Da'Norris Searcy

IR/Return Decisions: Panthers, Searcy, Cowboys, Jaguars

With the 2018 campaign nearly in the books, NFL clubs are making their final decisions on players to return (or not return) from injured reserve. Each team is allowed to bring two players back from IR, but said players must have been retained on their respective club’s initial 53-man roster. Once an IR player returns to practice, his club will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him to their 53-man roster; if he’s not activated, the player will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Here’s the latest on IR/return players:

  • The Panthers have opted not to activate safety Da’Norris Searcy from injured reserve, tweets veteran reporter Howard Balzer. Searcy was designated to return three weeks ago, but once that 21-day window expired without him having been placed on Carolina’s 53-man roster, Searcy was done for the year. It’s entirely possible the Panthers would have activated Searcy if they were anywhere near playoff contention, but most postseason models give Carolina less than a one percent chance of securing a playoff berth, so the club probably didn’t feel the need to risk Searcy’s health. It’s doing the same thing with quarterback Cam Newton, shutting down the veteran signal-caller with two games to go. Searcy inked a two-year deal with the Panthers this offseason, but Carolina would incur just $650K in dead cap by cutting him.
  • The Cowboys have designated cornerback C.J. Goodwin to return from injured reserve, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). If he is activated, Goodwin isn’t likely to play a major role on a Dallas defense that ranks as a top-10 unit in DVOA. The Cowboys already have three locked-in nickel package starters in Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Anthony Brown, but Goodwin could offer depth and play on special teams, joining fellow reserve defensive back Jourdan Lewis in that regard. Goodwin has only played 188 total defensive snaps over his four-year pro career, but he’s never posted a season in which he played fewer than 45% of his club’s special teams snaps.
  • The Jaguars have designated linebacker Donald Payne to return from injured reserve, per Balzer (Twitter link). Payne is a pure special-teamer (he’s played just three defensive snaps since joining Jacksonville in 2017), as the Jaguars deploy Telvin Smith and Myles Jack as their starting linebackers. On the year, the Jaguars rank third in special teams DVOA, per Football Outsiders.

Panthers Designate Da’Norris Searcy For Return

The Panthers designated safety Da’Norris Searcy to return from injured reserve, per a team announcement. Searcy has already missed eight games due to a pair of concussions suffered in September, so he can be activated at any time. 

Searcy joined the Panthers on a two-year, $5.7MM deal this offseason with the ability to make up to $3.1MM in 2017. A former fourth-round pick, Searcy managed 12 tackles and one interception last year while grading as the NFL’s No. 61 safety among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

After Searcy’s exit, the Panthers signed former 49ers safety Eric Reid to fill the void. Reid has been serviceable this season, though the advanced metrics indicate that he is not performing at his 2017 level. It’s not clear whether Searcy will regain his starting role, but he will certainly be in the rotation if he’s able to play.

Per league rules, the Panthers have a 21-day window to activate the veteran. If he is not activated during that time, Searcy will be ineligible to return this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Place Da’Norris Searcy On IR

The Panthers have placed safety Da’Norris Searcy on IR, according to a team announcement. Searcy recently suffered his second concussion inside of a month, necessitating the move. 

Searcy, 29, suffered the first concussion in the Panthers’ second preseason game. In theory, he can return after eight weeks on IR, but no timetable has been given for the veteran.

Without Searcy, the Panthers will likely push rookie Rashaan Gaulden or Colin Jones into the starting lineup. Neither player is an ideal fill-in, so the Panthers may want to explore a free agent safety market that still includes the likes of former 49er Eric Reid.

Searcy joined the Panthers on a two-year, $5.7MM deal this offseason with the ability to make up to $3.1MM in 2017. A former fourth-round pick, Searcy managed 12 tackles and one interception last year while grading as the NFL’s No. 61 safety among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers To Sign Da’Norris Searcy

The Panthers are have signed free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy to a two-year deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The pact is worth $5.7MM, and Searcy can earn as much as $3.1MM in 2017.

Carolina is on the lookout for defensive back help after releasing veteran Kurt Coleman earlier this month. Coleman played on nearly three-quarters of the Panthers’ defensive snaps in 2017, second only to fellow starter Mike Adams. At present, Colin Jones — who has spent most of his career as a special-teamer — is projected to start alongside Adams, but Searcy will give Carolina another option.

Searcy, 29, inked a four-year deal with the Titans in 2015 and began his tenure with the club as a full-time starter. Tennessee moved to a safety rotation in subsequent seasons, however, and Searcy saw only 33% playtime in 2017. A former fourth-round pick, Searcy managed 12 tackles and one interception last year while grading as the NFL’s No. 61 safety among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.

The free agent safety market has been extremely slow-moving this offseason, and even with Searcy off the board, a number of high-quality defensive backs remain available. Tre Boston, Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tyvon Branch, Ron Parker, and Reggie Nelson are among the safeties who have yet to land new contracts.

[RELATED: Panthers Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Cut S Da’Norris Searcy

The Titans have released safety Da’Norris Searcy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Searcy had one year remaining on his Titans contract. 

By cutting Searcy, the Titans will save $3.85MM with $1.125MM in dead money left on the cap. That’s down from his original deal thanks to a restructuring of his contract last year, but it was not enough to keep his spot on the team.

Searcy netted a four-year, $24MM+ deal in free agency from the Titans in 2015, based off the strength of his 2014 campaign with Buffalo. The strong safety performed well in the first year of the deal, but his play dipped in ’16 and ’17.

Last year, Searcy amassed 23 tackles with one interception. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 61 ranked safety.

The Titans could explore safety in free agency, but they seem set with Johnathan Cyprien and Kevin Byard as their starters. Byard excelled in 2017, but injuries slowed Cyprien in the first year of his four-year, $25MM contract with Tennessee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jonathan Cyprien Out “Several Weeks”

Jonathan Cyprien‘s first game as a Titan did not go well, and it doesn’t look like the veteran safety will be ready for his second Tennessee contest for a bit.

The Titans starting safety suffered a hamstring injury Sunday against the Raiders, one that Mike Mularkey said is expected to keep the fifth-year veteran out “several weeks.”

Cyprien started alongside Kevin Byard, and Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com expects Da’Norris Searcy to step in for Cyprien with the first-stringers. Searcy signed as a UFA two years ago but accepted a pay cut this offseason to stay in Tennessee. The 28-year-old Searcy started the past two seasons for the Titans.

Cyprien received a four-year, $25MM contract to further shore up Tennessee’s back line. The former Jaguars starter has never missed more than two games in a season. He started all 16 Jaguars contests last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans’ Da’Norris Searcy, Harry Douglas Accept Paycuts

The Titans have agreed to contract restructures with defensive back Da’Norris Searcy and wide receiver Harry Douglas, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter links).Harry Douglas (Vertical)

Searcy, 28, has actually agreed to reduce his salary in each of the next two seasons. In 2017, Searcy’s pay will decrease from $5.625MM to $3.4MM, while in 2018, his salary will drop from $6.125MM to $2.8MM. He’ll now have $750K worth of incentives built into each season, per Yates. Searcy started 14 games for the Titans last year as part of safety rotation. Tennessee has since added free agent Jonathan Cyprien, but has lost Daimion Stafford and Rashad Johnson.

Douglas, meanwhile, will see his salary cut from $3.75MM to $1.75MM, reports Yates. The 32-year-old Douglas can make up nearly all of that total ($1.75MM) through incentives. Douglas played a far less critical role than Searcy for the Titans in 2016, as he managed only 15 receptions for 210 yards in his eighth NFL campaign. He’ll be on a wideout depth chart that also includes Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, Eric Weems, and Tre McBride.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Titans Sign Da’Norris Searcy

WEDNESDAY, 3:10pm: The Titans have officially announced the signing of Searcy (via Twitter). Per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the four-year deal has a base value of $23.75MM with $10.5MM guaranteed, including a $4.5MM signing bonus.

TUESDAY, 3:50pm: A Titans source confirmed to ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky (on Twitter) that the deal is done. Searcy will get $24MM over four years with $10.5MM guaranteed, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

1:06pm: A source tells Anderson (Twitter link) that Searcy’s camp remains in talks with the Chiefs and Bears, in addition to the Titans.

12:48pm: A source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that Searcy’s camp is still fielding calls from other teams. Since the NFL expressed its displeasure with teams reaching agreements prior to the official start of free agency, there has been plenty of push-back whenever an agreement is reported, and I’d expect that’s the case here too — I think the Titans and Searcy will ultimately finalize a deal, but it’s not official yet.

12:28pm: The deal is expected to be $24MM over four years with $10.5MM guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).

11:09am: The Titans are “poised to land” Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennesssean (via Twitter). While Wyatt doesn’t say that an agreement in place, it sounds like Tennessee is a good bet to officially lock up Searcy when he becomes a free agent later today.

Searcy, 26, started a career-high 13 games for the Bills in 2014, racking up 65 tackles for the club to go along with three interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The former fourth-round pick has shown a knack for coming up with big plays over the last couple years — in 2013, he scored touchdowns on an interception return and a fumble return.

Having also been linked to the Giants, Bears, Colts, Texans, Raiders and Dolphins, Searcy had no shortage of suitors over the last few days. Assuming he finalizes an agreement with the Titans, he’d replace Bernard Pollard, who was released last month.

NFC East Rumors: Graham, Cousins, Allen

The Giants‘ offer to Brandon Graham was only for one year, source tell Jordan Raanan of the Star-Ledger. The Eagles and Giants were the final two teams in the running for his services. Ultimately, Graham signed a four-year, $26MM deal to stay in Philly. More from the NFC East..

  • In an interview on 106.7 The Fan, Washington president Bruce Allen said nobody has called to inquire about a trade for quarterback Kirk Cousins, Zac Boyer of The Washington Times tweets.
  • Allen also said Washington has “had conversations” with the agents for Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams about long-term contract extensions (link).
  • The Giants have “sniffed around” free agent safety Da’Norris Searcy, tweets Nick Powell of NJ.com. Searcy should have no shortage of suitors, having also been linked to the Bears, Colts, Texans, Raiders and Dolphins.
  • A source tells Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star Telegram (on Twitter) not to expect any action from the Cowboys on the first day of free agency. In fact, his exact words were, “y’all are going to get bored waiting on us.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Free Agent Rumors: Melton, Parker, Graham

The chase for defensive tackle Henry Melton is heating up, as Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports tweets. Melton has heard from six teams so far and he’s likely to take a few trips this week to visit with interested teams. The Cowboys declined Melton’s option in February after he compiled 15 tackles, five sacks, and four passes defended in 2014. His season ended in December when he was placed on IR with a serious bone bruise bordering on a fracture. Here’s the latest free agent news from around the league..

  • The Dolphins‘ interest in free agent safety Ron Parker is quite real, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets. However, they have some serious competition for his services as there are six to eight teams that stand as legitimate suitors for his services. We heard recently that the four-year veteran, who played corner and safety for the Chiefs last year, has drawn the eye of several teams, including the Giants, Jets, Buccaneers and Falcons. The Jets also have interest in Parker and he could be on the Eagles’ radar now that Devin McCourty is off the board.
  • Eagles free agent linebacker Brandon Graham is leaning towards the Dolphins and Titans, but now the Giants may make him an offer he can’t refuse, Derrick Gunn of CSNPhilly.com tweets. Pass rushing is thought to be a priority for the Giants this offseason. Recently, Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer speculated that Graham could net a deal north of $40MM in total value and $20MM in guarantees.
  • The Vikings still aren’t close on a deal with center Joe Berger, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com tweets. They’re working on one with restricted free agent running back Matt Asiata, however.
  • The Bears are currently targeting inside linebackers and safeties, Aaron Leming of BearReport.com tweets. He lists Mason Foster, Da’Norris Searcy, and Antrel Rolle as names to watch. Rolle is one of the Bears’ top targets and they appear to be the frontrunners for his services, Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com tweets.