Darren McFadden

Darren McFadden Announces Retirement

Darren McFadden is calling it a career. The former Cowboys running back announced his retirement from football on Tuesday afternoon. Darren McFadden (vertical)

Today, I am announcing that I am retiring from the NFL. I have been extremely privileged to play in the league for a long time,” McFadden wrote. “And now that time for me is done.”

McFadden, 30, was waived by the Cowboys over the weekend. It was reportedly a mutual decision. At the time, it seemed like McFadden might seek work elsewhere, but has decided to walk away from the game instead. In theory, McFadden was free to sign with any team after passing through the post trade deadline waivers.

The running back first broke into the league as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft. While he showed flashes of serious potential, injuries hampered him in Oakland. His best Raiders season came in 2010 when he ran for 1,157 yards plus 507 yards receiving.

McFadden had a late career re-emergence with Dallas, eclipsing 1,000 yards in 2015. Unfortunately, he lost most of 2016 to injury and didn’t see much action this year. His 2017 season ends after one game played with one rushing attempt for negative two yards. Some expected McFadden to get back into the fold after Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension, but that never came to fruition.

McFadden’s career ends with 5,421 yards rushing, at an average of 4.2 yards per attempt, and 28 rushing touchdowns. He also had 2,114 yards receiving and five TDs through the air.

We here at Pro Football Rumors wish McFadden the best in retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Jenkins, Winston, Seahawks

The Giants‘ disastrous 2017 season keeps getting worse. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, New York cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been playing for the last two months with a “debilitating” ankle injury that has limited his ability to cut and change direction (which certainly could explain why he has regressed this year after enjoying a strong 2016 campaign, his first with Big Blue). Schefter says that Jenkins will need to undergo ankle surgery at some point, and doctors are scheduled to discuss the matter tomorrow. It sounds as if Jenkins will be shut down so that he can have the surgery, which makes plenty of sense given that the Giants do not have anything to play for this year.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Schefter reports that the NFL has already spoken with Buccaneers head of security, Andres Trescastro, as part of its investigation into the most recent sexual assault accusations leveled against Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston. Schefter says the conversation was more introductory and exploratory in nature, and that the league’s investigation is not expected to be wrapped up by the end of the season (which is hardly surprising).
  • Winston, of course, is also battling a shoulder injury, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) reports that the Buccaneers signal-caller received platelet-rich plasma injections several weeks ago and is rapidly improving. However, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com cautions that Winston receives an MRI every week, and last week’s MRI revealed he was still not ready to return to practice, despite the PRP injection. Taking reps in practice will be the next step for Winston.
  • Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll indicated that there will soon be more clarity on the injuries to defensive stalwarts Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Avril is battling a serious stinger and numbness in his arm that was initially reported to be career-threatening, while Chancellor is contending with a neck injury that will likely sideline him for the rest of the year, though Carroll recently kept the door open on a return for his star safety.
  • Seahawks left guard Luke Joeckel, who has missed the last five games following arthroscopic knee surgery, is expected to return to action for today’s matchup with the 49ers, as Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes.
  • The Cowboys have waived Darren McFadden, and Ed Werder names the Seahawks as a potential fit for the former first-round pick (Twitter link). As Werder observes, Seattle is the only ream in the league without a running back that has rushed for 250 or more yards, making a McFadden-Seahawks marriage eminently plausible.
  • In addition to shakeups at cornerback and the rest of their roster, the Cowboys are looking at potential changes to their safety positions as well, as Clarence Hill, Jr. of the Star-Telegram tweets.

Cowboys To Waive Darren McFadden

The Cowboys are going to waive RB Darren McFadden, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Rapoport and Todd Archer of ESPN.com note that the decision is a mutual one.

Darren McFadden (Vertical)

McFadden, now 30, has appeared in only one game for Dallas this season, rushing one time for negative two yards. Even in the wake of Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension, he has not been able to get on the field, as Alfred Morris has jumped to the top of the depth chart and Rod Smith has served as Morris’ backup.

McFadden rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2015, his first year in Dallas, but he lost much of the 2016 season due to injury and was brought back for 2017 on a minimum salary benefit deal worth $980K. The Arkansas product, whom the Raiders drafted with the fourth-overall selection of the 2008 draft, has been plagued by injury for much of his career, and he therefore never really lived up to his enormous potential. He did post 1,157 rushing yards for Oakland in 2010 — to go along with 507 receiving yards — but outside of 2015, that was the only time he topped 1,000 rushing yards in his 10 years in the league.

As Rapoport notes, however, McFadden could be a useful piece for a contending club, as he should certainly be fresh down the stretch. If McFadden goes unclaimed on waivers, he will be free to sign with any team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Foles, Carr, Poe, Cowboys

Here’s a fun fact from Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links): Of the 155 free-agent contracts that have been filed since March 9, only 23 have more than $3MM fully guaranteed in post-2017 money. In essence, that means 85.2% of the contracts done over the last ten days are one-year deals with team options.

Now for the latest contract details:

  • Cornerback Brandon Carr‘s four-year, $23MM Ravens contract comes with $6MM in 2017 – most of which is by way of a $4MM signing bonus – and then the Ravens will have a 2018 team option, reports Breer (on Twitter).
  • Falcons defensive tackle Dontari Poe‘s one-year, $8MM accord features a $500K signing bonus and incentives for playing time, sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance (Twitter link via Breer).
  • Quarterback Nick Folespreviously reported two-year, $11MM deal with the Eagles is actually a five-year, $27.5MM pact, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. However, the final three years of the contract will void if Foles is still on Philadelphia’s roster 23 days before the start of the 2019 league year. The arrangement comes with $5MM in incentives and an esclator for 2018 worth as much as $6MM (Twitter links).
  • Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love‘s two-year contract is worth $2.2MM and features a few bonuses – $200K for signing, $25K for workouts and $10K per game active – as well as $500K in annual incentives, tweets Wilson.
  • Cowboys running back Darren McFadden‘s one-year contract is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $980K (a salary of $900K and an $80K signing bonus). Guard Jonathan Cooper‘s single-year accord is worth $2MM and has a $31,250 bonus per game active, $500K in incentives and a $100K workout base de-esclator (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Cardinals running back/wide receiver Andre Ellington will earn a $775K base salary on his one-year agreement, tweets Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910.
  • Redskins defensive tackle Ziggy Hood’s two-year, $2.7MM deal includes a $300K signing bonus, per-game active bonuses of $15,625 each, $600K in incentives and a $600K escalator. Meanwhile, the Redskins gave linebacker Chris Carter a minimum salary benefit deal worth $855K, including $775K in salary and a signing bonus of $80K, relays Wilson (Twitter links).
  • Saints running back Travaris Cadet also got a minimum salary benefit contract for 2017, says Wilson (Twitter link). It’s worth $855K ($775K in salary and an $80K signing bonus).

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Cowboys Re-Sign Darren McFadden

The Cowboys have re-signed running back Darren McFadden, according to the team website. The veteran received a one-year deal. Darren McFadden (Vertical)

Unfortunately, McFadden lost much of the 2016 season to injury. After rushing for 1,000+ yards in 2015, the veteran appeared in only four regular season games for Dallas. If healthy, the former No. 4 overall pick can be a fine reserve for the Cowboys.

Heading into free agency, I had McFadden ranked as the sixth-best tailback on the market behind Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, LeGarrette Blount, Latavius Murray, and Jamaal Charles.

The Cowboys saw one reserve running back skip town today when Lance Dunbar signed with the Rams. They’ve retained McFadden, however, giving them a strong RB depth chart headlined by Ezekiel Elliott. McFadden and Alfred Morris will duke it out for carries behind the young superstar. The Cowboys will continue to have three running backs who at one point or another were among the league’s elite. On the other hand, Morris might not last in Dallas. There were rumblings earlier this month that Dallas would shop him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Cowboys To Shop Alfred Morris

The Cowboys’ addition of running back Alfred Morris via free agency last year proved to be somewhat superfluous, as they later went on to select workhorse Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the draft. Elliott earned first-team All-Pro status as a rookie after leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,631) and carries (322). Morris picked up just 69 attempts, meanwhile, and the Cowboys are now planning to shop him around the league, according to Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram.

Alfred Morris (vertical)

The 28-year-old Morris is due a relatively meager $1.2MM base salary in 2017, the final season of his contract, and getting rid of him would make it more realistic for the team to retain at least one of Darren McFadden or Lance Dunbar – two impending free agent rushers. McFadden is open to staying in Dallas as Elliott’s backup, though two other clubs are showing interest in the soon-to-be 30-year-old, per Hill. While he played only four games last season because of an elbow injury, McFadden isn’t far removed from a thousand-yard showing in 2015.

A Redskin from 2012-15, Morris has gone past the 1,000-yard mark three times during his five-year career, but his effectiveness has faded in recent seasons. He averaged a subpar 3.7 yards per carry on 202 tries in his final season in Washington and posted a 3.5 YPC in what could be his only Dallas campaign. Morris has been a bell cow, having exceeded 200 attempts in four seasons, and his need for carries makes him a poor fit for the Cowboys, notes Hill.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Mike Glennon
  3. Nick Foles
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  6. Case Keenum
  7. Matt McGloin
  8. Mark Sanchez
  9. Geno Smith
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Josh McCown
  12. Christian Ponder
  13. Blaine Gabbert
  14. Matt Schaub
  15. Ryan Nassib

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Eddie Lacy
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Jacquizz Rodgers
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Danny Woodhead
  9. Rex Burkhead
  10. Tim Hightower
  11. DeAngelo Williams
  12. Andre Ellington
  13. Chris Johnson
  14. Christine Michael
  15. Robert Turbin

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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NFC East Notes: Giants, Cowboys, Redskins

Running back Adrian Peterson reportedly has interest in joining the Giants if he’s released by the Vikings this offseason, and last night the veteran back sent out a cryptic tweet that will only add fuel to the Big Blue fire. “The Giants been making some interesting moves,” tweeted Peterson, presumably referring to New York’s release of running back Rashad Jennings and wide receiver Victor Cruz. The Giants might be interested in Peterson if he comes at an affordable price, as Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com writes, but the 31-year-old doesn’t appear to be a scheme fit. Peterson averages roughly 1.2 fewer yards per carry out of the shotgun, and New York uses the shotgun formation on two-thirds of its offensive snaps, as Evan Silva and Raymond Summerlin of Rotoworld tweet.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

Cowboys Officially Activate Darren McFadden

Finally, Darren McFadden is back in the Cowboys’ lineup. The team announced that he is being activated from the reserve/NFI list. To make room, rookie running back Darius Jackson has been let go. Darren McFadden (Vertical)

[RELATED: Cowboys In Bottom Third Of League Spending Over Last Four Years]

McFadden will now be available for the Cowboys’ Week 15 game against the Buccaneers. Ezekiel Elliott obviously remains the No. 1 back in Dallas, but McFadden could get carries if the team decides to rest the star rookie heading into the playoffs. McFadden could also chip away at Alfred Morris‘ workload. McFadden, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft, was the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher in 2015.

Somebody had to go in order to make room for McFadden, but the decision to drop Jackson is a bit surprising. The Cowboys will probably look to re-sign the sixth-round pick out of Eastern Michigan to the practice squad if he goes unclaimed, but that’s far from a certainty.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.