Dante Fowler Jr.

Failed Trades: Beasley, Fowler, Jets, Jags

After the trade deadline passes each year, there are inevitably reports about the trades that were discussed but never consummated. For instance, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that teams were trying to trade for Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley (video link). Beasley has just one sack this year, and he has regressed considerably since his First Team All-Pro performance in 2016, but Atlanta believes it can make the playoffs this season, and it was not prepared to move a foundational piece like Beasley, who is under contract through 2019 via the fifth-year option.

Now for more reports concerning trades that never happened, which nonetheless shed some light on the teams that declined to make the deals, the clubs that tried to make the deals, and the players themselves:

  • The Jets, desperate for pass rushing help, inquired on former Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler over the summer, and they tried again at last week’s trade deadline, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com details. The Rams ultimately acquired Fowler in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder and 2020 fifth-rounder, and while the Jets submitted a similar offer about a half hour before the 4pm deadline on October 30, they also wanted a fourth-rounder to come back to them. As such, Jacksonville pulled the trigger on the Rams’ offer.
  • Interestingly, before dealing him to the Saints in August, the Jets offered quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the Jaguars in a one-for-one swap for Fowler, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Jacksonville rebuffed that proposal, even though it knew that Fowler was probably on the way out, and given their QB struggles, that decision may have made a major difference in the Jags’ season.
  • Fowler may not have been the Rams‘ first choice for pass rushing help. We already knew that Los Angeles had made a significant offer for Khalil Mack before he was dealt to the Bears, but Schefter writes that the Rams also called the Texans to discuss Jadeveon Clowney in the first weeks of the season, and as late as last week, they made a push to acquire the BillsJerry Hughes.
  • Several teams, including the Eagles, called the Jets in an effort to acquire deep threat Robby Anderson, per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link). However, Gang Green opted to hold on to Anderson because the development of Sam Darnold remains the team’s top priority, and it did not want to remove one of Darnold’s biggest weapons.

South Notes: Bucs, Colts, Vinatieri, Jaguars

Although the Buccaneers ultimately stood pat prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline, they did inquire on available cornerbacks, tweets Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Only one cornerback — former Giant/current Saint Eli Apple — was traded near the deadline, but others, including Janoris Jenkins (Giants), Chris Harris and Bradley Roby (Broncos), and Gareon Conley (Raiders), were thought to be available. Tampa Bay has already lost corners Vernon Hargreaves and Marcus Williams for the season, and are currently fielding the NFL’s worst pass defense by DVOA, so adding help in the back end was certainly a priority. The Buccaneers reportedly also targeted Giants safety Landon Collins but weren’t able to come to an agreement with New York.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, now the NFL’s all-time scoring leader, has no interest in playing for any team besides Indianapolis, according to Mike Chappell of FOX59 (Twitter link). Although he’s now 45 years old, Vinatieri intends to play beyond the 2018 campaign, and the Colts would have interest in re-signing him if he keeps producing at his current level. As Chappell notes, Vinatieri and his family have settled in Indianapolis — he’s now been with the Colts for longer than he played for the Patriots — and the Colts should be contenders in 2019. Vinatieri, who signed a one-year, $3.625MM deal in the spring, has converted 14-of-16 field goals and 21-of-23 extra points this season.
  • Both the Jaguars and the Rams believed that moving Dante Fowler out of his home state of Florida would be beneficial to the young pass rusher, as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com writes. Fowler, who was traded to Los Angeles on Tuesday, played collegiately at the University of Florida, and there’s a feeling that relocating — be it to California or anywhere that is not Florida — will be a positive. Additionally, Jacksonville has several looming defensive extensions on the horizon, including deals for stars Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue, so keeping Fowler around wasn’t a must. Plus, as Breer details, Fowler wasn’t exactly a key cog on the Jaguars’ defense, as he’d played on only 32% of the club’s defensive snaps to this point.
  • In case you missed it, Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport — whom New Orleans traded up to select in the first round of this year’s draft — is expected to miss a month or so after suffering a toe injury. Here’s how the Saints intend to replace the rookie pass rusher.

Deadline Notes: DT, Fowler, Collins, Bell

There were five trades made on deadline day, but none of them involved Giants safety Landon Collins. Appearing on ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show, the 24-year-old said New York was “asking a little bit too much,” leading to suitors shying away from a deal.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY writes that the Giants were ultimately seeking a 2019 second-rounder and a late-round pick in 2020, but no team offered more than a third. The Chiefs and Buccaneers were among the teams to have made bids for the defensive back.

Considering all of the rumors surrounding the Giants, Collins admitted that he was a bit on edge up until the deadline.

“Yeah I was very anxious honestly,” Collins said (via Vacchiano). “I heard multiple teams offered a lot. It’s crazy. My agent called me and I looked at my phone and thought ‘Oh God.’”

Below are some more deadline notes from around the NFL…

  • Before the Broncos traded wideout Demaryius Thomas to the Texans, both the Patriots and Eagles made competitive offers for the veteran, reports Mike Klis 9News in Denver (via Twitter). The Titans also made a late bid for the receiver. Denver ultimately sent Thomas and a seventh-round pick to Houston for a fourth-round pick and a seventh-round pick. New England had previously been connected to the 30-year-old. Philly ended up making a trade with the Lions for wideout Golden Tate, another wideout the Patriots were eyeing.
  • The 2019 third-round pick sent to the Jaguars in the Dante Fowler trade is conditional, tweets Howard Balzer. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the conditional draft pick will be based on how many compensatory picks the Rams receive. If Los Angeles does receive a compensatory pick, that will be sent to Jacksonville. If the Rams receive more than one compensatory pick, the Jaguars will receive the higher selection. If the Rams don’t get any compensatory picks, then they’ll simply send their own pick to complete the trade. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets that Los Angeles is expecting compensatory picks for the offseason losses of Trumaine Johnson and Sammy Watkins. Jacksonville also received a 2020 fifth-rounder in the Fowler deal.
  • As ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler points out (via Twitter), the Steelers unwillingness to trade Le’Veon Bell means the running back will now have two weeks to report to the team. If the Pro Bowler fails to show up by November 13th, he won’t be allowed to play this season. Fowler notes that Bell is still intending on playing this season, but he still hasn’t informed the Steelers of his plans.
  • The Ravens traditionally don’t trade draft picks for players, especially during the season. As Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes, prior to today, the team had only made one significant pre-deadline deal (for left tackle Eugene Monroe in 2013). However, today’s trade for Ty Montgomery followed general manager Ozzie Newsome‘s “right player, right price” attitude. Baltimore ended up sending the Packers a seventh-rounder for a versatile offensive weapon who had more than 800 all-purpose yards only two seasons ago. While the 25-year-old may not be as flashy of a name as LeSean McCoy or Jordan Howard, Zrebiec believes the Ravens gave up minor draft capital for a player who could end up helping them down the stretch.

Jaguars Trade DE Dante Fowler To Rams

The rich get richer. On Tuesday, the Jaguars agreed to trade defensive end Dante Fowler to the Rams, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. In exchange, the Rams will send a 2019 third-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Jaguars, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

After investing heavily in their defensive line this offseason, the Rams certainly didn’t have to make this move. However, the aggressive front office in L.A. was unwilling to sit idly by and watch a former Top 5 draft pick go elsewhere.

The Jaguars fielded several calls on Fowler leading up to the deadline and the Rams apparently came to the table with the best offer of the bunch.

Fowler will offer edge rush support for a front seven that already features the likes of Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers, and Ethan Westbrooks. In limited playing time this year, Fowler notched two sacks and has played better than ever before, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus.

Fowler is in the final year of his rookie contract and the Rams have little breathing room under the cap, so it will be tough for the Rams to keep him beyond the 2018 season. In light of that, the price tag of a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick may seem steep, but it’s important to note that the Rams have plenty of draft ammo thanks to previous trades and compensatory picks.

With a disappointing 3-5 record, the Jaguars clearly recognize that their playoff hopes are dwindling. The Fowler trade does not mean they’re waving the white flag, per se, but it’s a signal that they are keeping an eye on their prospects for 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars DE Dante Fowler Drawing Interest

The Jaguars’ phones have been ringing with serious interest in defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The asking price is high, but Pelissero says Fowler is a player to watch as a teams look for pass rush help. 

Fowler, the former No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft, has immense talent, but also comes with baggage. The pass rusher has a history of off-the-field missteps and was sidelined for the first game of the season for racking up three misdemeanor charges in a 2017 arrest. Fowler was also hit with an unusual preseason suspension this year for “fighting and violation of team rules.”

On the field, Fowler has been an effective reserve, notching two tackles in seven games. As far as Pro Football Focus is concerned, he’s in the midst of his best season to date. Fowler currently ranks as the league’s No. 34 ranked edge defender, though his sample size of 165 snaps pales in comparison to many others on the list.

Last year, Fowler recorded a career-high eight sacks, but the club declined his fifth-year option for 2019. Still, even as they declined the option, it was reported that the Jaguars had not ruled out a long-term deal with Fowler down the road, so they’re not likely to give him away for cheap today. It’s also worth noting that the Jaguars could get a compensatory pick for Fowler if he leaves in free agency.

The Jets, who are in desperate need of pass rush help, inquired on Fowler over the summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Inquire On Jaguars’ Dante Fowler

The Jets reached out to the Jaguars to gauge their interest level in trading defensive end Dante Fowler., sources tell Manish Mehta of the Daily News. It’s not immediately clear whether the Jaguars are interested in such a deal. 

Fowler, the former No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft, has immense talent, but also comes with baggage. The pass rusher has a history of off-the-field missteps and will be sidelined for the first game of the season after racking up three misdemeanor charges in a 2017 arrest. Fowler was also hit with an unusual preseason suspension this year for “fighting and violation of team rules.”

Jaguars boss Tom Coughlin isn’t one to tolerate such behavior, and that likely factored into the team’s decision to decline Fowler’s fifth-year option for 2019. Still, even as they declined the option, it was reported that the Jaguars had not ruled out a long-term deal with Fowler down the road. And the Jaguars could get a compensatory pick for Fowler if he leaves in free agency, so they won’t be giving him away to the Jets or any other team.

Fowler managed eight sacks last year, but the Jaguars were wary of committing to him after he missed all of his would-be rookie season and was a bit inconsistent in 2016.

The Jets could certainly use a talented pass rusher, and they haven’t shied away from problematic personalities over the last few years, so Fowler could be a logical fit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Ramsey, Jets, Decker

The Jaguars suspended cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week of preseason action, but the ban won’t void his guarantees, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). That’s because the Jags suspended Ramsey for “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player,” rather than “conduct detrimental.” The small difference in language made a huge difference in the outcome for Ramsey, and probably kept the team on good terms with one of its defensive stars.

Unfortunately, there’s no loophole to help defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Thanks to a previous suspension under the personal conduct policy, Fowler’s future guarantees have already been eliminated.

Here’s more from the AFC:

Jaguars Suspend Jalen Ramsey, Dante Fowler

The Jaguars suspended star cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Michael DiRocco of ESPN soon posted in a follow-up tweet that defensive end Dante Fowler was being suspended as well (Twitter link). 

According to Rapoport, Ramsey’s suspension was for “going after local media for what he believes is unfair treatment of his teammates especially Dante Fowler.” Adam Schefter of ESPN soon added in a tweet that the official reasoning was “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars’ football player.”

The suspension seems to stem from a series of tweets that Ramsey posted earlier, attacking media members for their criticism of Fowler. Fowler’s suspension was apparently unrelated, as he was suspended for “fighting and violation of team rules” according to Schefter (Twitter link).

With the suspensions, Ramsey and Fowler will miss the next week of practices and the team’s second preseason game on Saturday against the Vikings. While they won’t miss any regular season time, it’s still a big deal. It’s very rare to see a team suspend one of it’s top players like this, and it’ll be interesting to see how the locker room responds.


AFC Notes: Jets, Brady, Fowler, Dolphins

The Jets‘ quarterbacks looked solid during last night’s preseason win over the Falcons, completing 21 of 27 pass attempts for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While veteran Josh McCown sits atop the depth chart, head coach Todd Bowles acknowledged that any of the team’s three signal-callers (a grouping that also includes Teddy Bridgewater and first-rounder Sam Darnold) could end up earning the starting gig.

“We’ll see how the preseason goes,” Bowles said (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). “Like I said, I’ll make my decision when it happens. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions after one game. I’m going to take my notes and watch practice and compare with the coaches and we’ll come up with a decision. It’s a tough decision. We’ve got three good players and we’re happy to have them.”

As ProFootballTalk.com’s Michael David Smith points out, Bowles previously said that the team would wait until the end of the preseason to make a decision on their starting quarterback. In other words, there’s still plenty of time for the depth chart to sort itself out.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • ESPN’s Field Yates has even more details on Tom Brady‘s revised contract (Twitter links). The Patriots quarterback had $10MM of his $14MM base salary converted into a signing bonus, which means he’ll get that chunk of cash now instead of spread out over 17 weeks. His 2018 cap number will not increase (allowing the Patriots to maintain cap flexibility), but his 2019 cap hit has increased from $5MM to $27MM. If Brady decided to keep playing in 2019, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com says the team would presumably sign their franchise quarterback to a new deal, thus pushing some of that money to 2020.
  • Meanwhile, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe believes the revised contract is an indication that Brady intends to keep playing in 2019 (Twitter link). While his 2019 dead cap number was previously $7MM, that’s since been boosted to $12MM. If the Patriots weren’t confident that their quarterback was going to stick around the NFL, there wouldn’t have been much of an incentive for the salary-to-bonus conversion.
  • There was good news for the Jaguars this morning, as the team took defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. off the physically unable to perform list (via ESPN’s Michael DiRocco on Twitter). The former third-overall pick had missed offseason programs, training camp, and the team’s preseason opener as he continued to recover from a shoulder injury. “I’m just happy to see him back to start playing,” said head coach Doug Marrone (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “Obviously, he’s worked hard to get back, strengthening and everything, and we’ll return him to practice. He’ll come back out and we’ll work him there. I’m excited to see him. He’s put in a lot of work and we’ll see him on the field and see what he can do.” The 24-year-old finished last season 21 tackles, eight sacks, and two forced fumbles in 16 games.
  • Dolphins linebacker Mike Hull has a sprained MCL and is expected to be out for several weeks, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The 27-year-old has been an important bench piece for Miami over the past two seasons, and he finished last season with 35 tackles in 16 games (three starts). Terence Garvin, Chase Allen, Jerome Baker, and Quentin Poling will receive more backup reps during Hull’s absence.

NFL Suspends Jaguars’ Dante Fowler

The NFL has suspended Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler for the first game of the 2018 regular season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. This ban stems from an arrest that happened back in 2017. 

This is a big year for Fowler, as he is ticketed for free agency after the year. The Florida product managed eight sacks last year, but the Jaguars were wary of committing to him after he missed all of his would-be rookie season and was a bit uneven in 2016. The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, but that’s more than a formality when it comes to a player with an ACL tear on his medical records.

Roughly one year ago today, Fowler was arrested in St. Petersburg, Florida for simple battery and mischief. Cops claimed that Fowler got out of his car and got into a verbal exchange with a man who commented on his driving. When they came face to face, the defensive end allegedly hit the man, knocked off his glasses, and stepped on them. He then proceeded to take the victim’s grocery bag and throw it in a nearby lake. It was not his first run-in with the law.

Fowler will miss the Jags’ season opener against the Giants in New Jersey. He’ll be eligible to return for the team’s home opener in Week 2 against the Patriots on Sept. 16. Per league rules, Fowler will be permitted to participate in practices and preseason games in the interim.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.