Daryl Williams

Contract Details: McCourty, Williams, Lewis

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently-signed contracts:

Panthers Re-Sign Daryl Williams

The Panthers have re-signed offensive tackle Daryl Williams to a one-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Williams was considered one of the best right tackles available on the open market, but it appears other clubs have at least some level of concern about the status of his right knee. The 26-year-old Williams dislocated his kneecap and tore his MCL last summer, but was still able to suit up for Carolina’s season opener. However, Williams wasn’t able to complete the game and went on injured reserve not long after going down.

As such, Williams was hitting the free agent period coming off a lackluster platform season, but he was still expected to cash in. Fellow right tackle Ja’Wuan James received $13MM annually from the Broncos, and it wouldn’t have been out of the question for Williams to target a similar contract. Instead, he’ll take a prove-it deal with the Panthers with the hope he can rebound and before hitting free agency again in 2019.

A fourth-round pick in 2015, Williams was a full-time starter in both 2016 and 2017, appearing in 29 games and making 26 starts during that time. Even without Williams available, the Panthers’ line was respectable in 2018, ranking among the top-ten front fives in Football Outsiders‘ pass- and run-blocking metrics. Williams will return to a line that now includes new center Matt Paradis in addition to Matt Kalil, Trai Turner, and whomever Carolina finds to play left guard.

The Giants and Bills — both of whom employ former Carolina staffers as general manager — each reportedly had their eyes on Williams. Buffalo signed Ty Nsekhe to handle right tackle, while New York could turn to a free agent group that includes Jared Veldheer, Jermey Parnell, and Ryan Schraeder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: Tannehill, Mosley, Giants

The Jets made some noise on Day 1 of the legal tampering period, adding Anthony Barr, Jamison Crowder and Josh Bellamy to the mix. Their Barr deal also may not preclude them from a C.J. Mosley pact. The Jets aggressively pursued the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker on Monday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets. Other teams — including the Browns, Colts and Redskins, in addition to the Ravens — made pushes for Mosley, and those may start back up again Tuesday. The linebacker remains unsigned. The Jets still have plenty of cap room and may be set to waive Darron Lee soon, creating room for Mosley alongside Avery Williamson.

While Barr is expected to help the Jets’ edge rush, he is also viewed as someone who will play off the ball, Mehta notes, comparing the latest high-priced Gregg Williams chess piece to Jamie Collins — the Browns’ off-ball ‘backer who would rush quarterbacks as well. However, it sounds like Barr — a UCLA edge defender — will see more time in rush roles than Collins did.

Here is more from the Jets’ first day of unofficial free agency and the latest from Giants headquarters:

  • A third Josh McCown Jets season could occur, with the team maintaining some interest in the soon-to-be 40-year-old passer backing up Sam Darnold, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. But McCown released a statement Monday night indicating he is undecided on continuing his career, which could put the Jets in the market for another backup.
  • One of those options figures to be Ryan Tannehill, given his three-year run with Adam Gase in Miami. However, the soon-to-be-released quarterback has not come up in Jets meetings about filling their QB2 role, per Mehta. Tannehill could command a higher-end backup salary, like McCown, due to his extensive run as a starter. But he has not proven he can stay healthy since his knee troubles began in 2016.
  • A Mosley backup plan may be former Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall. The Jets expressed interest in the longtime Denver starter, according to Vacchiano. This would also point to Lee not being in the team’s plans any longer.
  • A third Morris Claiborne contract will not be on the Jets’ agenda, despite their need at corner, Vacchiano adds. Claiborne’s past two free agency stays ended with Jets deals; the veteran corner will likely have to seek his latest contract elsewhere.
  • The Broncos just reset the right tackle market, with their four-year, $52MM deal for Ja’Wuan James, and that should drive up the price for Daryl Williams. The Giants are likely to express interest in the former Panthers starter, Vacchiano notes. But as was the case with former Dave Gettleman find Andrew Norwell, whom the Giants tried to sign last year, Williams probably won’t come cheap. That said, Norwell and James were coming off healthy seasons; Williams missed almost all of last season because of leg injuries.
  • Big Blue, per Vacchiano, also inquired Monday about former Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith, who is one of this market’s top edge defenders. The Giants just traded Olivier Vernon to the Browns and have a massive need on the edge. But Smith will also be a coveted commodity on this market.

La Canfora’s Latest: Mathieu, Ravens, Bucs

While the Texans are attempting to retain Tyrann Mathieu, both the Ravens and Buccaneers have “serious interest” in the veteran defensive back, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Baltimore just released fellow safety Eric Weddle on Tuesday, while Tampa Bay has been in need of secondary help for years. Mathieu inked a one-year, $7MM deal with Houston last year, but he’s expected to receive a significant raise on his next contract. Per La Canfora, Mathieu should be able to collect $24MM over the first two years of a new deal.

Here’s more from JLC:

  • Overall, the safety market is not expected to be as depressed as it was a year ago, when Mathieu, Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston, and others were forced to settle for one-year pacts. Earl Thomas will set the market and is asking for $13MM annually, per La Canfora. Meanwhile, former Giants safety Landon Collins — now on the market after New York declined to franchise him — will likely come in below Thomas, and Bears defender Adrian Amos is searching for $9-10MM per year.
  • While there aren’t any clear-cut, No. 1 wideouts available this offseason, slot receivers are aplenty, and they should get paid, says JLC. Golden Tate is looking for $13MM per season, while Adam Humphries may be targeting $10MM annually and has already been deemed too expensive to return to the Buccaneers. Cole Beasley could also get $10MM per year, while John Brown wants $8-9MM per season.
  • Offensive tackle Daryl Williams is expected to reach the open market, and La Canfora reports Williams’ price has already “soared” above where the Panthers are comfortable paying. Both the Bills and Giants are expected to target Williams, and both connections make sense. Buffalo employs former Carolina staffer Brandon Beane as its general manager, while ex-Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is in charge in New York.
  • The Raiders have already been mentioned as a potential suitor for Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams, and the Colts could also join the fray, per La Canfora. Williams is expected to earn more than $12MM per year on his new deal.

Panthers’ Williams Likely To Hit Free Agency

Contract talks have stalled between the Panthers and right tackle Daryl Williams, according to Joe Person of The Athletic. Williams is now on course to explore the open market when free agency begins on March 13, barring a shift in negotiations. 

Williams, 27 in August, played in only one game last season after undergoing knee surgery. However, he was solid in 2017 and earned a second-team All-Pro nod.

If Williams walks, Person speculates that the Panthers may lean towards keeping left tackle Matt Kalil, a long rumored potential salary cap casualty. Kalil missed the entire 2018 season a knee issue of his own and is set to carry a $12.15MM cap hit in 2019. On March 15, $1MM of Kalil’s $7MM base salary will become fully guaranteed. Ultimately, Taylor Moton could be the club’s only tackle of note to return.

Also of note – on the whole, Person hears from league sources that the Panthers will apply their limited funds to the second wave of free agency rather than going big on one or two free agents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Sign OT Chris Clark

The Panthers are bringing in some offensive line help, signing tackle Chris Clark according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

The move is in response to Carolina placing starting right tackle Daryl Williams on injured reserve. Williams went down in the Week 1 opener against the Cowboys, a huge blow to an already depleted offensive line. They’ll now turn to Clark for help, who has plenty of starting experience if the Panthers decide to move him into the lineup.

Clark spent the last three seasons in Houston, where he started 26 games. He worked out for the Texans yesterday as they dealt with some offensive line injuries of their own. Clark came into the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2008, but didn’t appear in a game until 2010. He was able to carve out a role with the Broncos as a reserve, and eventually became a starter in Denver.

Clark’s 2017 was ended prematurely due to an ankle injury. Overall, it won’t be great for the Panthers if Clark is starting the rest of the way. He’s already 32 and hadn’t drawn much known interest before his Texans workout yesterday. Needless to say, it would be a massive downgrade from Williams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers’ Greg Olsen Fractures Foot

For the second straight season, Greg Olsen‘s going to miss time because of a foot fracture. The Panthers confirmed the Pro Bowl tight end’s exit from Sunday’s win was because of another fractured foot.

Olsen will be evaluated on a monthly basis. It appears the Panthers are preparing for the veteran pass-catcher to miss extensive time. An IR stay was required because of a similar occurrence in 2017. It’s the same right foot Olsen broke last season.

The team announced no plans are in place for Olsen to undergo surgery, but he’s almost certainly out for the foreseeable future nonetheless. Olsen missed nine games last season as a result of his foot injury; a similar absence appears likely for Cam Newton‘s top target.

This throws a wrench into the Panthers’ plans. They signed the 33-year-old tight end to a two-year extension this offseason. And Carolina does not have the depth at this position that existed on its 2017 roster. Ed Dickson defected as a free agent. Former waiver claim Chris Manhertz and fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas, an Indiana product, comprise the Panthers’ backup contingent.

The Panthers also revealed Daryl Williams will undergo knee surgery, and the Charlotte Observers’ Jourdan Rodrigue tweets it’s the same knee the right tackle injured during training camp. Although, it’s a different injury. Williams damaged his MCL and dislocated his patella during camp. Rodrigue notes Williams had an MRI done Monday morning and sought a second opinion before deciding to undergo surgery. It’s unclear precisely what the contract-year blocker is dealing with now.

An IR decision looms for the Panthers, with two players seemingly posing as candidates. Though, that’s not a choice the Panthers would want to make after Week 1, when other injuries could surely occur down the line. But Williams does appear headed there, per Rodrigue (on Twitter). The current line of thinking, though, points to Olsen avoiding the injured list. Of course, Williams was believed to be an IR candidate after his last knee injury only to avoid it and play in Week 1.

It’s unclear how long he will be out, but Amini Silatolu looks to be the next man up, per ESPN.com’s David Newton, who adds Thomas will get the first crack at replacing Olsen as the Panthers’ tight end starter. While Silatolu will get a look, the Panthers are expected to be on the lookout for tackle help, Newton adds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: D. Johnson, D. Williams, Thielen

Although it was not expected that the two sides would be able to come to terms before the start of the season, the Cardinals and David Johnson agreed to a three-year extension yesterday that will keep Johnson in the desert through 2021. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the key to getting the deal done was the team’s agreement to give Johnson a short-term extension that gives him a chance to hit free agency again at a time when a new CBA will be in place and when owners’ income streams will be at an all-time high thanks to renewed TV deals and gambling revenue.

As Week 1 gets underway in earnest, let’s take a look at more news from around the NFC:

  • Former NFL agent Joel Corry is less optimistic about Johnson’s chances to cash in a second time. Although he thinks the Cardinals‘ tailback did well for himself with his new deal, he points out (via Twitter) that Johnson will be 30 by the time he is eligible for unrestricted free agency again, so he will need to defy conventional wisdom concerning RBs to get another big contract.
  • Just last month, it appeared as though the Panthers would have to place starting right tackle Daryl Williams on IR, but Carolina finally got some good news with respect to its O-line. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Williams has a good chance to start the team’s opener against the Cowboys this afternoon, and that the structural damage to his injured knee is minimal. That is good news for Williams as well, as he is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the year.
  • Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen has a number of incentives that could boost his $4.85MM 2018 salary, but even if he hits all of those incentives, Thielen will still be significantly underpaid relative to the WR market. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune details the incentives and suggests that, if Thielen performs in 2018 has he did in 2017, his reps could approach Minnesota about redoing his current contract, which runs through 2020.
  • Eagles QB Carson Wentz could return to action in Week 3.
  • Cowboys DE Randy Gregory could be suspended yet again after suffering a relapse.

South Notes: Panthers, Colts, Texans, WRs

An offensive line that already lost a first-team All-Pro this offseason became beleaguered by injuries in training camp. Andrew Norwell left the Panthers for the Jaguars, and Carolina then lost Daryl Williams, Amini Silatolu and Matt Kalil to injuries. However, Carolina’s receiving good news on this front entering Week 1. Williams returned to Panthers practice, per Bill Voth of Panthers.com, despite being barely a month removed from an MCL injury and a dislocated patella. The contract-year right tackle was believed to be an IR-return candidate in August, but the Panthers still have him on their active roster. He hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, but the Panthers may be cautious with their right tackle starter.

Silatolu is also back on the field. The veteran blocker tore one of his menisci in mid-August but said he’s 100 percent, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Voth adds Silatolu may be available for the Panthers’ opener. Greg Van Roten took over as the team’s starting left guard after Silatolu went down.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • D’Onta Foreman wasn’t as fortunate with his rehab process, though the Texans‘ backup running back was rehabbing a more severe injury this offseason. The Texans placed Foreman, who tore his Achilles’ tendon in November 2017, on the Reserve/PUP list to shelve him for six weeks. And Bill O’Brien said (via Deepi Sidhu of Texans.com, on Twitter) the second-year back “no question” needed the time to finish his recovery from the malady. Foreman is expected to be Lamar Miller‘s top backup again, but it’s uncertain how quickly he’ll be able to return to that role.
  • The Colts may have identified their starting right-side offensive linemen. For now, as this team-issued depth chart is unofficial, Indianapolis is going with veterans to man those spots. Matt Slauson is listed as Indy’s starting right guard, and third-year starter Joe Haeg is the first-string right tackle. Second-round rookie guard Braden Smith was tried at right tackle, but for now he will learn from the sideline as his career begins. Haeg started as a Colts right guard and right tackle the past two seasons. The Colts cut Austin Howard, the Ravens’ starting right tackle last season, over the weekend.
  • The Titans will worked out a pair of wide receivers on Tuesday. Devin Lucien and Drew Morgan auditioned for the team, per NESN.com’s Doug Kyed and the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson (Twitter links). The Patriots cut Lucien last week, and Morgan didn’t make the Dolphins’ 53-man roster.
  • Recent Seahawks wide receiver cut Malik Turner is in Houston working out for the Texans today, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

Panthers To Place Daryl Williams On IR

The Panthers will place right tackle Daryl Williams on injured reserve, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The hope is that Williams will be able to heal up in time to return for the second half of the season. 

[RELATED: Panthers, Tyler Larsen Agree To Extension]

Williams dislocated his right kneecap and tore the MCL in the same knee in late July. The tackle opted for rehab over surgery, but that path means that he’ll still need a fair amount of time to heal.

It’s a tough blow for a Panthers offense that will likely also be without guard Amini Silatolu to start the year. The Panthers will likely use Brandan Mahon or Tyler Larsen to fill in for Silatolu while 2017 second-round pick Taylor Moton figures to start in place of Williams.

Williams, a fourth round pick in 2015, will be a free agent after the season, so he has extra motivation to get back out on the field. The Panthers, meanwhile, will have to hope for the best while they’re without one of the game’s better tackles. Last year, Williams graded out as the 15th best overall tackle in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.