Cordarrelle Patterson

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.

NFC Notes: D-Jax, Eagles, Patterson, Saints

It hasn’t been an overly positive week for the Redskins, who became the first team in NFL history to lose two 1,000-yard receivers from the previous year in the same offseason. They lost Chris Baker and fired GM Scot McCloughan as well. Washington, though, did add Terrelle Pryor on a one-year deal, and before DeSean Jackson‘s Buccaneers agreement became finalized made a late push to keep him, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Reports continued to push Jackson out of Washington due to salary escalation, and the Bucs’ three-year, $33.5MM deal (with $20MM in guarantees) proved to be what the 30-year-old deep threat preferred.

Here’s more from the NFC.

  • The Eagles attempted to trade Mychal Kendricks in yet another offseason but saw most of his 2017 salary become guaranteed on Friday. A Kendricks trade would create just $1.8MM in cap space, but a source tells Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com there’s still a chance he’s dealt. The 26-year-old played just 27 percent of Philly’s defensive snaps last season.
  • Cordarrelle Patterson has visited three teams — the Redskins, Raiders and Bears — but may want to stay with the Vikings. The fifth-year wideout/return man said on Snapchat (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press), “All I am hearing is stay with the Vikings!! Trust me I want to… But we all know business is business … So what you (going to) do, Rick.” It’s safe assume “Rick” is Vikings GM Rick Spielman. The Vikings did not pick up Patterson’s fifth-year option in 2016, but given his productivity as a return man (five career kick-return touchdowns, two first-team All-Pro distinctions), it’s reasonable to suggest the Vikes would want him back at a price cheaper than the $7.915MM it would have cost them to pick up that option.
  • Rex Burkhead visited the Falcons today, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This marks the first update on Burkhead since he became a free agent. He rated as PFR’s No. 7 UFA running back this year. Given a bigger role with the Bengals after Giovani Bernard went down, Burkhead averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season and gained 489 yards from scrimmage on 91 touches. The Falcons, of course, have one of the best backfields in football, so Burkhead wouldn’t stand to leapfrog Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman.
  • Prior to Marcus Cooper signing with the Bears, the Saints expressed interest in the fifth-year cornerback, Herbie Teope of NOLA.com reports.
  • The NFL will strip the Patriots of the fourth-round pick they acquired from the Saints (No. 118) in the Brandin Cooks deal. (This represents the last Deflategate penalty.) But Mike Florio of Pro Football talk argued the Saints should have worked the phones to attempt to trade down from that spot. However, the trade became official on Saturday afternoon. The pick will now essentially disappear, unless New England acquires a higher fourth-round pick. The Patriots must forfeit their highest fourth-round pick, which was No. 132 prior to the Cooks trade, as part of the Deflategate penalty. Florio argues the Saints should have called teams that picked in between Nos. 119-131 to trade down — thus sending that selection to the Patriots — while picking up a minor return from another team in doing so.

Cordarrelle Patterson Meets With Bears

The Bears are reportedly making a push to sign free agent receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and the club has now officially taken a visit with him, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.Cordarrelle Patterson (vertical)

Patterson is an excellent kick returner, but he has yet to do much as a receiver in the NFL. This past season, he set a new career high with 52 receptions, but he averaged just 8.7 yards per catch. The Bears might see Patterson as a late bloomer and they could find a gem in the former Viking if they can get him to clean up his route running.

Patterson, 26 later this month, has been breaking the hearts of fantasy owners for years. Last season, however, he earned a second career All-Pro nod by averaging 31.7 yards per kick return. For his career, he has averaged 30+ yards per kick return attempt (it’s a lot higher if you subtract his 2014 showing) and has five TDs off of returns over the last four years.

Patterson has also met with the Redskins and will visit with the Raiders, an meeting that will take place on Sunday, per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patterson Meeting With Redskins, Raiders

Wideout Cordarrelle Patterson met with the Redskins today and is set to meet with the Raiders, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The Bears were previously said to be interested in the receiver, but nothing indicates that the free agent will be visiting Chicago.

Cordarrelle Patterson (vertical)The former first-rounder never defined his place on the Vikings roster during his four seasons with the team, but he did prove his worth as a returner. The two-time Pro Bowler has returned 134 career kickoffs for 4,075 yards (30.4 average) and five touchdowns. On offense, Patterson has 132 career receptions for 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns, and he has another 31 carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

This past season, Patterson caught a career-high 52 passes for 453 yards and two scores.

In Washington, Patterson would be joining a receivers corps that includes recently-signing Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder, and Josh Doctson. In Oakland, he’d presumably compete with Seth Roberts to play behind Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.

Patterson was listed 12th in our positional free agent rankings.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents

It’s free agency week! This year, thanks to the salary cap increase, the dollars will be flying and players will make more than you ever could have expected. Our lists for offense and defense rank free agents based on overall ability, but our Top 50 ranks players based on earning power. Here, you’ll get a good sense of what the market will be like this week and who the big fish are.

The league’s “legal tampering” window will open on Tuesday at 11:00am CT. Technically, teams and players aren’t permitted to finalize agreements on contracts during that legal tampering window, but that’s often treated as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. We will almost certainly see handshake agreements go down on Tuesday and Wednesday before they become official on Thursday, the technical beginning of free agency.

Our list of 2017’s top 50 free agents doesn’t include restricted free agents, or franchise tagged players, since they’re effectively restricted free agents as well.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive right in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2017, along with a few predictions on how much they might earn and what teams could be in the mix to sign them:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB (Texans): Bouye is an overnight sensation, going from unknown to elite talent in the blink of an eye. No one knows exactly what to make of Bouye, but his upside is too much for teams to pass up. The Texans declined to use the franchise tag on the 25-year-old (26 in August), but they’re still hoping to get a deal done this week. The Jets are said to have interest, but it’s not clear if they’ll have the room to get something done. Cornerback-needy teams like the Panthers, Saints, Jaguars, Titans, Bears, and Eagles can be expected to at least kick the tires on this year’s top player in the secondary. Could something like Janoris Jenkins‘ five year, $62.5MM contract ($28.8MM fully guaranteed) from last year be within reach? Jenkins had a longer history of success than Bouye, but consider these facts: Bouye nearly two years younger than Jenkins was at time of signing and the salary cap has risen by about $12MM.
Signed with Jaguars for five years, $67.5MM.A.J. Bouye (vertical)

2. Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears): He was hurt for most of 2015 and he slumped along with the entire Bears offense in 2016, but his natural ability is still evident and he is a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. At one point, it seemed like Jeffery could wind up as the league’s highest-paid wide receiver. That won’t be the case, but he will likely get more cash than any other wide receiver in this year’s class. The Eagles and Titans have been hot on his tail for some time now. The 49ers could also get involved and a return to the Bears cannot be ruled out either. Ultimately, Jeffery should wind up fetching at least $10MM per year and perhaps as much as $12MM per year on his next deal.
Signed with Eagles for one year, $9.5MM.

3. Kenny Stills, WR (Dolphins): Jeffery isn’t the only wide receiver who could fetch $12MM per year. Stills isn’t necessarily the best wide receiver on his own team, but he is just on the cusp of his 25th birthday and his ability to stretch the field is tantalizing. It doesn’t sound like the Dolphins are ready to be the highest bidder for his services and it’s not hard to imagine a team like the Eagles landing him. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the potential suitors for Jeffery and Stills: the Eagles, Titans, Bears, and 49ers will probably come calling. The Rams may not have enough room to squeeze in Stills, but they could certainly use a playmaker like him if they do not re-sign Kenny Britt. Stills reportedly likes the West Coast (who doesn’t?) so the Niners and Rams could have a leg up on the others if the bidding is close.
Re-signed with Dolphins for four years, $32MM.

4. Dont’a Hightower, LB (Patriots): The market is capped for non-rush linebackers, but Hightower is pretty much the best at what he does and is also lauded for his intangibles. The Patriots have always embraced the “next man up” philosophy, so it is possible they will allow him to go elsewhere. The Dolphins have been frequently connected to Hightower, but that might be too ambitious for a team that has multiple major needs to address. The Colts might also make sense, but the price might be too rich for their blood. A Patriots return appears to be the most likely outcome, but anything is possible.
Re-signed with Patriots for four years, $35.5MM. 

5. Kevin Zeitler, G (Bengals): Zeitler has age on his side and he’s one of the safest free agents in the top ten after three consecutive years of dominance. Interior offensive linemen don’t get as much love as their counterparts on the outside, but they are still incredibly vital and Zeitler’s next contract will reflect that. If he doesn’t circle back to the Bengals, the Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers, and Seahawks all make varying degrees of sense for Zeitler. From a football standpoint, you can add the Jets to that group too, but I’m not sure they can meet a ~$12MM/year asking price.
Signed with Browns for five years, $60MM.

6. Logan Ryan, CB (Patriots): There are bigger names available at the cornerback position, but Ryan slots ahead of many of them after a career year. It also doesn’t hurt that this fresh-faced Super Bowl champ only just turned 26 in February. If the Patriots don’t tie him down, Ryan’s earning power could conceivably vault him past Trumaine Johnson in terms of guaranteed cash. The Jaguars and Titans would be wise to zero in on Ryan if they can’t land Bouye and it’s possible that some of their evaluators might even prefer Ryan over the Houston standout. Ryan’s next deal will probably pay him eight figures per year and it should be a lengthy pact.
Signed with Titans for three years, $30MM.

7. Terrelle Pryor, WR (Browns): There is strong mutual interest in a new deal between Pryor and the Browns. Still, the Browns passed on the opportunity to franchise tag the Ohio State product and he now appears poised to test the open market. With pretty much just one year to show, how will Pryor fare in free agency? His next deal should pay him at least $10MM/year and he could get up to $12MM/year. In addition to the Browns, the usual suspects for this year’s high-end WRs will explore signing Pryor (say it with me): Eagles, Titans, and 49ers. There’s conflicting word about whether the Steelers will get involved. The Giants are known to have interest, but I don’t think they’ll be splurging on free agents like they did one year ago.
Signed with Redskins for one year, $6MM.

8 .Ricky Wagner, OT (Ravens): There’s already talk of Wagner fetching around $10MM/year and it’s not like this year’s free agent market is flush with young, quality tackles. When you also consider the lack of quality tackles in the draft, it’s apparent that Wagner is about to get PAID, in all caps.Believe it or not, $10MM/year might be his floor. When all is said and done, he’ll be the league’s biggest earner at right tackle. The Bears are particularly interested in Wagner, so he could go from the AFC North to the NFC North this week.
Signed with Lions for five years, $47.5MM.

Calais Campbell (vertical)9. Calais Campbell, DL (Cardinals): Campbell was supposed to be an afterthought in Arizona after the addition of Chandler Jones. Perhaps motivated by a perceived slight, Campbell turned in a stellar year. Now, the Cardinals would very much like to keep him, but they can only go so far as they back up the Brinks truck for Jones and look into retaining other key free agents. If Jones does not agree to a cap-smoothing long-term deal between now and March 9th, the odds of Campbell leaving increase. The Jaguars are said to be a leading contender for Campbell while the Titans, Broncos, Colts, and Bears could also use a force like him. His age (31 in September) gives him a bit of a ceiling in terms of overall compensation, but he should still do nicely this month.
Signed with Jaguars for four years, $60MM.

10. Stephon Gilmore, CB (Bills): In terms of pure talent, Gilmore might be the best cornerback available. Trouble is, no one knows what to make of him after a down 2016. Some have openly theorized that Gilmore was playing it safe to avoid injury in his pivotal contract year. It’s also possible that Buffalo’s injuries in the front seven put undue stress on the secondary. The Bears are reportedly high on Gilmore and he may represent a cheaper option than Bouye or Ryan. A Bills return would also make sense here.
Signed with Patriots for five years, $65MM.

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Bears Interested In Cordarrelle Patterson

The Bears are expected to make a push for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, according to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News (on Twitter). Cordarrelle Patterson (vertical)

Patterson is an excellent kick returner, but he has yet to do much as a receiver in the NFL. This past season, he set a new career high with 52 receptions, but he averaged just 8.7 yards per catch. The Bears might see Patterson as a late bloomer and they could find a gem in the former Viking if they can get him to clean up his route running.

Patterson, 26 later this month, has been breaking the hearts of fantasy owners for years. Last season, however, he earned a second career All-Pro nod by averaging 31.7 yards per kick return. For his career, he has averaged 30+ yards per kick return attempt (it’s a lot higher if you subtract his 2014 showing) and has five TDs off of returns over the last four years.

He can get a nice paycheck as a return specialist, but he’ll get far more if some team out there believes he can grow into a legitimate offensive weapon. In theory, a player like Patterson could help lessen the blow for the Bears if they lose Alshon Jeffery to free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.