a $2.5MM signing bonus and a $2.5MM guaranteed base salary, a source tells PFT’s Mike Florio. The base deal also includes a $250K workout bonus in 2017. Through playing time incentives, Patterson can get up to $7MM in 2017. He’ll get $350K for 55% playing time, another $350K for 70% playing time, $350K for 55 receptions, and another $350K for 70 receptions. He can also make $350K for a Pro Bowl selection.

There is a second year to the deal, but it will void out if Patterson has 65 receptions or participates in 65% of the offensive snaps. If Patterson can assert himself as a receiver in Oakland, he’ll collect a fat paycheck in 2017 and truly cash in as a free agent next March.

The two-time All-Pro kick returner also visited the Bears and Redskins and was vocal about his desire to stay in Minnesota. However, the Vikings didn’t fight all that hard to keep the speedy receiver/kick returner and his market wasn’t as strong as he anticipated.

Now, he goes to Oakland to provide some much-needed depth at wide receiver. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are a solid 1-2 combo, but the rest of the team’s receiving corps was lacking. Patterson hasn’t been especially effective as a receiver, but he does have five career kick-return touchdowns and the potential is still there for him to put his athleticism to use on offense.

Patterson earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2013 and ’16 and played a role as a gadget offensive weapon during those slates. In 2015, the 6’2″ elusive talent barely factored into the Vikings’ offense, playing in 16 games and gaining just 25 yards from scrimmage. However, the 2015 Raiders witnessed Patterson’s capabilities firsthand when he took back a kickoff 93 yards for a score.

Patterson has focused on kick returns as a pro and the Raiders did not have a comparable player on their roster. Jalen Richard and Taiwan Jones shared this role last season and couldn’t produce like Patterson. Richard may stay on punt return duty, however, since Patterson has fielded just one punt in his career.

For the Vikings, this continues a string of defections. As Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press points out (via Twitter), the team has now lost seven unrestricted free agents without signing one of their own since the 2017 league year began.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.