The Vikings are adding to their defensive line. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota is signing nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the deal is worth $22MM, including $20MM in total guarantees.
Tomlinson has been a consistent starter since joining the Giants in 2017. The defensive lineman has started each of the Giants’ 64 games over the past four years, averaging 26.6 tackles and two sacks per season. He had another solid season in 2020, finishing with career-highs in tackles for loss (eight) and QB hits (10). Pro Football Focus ranked Tomlinson as the 25th-best interior defender out of 126 qualified players in 2020.
The Vikings have apparently been in the market for defensive linemen. We heard whispers earlier today that they were a potential suitor for Trey Hendrickson, who ultimately signed with the Bengals. Despite the Tomlinson signing, it sounds like Minnesota is still prepared to roll with defensive tackle Michael Pierce next season.
This won’t come as a big shock, but the Giants want to re-sign defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, as Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes. New York, however, has virtually no cap room at the moment, so GM Dave Gettleman will have his work cut out for him in trying to bring back Tomlinson and fellow D-lineman Leonard Williams.
It won’t be overly difficult to clear between $20MM-$30MM of cap space with a few obvious releases and restructures, but it’s not as though Tomlinson and Williams are Big Blue’s only priorities. The team still has major holes at wide receiver, O-line, and cornerback, so it remains to be seen if Gettleman will be able to keep his defensive front intact.
Tomlinson, Pro Football Focus’ 25th-best interior defender out of 126 qualified players in 2020, could pull down a multi-year pact worth $8MM-$10MM per season. But Vacchiano suggests that he might also be one of those players whose earning power will be weakened as a result of the reduced salary cap, so the 2017 second-rounder may opt for a one-year pact with an eye towards a return trip to free agency in 2022, when the cap may increase dramatically.
Of course, a one-year deal means that the Giants would not be able to spread out any of Tomlinson’s cap charges. So while Vacchiano believes that such an arrangement could represent New York’s best chance to bring Tomlinson back, that might only be true if his market does not bear much fruit.
Williams, meanwhile, is still shooting for the $20MM/year contract he has been seeking for some time, and given his 2020 breakout, there’s a good chance he’ll get it. He was finally able to start converting QB hits into sacks last season, finishing the year with 11.5 sacks and grading out as PFF’s 15th-best interior defender. His abilities to get to the quarterback and to stop the run make him a complete player, and even though there is some concern that he could regress to the level of solid-but-not-great play he displayed with the Jets, he is not likely to get anything less than an $18MM AAV with up to $60MM in guarantees.
Vacchiano confirms a report from last March that the Giants were unwilling to offer a long-term deal to Williams that averaged his 2020 franchise tag value of $16.1MM. At the time, that made perfect sense from New York’s perspective, but Williams was unwilling to go that low, so he chose to bet on himself (and won). This year, a franchise or transition tag for either Williams or Tomlinson would seem to be cost-prohibitive, though Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) says the $19.3MM franchise tag for Williams should not be ruled out (which makes sense if Williams is looking at a $20MM/year long-term deal).
Paul Schwartz of the New York Post unsurprisingly says Williams must be retained, but like Vacchiano, he concedes that keeping Tomlinson could be a little tougher. And assuming Williams is brought back, the club will certainly not be able to be as active in free agency as it was last year, even though the Giants do not have any other free agents of their own that qualify as major priorities. As such, New York may need to make savvy, under-the-radar signings to boost its O-line, especially at right tackle. Last year’s 16-game RT starter, Cameron Fleming, will not be re-signed as a starter, Schwartz writes.
New York, though, declined the offer, even though Tomlinson is playing out the final year of his rookie contract and despite the fact that the two sides have not made much progress in contract talks. As Dan Duggan of The Athletic observes, head coach Joe Judge did not want to trade “foundational pieces,” and he clearly sees Tomlinson as a key part of the team’s future (Twitter link). Duggan says the club also rejected overtures for tight end Evan Engram, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Big Blue was not going to deal Engram for anything less than a first-round pick.
The decision to keep Tomlinson makes plenty of sense. The Giants selected him in the second round of the 2017 draft, and unless they were convinced they would be unable to re-sign him, dealing a young, talented interior defender for a mid-round selection wouldn’t necessarily have aided in the club’s rebuilding process.
You can’t fault Green Bay for making a play for Tomlinson, though. The Packers are gearing up for a playoff push, but their run defense is among the worst in the NFL, and the 26-year-old Alabama product would have gone a long way towards solidifying their defensive front. Pro Football Focus currently ranks Tomlinson as the 14th-best interior defender in the league, and though he has just one sack this year, his pass rushing grade is almost as high as his run defense score.
2017 second-round DT Dalvin Tomlinson could also be on the move, per Dunleavy. Tomlinson is playing out the last year of his rookie contract, and while he has expressed interest in staying with the Giants long-term, there has been little progress in contract talks.
As we creep closer to the November 3 deadline, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league:
Big names like Falcons QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones are not going to be moved, as Rapoport writes in the same piece linked above. The same can be said for Jets QB Sam Darnold(though Darnold could be dealt this offseason). Gang Green may be more open to trading DT Quinnen Williams, but thus far interested teams have only offered a single second-round pick. That will not be enough to convince GM Joe Douglas to trade the talented interior defender.
Another 1-5 outfit, the Texans, also anticipate making a trade or two, per La Canfora. Houston is in desperate need of draft capital, and receivers Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller are coming up in discussions. Sources expect at least one of those players to be moved, and the team is also gauging the market for edge defender Whitney Mercilus.
One team that could have an eye on the Texans’ receivers is the Patriots, who are once again looking for a pass catcher, as La Canfora writes. One year after the team’s ill-fated trade for Mohamed Sanu, New England wants to get a weapon for QB Cam Newton, and Cooks, Fuller, and Thielen could all be options.
As other teams continue to finalize pivotal extensions, work remains for the Cowboys on this front. Contract talks are ongoing for Dallas’ standout trio — Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper — entering the team’s first preseason game, and ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes none of these contracts is particularly close to being done. Nevertheless, Jerry Jones remains confident.
“You just know like so many things it’ll happen. It’ll happen,” Jones said of the extensions. “There literally is no concern on my part at all about any timeframe. That’ll happen. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. Think about it a minute. The results are too good for them and too good for the Cowboys. That always happens when it’s good for both (sides).”
Going from the Cowboys’ off-field matters to some of their rivals’ on-field setups, here is the NFC East’s latest:
Although Colt McCoy spent the offseason rehabbing a broken leg, he emerged as the Redskins‘ starting quarterback on their first depth chart. It is not certain he will take the snaps in Week 1, but J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington indicates camp work thus far has revealed this competition has become a two-man battle between McCoy and Case Keenum. It should be expected Dwayne Haskins takes over at some point this season, but Finlay notes the first-round pick has not looked ready yet. Haskins sits as Washington’s QB3 on the first depth chart.
Despite Dexter Lawrence tipping the scales north of 340 pounds, the Giants are playing him as a five-technique defensive end, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This will accommodate the 318-pound Dalvin Tomlinson, who moved from end to tackle after Damon Harrison was traded midseason. Tomlinson is indeed operating as Big Blue’s first-string nose. Lawrence played the nose spot at Clemson but has impressed the Giants with his pass-rushing ability this offseason. The mammoth defensive lineman registered 1.5 sacks last season but collected 6.5 as a freshman in 2016. Either way, New York will boast a physically imposing defensive front.
Darius Slayton‘s encouraging offseason has not yet translated to camp, with the rookie wide receiver joining some higher-profile Giants wideouts in being unavailable. Slayton has missed 10 consecutive practices because of a hamstring injury, Dunleavy notes. For the non-Giants-following sect, Sterling Shepard broke his thumb, Corey Coleman tore his ACL and Golden Tate received a four-game suspension since camp began.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott managed to escape a suspension for a potentially troublesome incident in May, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests that if Elliott should even come close to violating the league’s personal conduct policy again, the punishment will be severe. Commissioner Roger Goodell gave everyone in the league office this week off, so Florio believes the only reason for Goodell to summon Elliott to league headquarters on Tuesday was to sufficiently scare him into staying on the straight and narrow. Goodell has been less harsh with players who run afoul of league policies in recent history, but if Elliott should put another toe out of line in the future, the commissioner will likely hand out a lengthy ban, and his decision to not suspend Elliott this time will help to justify such a measure.
Now for more the league’s east divisions:
There do not seem to be any starting jobs up for grabs along the Giants‘ defensive line, even though the presumptive starters are young and mostly unproven. However, with that youth comes a great deal of potential, and one of the keys to Big Blue’s immediate prospects is the realization of that potential. Third-year player Dalvin Tomlinson, second-year talent B.J. Hill, and rookie Dexter Lawrence are expected to open the season atop the Giants’ D-line depth chart, as Paul Schwartz of the New York Post writes, and the addition of Lawrence allows Tomlinson to slide into a traditional nose tackle spot, to which he is better-suited.
In a separate 2019 positional preview piece, Schwartz examines the Giants‘ tight end group, which is headed by Evan Engram. Engram had a disappointing start to 2018, his second professional season, but when Odell Beckham missed the final four games of the season, Engram excelled and finished with some positive momentum. Now that OBJ is in Cleveland, New York will need Engram to show more of the same in a crucial year for his development. The club’s second TE, Rhett Ellison, is a favorite of HC Pat Shurmur, while returnee Scott Simonson will have to hold off C.J. Conrad — a UDFA who impressed this spring — and former Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, another UDFA who is trying to make the club as a TE/gadget player.
Vic Carucci of BNBlitz.com says it’s possible that Bills GM Brandon Beane and LeSean McCoy have adamantly pushed the notion that McCoy will be the team’s starter in 2019 in order to generate some trade interest. After all, the club does have a large stable of RBs, and McCoy, a 2020 free agent, appears to be nearing the end of his career. But Carucci says he has heard nothing to indicate that Buffalo is seeking to trade McCoy.
The Giants have signed three draft picks, second-round defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (Alabama; previously reported), third-round quarterback Davis Webb(California) and fifth-round defensive endAvery Moss (Youngstown State), per a team announcement. Additionally, the club has added 14 undrafted free agents, all of whom are listed below:
The Giants have agreed to terms with second-round defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, tweet his agents at SportsTrust. Tomlinson, the No. 55 overall selection, could help New York make up for the loss of Johnathan Hankins, who signed a free agent deal with Indianapolis. Although he’s more of a nose tackle, Tomlinson will likely play much more three-technique for the Giants given the presence of All Pro Damon Harrison at nose. Tomlinson’s four-year deal with Big Blue should be worth approximately $4.572MM in total, while the Alabama product will receive a signing bonus of ~$1.465MM.
The Jets have signed sixth-round cornerback Jeremy Clark, the club announced today. Clark, a Michigan product, likely would have been selected much higher in the draft had he not torn his ACL after playing in only four games last season. Despite a pressing need in the defensive backfield, New York only picked one other corner (fellow sixth-rounder Derrick Jones) in addition to Clark, so the former Wolverine could have a shot to earn snaps during his rookie campaign. Clark, whose four-year deal should come with a signing bonus of roughly $148K, becomes the third Jets draft pick to sign, joining Jones and running back Elijah McGuire.
The Steelers announced that they’ve signed seventh-round linebacker Keion Adams. A Western Michigan product, Adams is viewed as an edge rusher in Pittsburgh’s 3-4 scheme, according to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. As such, Adams could face an uphill battle to make the Steelers’ roster given that the club added first-rounder T.J. Watt to an outside linebacker crop that already includes Bud Dupree and James Harrison. Adams posted 13 sacks over his final two years with WMU.