Darryl Tapp

Coaching Rumors: Joseph, Eagles, Colts

This offseason’s coaching carousel is expected to be one of the more exciting ones in recent history given all of the jobs that will become available, though that excitement is not limited to the head coaching gigs. It’s been a busy morning already, but let’s take a look at a few more head coach and coordinator rumors:

  • Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is facing increasingly longer odds of being retained for a second season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets.
  • Former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, who is currently serving as a senior personnel executive for the team, has interest in returning to the sidelines as an offensive coordinator. However, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos are looking to keep Kubiak around and expand his role to include more front office responsibility and perhaps some coaching responsibilities as well.
  • The Eagles may lose their defensive coordinator this offseason, and ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that Philadelphia could also lose several top position coaches (Twitter links). Caplan says Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo and WR coach Mike Groh could be targeted by other clubs, though Philadelphia could still block either man from accepting coordinator jobs elsewhere.
  • Colts GM Chris Ballard has strong ties to several members of the Chiefs‘ coaching staff — special teams coach Dave Toub and offensive coordinator Matt Nagy — and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that both men will get consideration for Indianapolis’ head coaching job. La Canfora points out, however, that Colts owner Jim Irsay may prefer to make a “splashier” hire if possible.
  • The Bengals have reached out to external candidates for their (expected) head coaching opening, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). This will be an open search for Cincinnati, which generally prefers to promote from within.
  • Saints head coach Sean Payton said that Darryl Tapp, who played in the league for 11 years (including four games with the Bucs this season), is now serving as a coaching intern for New Orleans. It would appear, then, that Tapp’s playing days are over and he is shifting his sights to the next stage of his career.

Buccaneers Cut DE Darryl Tapp

The Buccaneers are releasing defensive end Darryl Tapp, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). To fill his spot, the team has promoted rookie defensive end Pat O’Connor from the practice squad. Darryl Tapp (vertical)

Tapp’s stint in Tampa ends after two tackles in four games. The Bucs signed Tapp in late October when several edge rushers fell victim to the injury bug, but his play just wasn’t up to par. At this stage of his career, it’s not clear what the 33-year-old has left in the tank. He’s basically been a rotational defensive end since 2009 and his best years as a starter for the Seahawks in 2007-08 are long behind him.

The Lions drafted O’Connor in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. The Eastern Michigan product was not able to make Detroit’s Week 1 cut, but he has impressed since joining the Bucs’ taxi squad seven weeks ago. He may get a chance to see live NFL action this Sunday against the Packers, though he’ll slot behind Robert Ayers (if healthy), William Gholston, Will Clarke, and Ryan Russell.

As a senior at Eastern Michigan, O’Connor had 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Buccaneers To Sign DE Darryl Tapp

The Buccaneers have agreed to sign free agent defensive end Darryl Tapp, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link).Darryl Tapp (vertical)

Tampa Bay is dealing with several injuries along its defensive line, the most severe of which may be to edge rusher Noah Spence, who left Sunday’s contest with a shoulder injury and will likely miss an extended period of time. Ryan Russell is also coming back from a shoulder issue, while veteran Robert Ayers is managing a knee injury (and was able to play in Week 7).

Tapp, 33, has already had multiple stints with the division rival Saints in 2017, but hasn’t actually played a down for New Orleans since last season. He’s been more or less a rotational defensive end since 2009 (with his best and most productive years coming as a starter for the Seahawks in 2007-08), and that’s likely the role he’ll play for the Buccaneers. Tapp, who has 162 career appearances under his belt, will play behind Ayers, William Gholston, and Will Clarke in Tampa.

This isn’t the first time the Bucs have sought to add help on the edge of their defensive line. Free agent pass rusher Lamarr Houston worked out for Tampa Bay earlier this month before signing with the Texans, while the Buccaneers auditioned defensive ends Wallace Gilberry and Owa Odighizuwa alongside Tapp on Tuesday, per veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link). Tampa also looked at cornerbacks Josh Johnson, Deji Olatoye, and Raysean Pringle, plus defensive tackle Marquavius Lewis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Cut Kendall Langford, Darryl Tapp

Two days after signing him, the Saints made the decision to cut Kendall Langford to make room for players they presumably believe will be of greater use to them on Sunday. New Orleans also cut defensive end Darryl Tapp, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

A 10th-year veteran, Langford signed a one-year deal with the Saints on Thursday. He’d been a starter in all but one season, but the 31-year-old defensive lineman will venture back into free agency. Being a vested veteran, Tapp will as well.

The Saints cut the defensive line duo to sign defensive backs Justin Hardee and Arthur Maulet, Yates reports. New Orleans has encountered a cornerback shortage, with Marshon Lattimore and Sterling Moore deemed out for Week 3. With Delvin Breaux on IR, the team has made moves to enhance its skeleton crew in advance of Sunday’s game against the Panthers.

Langford spent the past two seasons with the Colts but also served as a starter for the Rams and Dolphins. Tapp suited up in all 16 Saints games last season, starting two. It’s possible the team could look to re-sign the pair after its cornerback situation clears up.

Hardee signed with New Orleans’ practice squad on Friday, doing so after the Texans cut him after the preseason concluded. The Saints signed Maulet as a UDFA in May and added him to their practice squad before the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Sign Darryl Tapp

The Saints re-signed defensive end Darryl Tapp, according to a source who spoke with Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune (on Twitter). Tapp was released by the Saints just after the 53-man cutdown deadline. "<strong

[RELATED: Saints Trade LB Stephone Anthony To Dolphins]

Tapp, 33, appeared in all 16 games for the Saints last year, giving him his third consecutive season of perfect regular season attendance. Although his 17 tackles and half a sack weren’t eye-popping numbers, the advanced metrics were fond of his work. He finished out as the 43rd best edge defender in the NFL last year out of 109 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. The 78.0 overall score was his best showing since 2012.

Tapp will give the Saints another body in the front seven following Tuesday’s trade which sent linebacker Stephone Anthony to Miami. Tapp will look to get snaps behind starting DEs Alex Okafor and Cameron Jordan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints Re-Sign DL Darryl Tapp

The Saints announced that they have re-signed defensive lineman Darryl Tapp. Terms of the deal are not yet known. "<strongDarryl

Heading into today, we had Tapp ranked as the ninth-best edge defender left in free agency, placing him ahead of guys like Devin Taylor, Eugene Sims, Howard Jones, Wallace Gilberry, Sam Acho. Notables like Dwight Freeney, Elvis Dumervil, Chris Long, Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, Paul Kruger, Trent Cole, Erik Walden, and Jason Jones remain on the board.

Tapp, 33 in September, appeared in all 16 games for the Saints and now has three consecutive seasons of perfect regular season attendance. He had just 17 tackles and half a sack last season, but the advanced metrics were fond of his work. He graded out as the 43rd best edge defender in the league last year out of 109 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. The 78.0 overall score was his best showing since 2012.

With the re-signing of Tapp, the Saints now have five defensive ends on their roster (Cameron Jordan, Paul Kruger, Obum Gwacham and D.J. Pettway are the others). The only member of the group with multiple sacks last year was Jordan, who finished with a team-leading 7.5 on a club that had the sixth fewest in the NFL. Thus, it stands to reason that the Saints will continue looking for edge rushers, especially in the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These 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, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

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

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

Read more

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Falcons, Panthers

The Buccaneers and impending free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson have discussed a potential return, but the 34-year-old could retire, writes Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. “We did have conversations with Vincent,” general manager Jason Licht said Wednesday. “I have the utmost respect for him. Everybody in the organization does. In my mind, in head coach Dirk [Koetter’s] mind, in the owners’ minds, he’ll be a Buc for life. So whatever happens happens, but we’ll always want Vincent to be around the organization.”

Jackson has been with the Buccaneers since 2012, and he started 16 games in each of his first three seasons as a member of the club, but he has endured back-to-back knee injury-shortened campaigns. The six-time 1,000-yard man has combined for just 15 appearances since 2015.

Regardless of whether the Buccaneers re-sign Jackson, they’re going to target “playmakers” this offseason, Licht revealed. Entering free agency, only three teams have more cap space than the Bucs.

More from the NFC South:

  • Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and guard Ben Garland will be tendered as RFAs (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com). He did not specify what level, however. Gabriel was the far bigger contributor of the two last year, when he averaged 16.5 yards per catch on 35 receptions and combined for seven touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Garland appeared in all 16 of the Falcons’ regular-season games, but he didn’t start any.
  • Dimitroff also announced that the Falcons will let defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux become an unrestricted free agent after 12 years together, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Conversely, the Falcons are trying to re-sign fullback Patrick DiMarco (Twitter link). Babineaux, 35, has totaled 185 appearances, 133 starts, 27 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in Atlanta, which selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft. He’s coming off the eighth 16-game season of his career, in which he picked up six starts and 22 tackles. DiMarco, a four-year Falcon, has three 16-appearance seasons in a row under his belt. He made eight starts in 2016.
  • Panthers GM Dave Gettleman told reporters on Wednesday that tackle Michael Oher is still in the league’s concussion protocol. This means the Panthers could be in the market for a starting left tackle. Oher has been dealing with a brain injury since September and only played in three games last year as a result. The eight-year veteran is under contract through 2019.
  • Reserve defensive end Darryl Tapp made it clear Wednesday that he wants to re-sign with the Saints, relays Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com. Tapp’s agent and the Saints have engaged in discussions about a new deal. The 32-year-old journeyman just finished his first season in New Orleans, where he started in two of 16 appearances.
  • As of last month, the Buccaneers hadn’t held contract talks with soon-to-be free agent running back Jacquizz Rodgers. However, the team would “love to have” him back, Licht stated (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). Rodgers, 27, put up 560 yards on 129 rushes (4.3 per carry) and scored two touchdowns last season.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Munnerlyn, Saints, Eagles

Recently, Kyle Shanahan expressed a desire to steer clear of a stopgap quarterback, but Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes that with so much uncertainty surrounding the 2017 college crop of QBs, the 49ers have to invest in a veteran to potentially be their 2017 starter. Barrows writes Shanahan will look to sign Brian Hoyer or Matt Schaub (or possibly both). Each worked with Shanahan for a time, with Hoyer starting the bulk of the games for the 2014 Browns and Schaub spending time with the new 49ers coach with both the Texans and Falcons. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the 35-year-old Schaub’s name linked to San Francisco as a bridge-type passer, either. The 31-year-old Hoyer, though, figures to draw more interest after producing as a middling starter the past two years.

Here’s more from the NFC.

  • Captain Munnerlyn awaits re-entering the free agency scene, with the Vikings cornerback tentatively expecting to test the market for the second time in his career. The 28-year-old corner would enjoy a return to Minnesota but appears to acknowledge that’s not a given. “Hopefully they value my position, value my talent and bring me back,” Munnerlyn said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I’m an older guy, I want to win. I definitely want to win. In Minnesota, I definitely feel like we have a chance to win.” The seasoned slot specialist will be set for his ninth season. He profiles more as a player who will score a medium-length contract, as he did when he signed three-year Vikings pact in 2014, on a market housing more highly touted UFAs.
  • The Saints will look to upgrade their pass rush, Sean Payton told the team’s website. “It’s a must. We’ve got to find a pass-rusher,” Payton said. “Now, whether that comes from free agency or that comes from the draft, we have to be better at affecting the quarterback. Last year if you took hurries, sacks, pressures – a study of all three things that can happen with a rush – we were in the bottom third of the league and that has to get better.” The Saints ranked 27th last season with 30 sacks. Cameron Jordan remains under contract, but New Orleans has Nick Fairley (6.5 sacks last season) looming as a UFA and no surefire answer opposite Jordan. No other defensive end recorded two sacks, but promising rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins accrued four despite missing much of the season with a broken leg.
  • One veteran who served as part of the Saints’ defensive end equation wants to continue playing. Darryl Tapp would prefer to continue his career on a contending team, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News tweets. Tapp, 32, said he might re-sign with the Saints, although it’s not known if the interest is mutual, and is eyeing two more seasons before retiring. The veteran defensive end finished with just a half-sack last season but graded out reasonably well despite being a late-summer signing, coming in at 44th on Pro Football Focus’ edge defender rankings.
  • While agreeing with Howie Roseman that adding aging skill-position targets around Carson Wentz doesn’t make much sense, NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks writes the Eagles should keep their present veteran-laden offensive line in front of Wentz. Jason Kelce surfaced as a cut candidate earlier this offseason, while the Eagles have approached perennial Pro Bowler Jason Peters about taking a pay cut entering his age-35 season. PFF and Football Outsiders considered the Eagles line a top-10 unit, and with Lane Johnson figuring to be available for more games in 2017, the group should help further. But Kelce, and possibly Peters, could be cap casualties — something Shorr-Parks categorizes as a “massive risk” for the Eagles — as a result of Philadelphia’s spending spree last year. Kelce’s only set to count $6.2MM against the Eagles’ 2017 cap, but Peters stands to comprise an Eagles-high $11.7MM. Philly is projected to have barely $9MM in cap space.